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Brought to you by Zurich FinanceMany of us only appreciate the “extra” money we earn – that which we can invest and put towards those things that are important to us. Whether that is an investment plan, a trip to Europe, saving for a house deposit or the latest coffee maker, we work to strive for our goals.

But what if, for whatever reason, your “essential” money stopped coming in? The money you use to pay your rent, your mortgage, your food, your telephone bills and all those other essentials? This happened to Laura, 28, who was taken ill with chickenpox. After taking a week off work, she thought she was on the road to recovery – then the vomiting, seizures and a stiff neck began. Her doctor diagnosed her with serious secondary encephalitis and she was hospitalised immediately. Laura recovered, but was unable to return to work for

three months. During this time, she had no incoming salary, or family members able to offer financial support. So Laura had to live off two weeks holiday pay – and wiped out her carefully accumulated savings (intended for a new car).Sporting accidents, viruses, limb fractures and even conditions such as depression mean that every day, people around Australia are unable to attend their normal place of work and earn an income. Sick pay and holiday pay may not last long in these situations when you may need a month – or more – off work to recover. Imagine not earning an income for up to 12 months, scary stuff.

Now it’s true that no one wants to think about these situations. But all working people should think seriously about protecting their ability to earn an income through taking out income protection insurance. The good news is that income protection is generally a 100 per cent tax deduction.

So how does it work? Most covers will provide you with up to 75 per cent of your normal income should you be unable to attend work due to illness or injury. And most will give you a choice of optional benefits such as family care and severe disability options. While no one enjoys paying insurance, income protection really is one of the “must-haves”. Without it, should illness or injury occur (and it easily can), you could potentially wipe out your savings, just to cover living expenses. Or even go into debt. That’s somewhere no one enjoys being.

Seeing a financial adviser can be a great way to get your finances and savings into gear – and at the same time look at income protection cover.