Income protection can lessen financial hardship for credit crunch casualties

She comments: “Only this week we’ve seen the collapse of the fourth largest investment bank, Lehman Brothers and witnessed on the news, employees packing up their belongings in boxes, facing an uncertain future. XL Airways employees were equally devastated to find they were out of a job last week and there’s a general nervousness about the stability of HBOS.

“Now is not the time to turn your back on income protection, it’s vital that during these difficult times, everyone has a financial safety net to help meet monthly commitments should something happen. Even if you have savings to fall back on, how long will these last given the current food, fuel and utility prices? Income protection provides a monthly replacement income for up to a year, paying those all important bills and giving much-needed financial breathing space to those who either need to find a new job or recover from an accident or sickness.”

The reputation of the PPI sector has been tarnished over the years - it’s currently under close scrutiny from the Competition Commission, following allegations of mis-selling, high pressure sales tactics, over-priced products and vast numbers of claims rejections, due to policies being sold to the wrong people.

Consumers have subsequently turned their back on providers. This, suggests Sara-Ann, is leaving millions of people exposed to financial hardship should they be made redundant, have an accident or become sick.

She continues: “Over-priced PPI products have been marketed by High Street banks and building societies for years and people now take the view they would rather save their money and take a chance. In this current climate, it’s a very risky strategy and one I do not recommend.

“However, there are many more-ethical independent income protection providers who offer good value products that are very comprehensive in their cover and not over-priced. Prices start at £1.90 per £100 of monthly income.”

Sara-Ann concludes: “Over the last week we’ve seen people in despair, wondering how to pay their bills, feed their children and keep a roof over their head when there are no wages coming in. Whilst the redundancy could not have been avoided, the financial hardship that will inevitably follow can.”