Protecting Your Income When Self-Employed

In today’s dynamic work environment, self-employment in the UK has become a symbol of freedom and entrepreneurial spirit. However, this independence has its unique challenges, particularly in terms of income stability during periods of illness or injury. A striking statistic revealed that 17% of self-employed UK workers would need to continue working through illness or injury [1]. This statistic highlights the precarious nature of self-employed income security and underscores the importance of implementing financial safeguarding measures.


The Increasing Trend of Self-Employment in the UK

The allure of self-employment in the UK has seen a significant rise. As of July 2023, there were around 4.24 million self-employed workers in the UK [2].

 This growth is driven by a desire for greater control over work-life balance and the freedom to pursue personal business interests. However, this mode of work lacks the traditional safety nets provided by employment, such as sick pay and employer-sponsored health benefits, leaving individuals vulnerable during times of health crises.

For the self-employed, the risk of losing income due to illness or injury is significant. Unlike salaried employees, who might have access to sick leave or employer health benefits, self-employed individuals are on their own. This often forces them to choose between health and income, a decision no one should have to make.

Understanding Income Protection Insurance

Income protection insurance is a vital lifeline for self-employed individuals, offering the security that comes with traditional employment. This type of insurance typically replaces a portion of income if one is unable to work due to illness or injury. However, only 6% of self-employed individuals surveyed by LV currently had an income protection product [1] *. With various coverage options available, Income Protection is an adaptable solution that can be tailored to individual needs and circumstances.

It is not just about financial support, but also peace of mind. Knowing that you can count on a steady income even when you are unable to work can relieve the stress and pressure that comes with running a business. It ensures that your financial commitments and lifestyle can be maintained, even in the face of health challenges.

* LV= surveyed 4,000 nationally representative UK adults via an online omnibus conducted by Opinium between 16th August and 1st September 2022.

Selecting the Right Income Protection Plan

Choosing an income protection plan is an important decision that requires careful consideration. Factors to consider include the level of income coverage, the length of the waiting period before benefits begin, the term of the policy, and the specific conditions covered. It’s essential to select a plan that provides adequate coverage, while being affordable and in line with individual business risks.

Broadening Financial Safety Nets

Beyond income protection insurance, self-employed individuals should also consider additional financial strategies to safeguard their income. This could include building an emergency fund, which can provide a buffer in times of unexpected expenses or income fluctuations. Diversifying income streams can also reduce the risk of financial strain and ensure that all eggs are not in one basket.

Policy Choices and Market Options

The current market offers various income protection policies, each with its own characteristics and benefits. Choosing the right option for your unique needs requires understanding the fine print and how different policies align with individual business models and personal health histories. Consulting with a financial adviser can provide clarity and guidance in selecting the most suitable option.

Your coverage needs may also change as your self-employment journey evolves. Regularly reviewing and adjusting coverage to reflect current income levels, health status, and business operations is essential. This adaptability ensures that the protection remains relevant and effective over time.


For the UK’s self-employed, safeguarding against income loss due to health setbacks is an essential aspect of financial planning. Income protection insurance is a cornerstone of this strategy, offering a financial lifeline that enables focus on recovery without an overhang of monetary concerns. In combination with broader financial strategies, such as emergency savings and diversified incomes, this approach provides a comprehensive foundation to overcome the uncertainties of self-employment with confidence and resilience.


[1] LV Adviser – 17% of self-employed UK workers would choose to carry on working through illness or injury

[2] Statista – Number of self-employed workers in the United Kingdom 2023