Carers – non-professional people looking after family or people who are sick, elderly or disabled – are not prepared financially for the issues that could arise if they fell ill or passed away, research from Scottish Widows has revealed.

The survey of 5,022 UK adults found that fewer than three in 10 of those who look after family or community members have life insurance (28%), which equates to an estimatation of seven million people, while just 12% – approximately 1.2 million – have critical illness cover.

While one in five people (19%) in the UK act as a carer, a fifth (21%) of them do not know who would take over their caring duties if they fell ill themselves and 20% do not know who would give them the care they might need.

Meanwhile, 18% of those without life insurance said they can’t afford a life insurance policy and 15% said it is not a financial priority. One in 10 (11%) said they do not trust insurance companies to pay out, despite the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Group Risk Development (GRiD) statistics revealing that 97.8% of all claims were paid in 2017.

‘Peace of mind’

“Caring can take many forms such as assisting with personal care, helping with shopping or taking someone to appointments. Through practical and emotional support carers can have a big impact on the independence and quality of life of those being cared for,” said Gary Burchett, protection director at Scottish Widows.

“There are almost 10 million carers in the UK, who do an exceptional job supporting others. Yet, should the unexpected happen to the carer, more than seven in 10 don’t have protection cover in place to provide a financial safety net to continue that care.

“Many carers think insurance is a cost they could do without. However I would encourage them to think carefully about ensuring they are adequately prepared for the future, to provide security and peace of mind,” Burchett continued.

“There’s also a wide range of considerations that we’d suggest carers think about to help them look after themselves. Our tips, which include guidance on our RedArc counselling service and taking advantage of the support of respite charities, aim to make carers more aware of the options available to them.”

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