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At what cost?

While they seem similar, there’s a big difference between health and income protection insurance. Builtin Insurance highlights the differences to help you decide what you should spend your money on

As the busiest time of year approaches, it’s a good time to ensure you have everything in place behind the scenes, so that you can focus on running your business. There are a number of aspects to consider, but one important and often overlooked consideration is what support you have in place if you need time off the tools due to illness or injury.

This is where health insurance and income protection insurance can help. Knowing the difference between the two; however, is key.

It’s not uncommon for people to confuse these two types of insurance and think that they offer similar cover. But they don’t!

Income protection

Income protection insurance provides regular monthly payments to replace your income if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.

Doesn't ACC do that?

ACC does a similar thing, but for accidents only, and only up a maximum gross weekly compensation of $2,100.68. Income protection covers both accident and illness, including mental health. Since even landscapers are more likely to be off work through illness than accidental injury,

income protection is often a better option than just relying on ACC.

Self-employed people can also dial down their ACC cover and put the saving towards income protection insurance, getting broader cover, often for a similar total cost. There are pros and cons to this arrangement, which is why we advocate discussing your situation with an independent financial adviser, who can make a recommendation that best suits your needs.

Health Insurance

Health insurance covers the cost of treatment for a health or medical issue.

Doesn't our public health system do that?

Yes it does. However, health insurance can help you get faster access to treatment through the private system. It can also reduce the cost of private treatment for certain conditions.

Health insurance will not pay to replace your income during any period that you’re off work recovering from an accident, illness, surgery or medical procedure, or if you’re unable to work while undergoing treatment.

So, what should I do?

As both types of insurance provide different cover, you may want to have them both.

If you only have income protection, you must rely on the public health system for treatment if you get sick; however, you would receive regular payments to replace your income until you could return to work.

If you only have health insurance and you get sick, then you may receive treatment sooner but would need to rely on disability income support from WINZ (currently just over $65 a week) if you were unable to work and had no other sources of income.

You could also opt for a combination. For example, taking income protection for yourself but putting health insurance in place for the kids.

Ultimately, speaking to an experienced adviser before you make this decision is the right way to go.

Builtin Insurance is New Zealand’s trade insurance expert. For more information and to request your own review visit or contact Dave La Pere at or 0800 BUILTIN.0800 BUILTIN.


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