Shepherds Friendly Income protection insurance review

6 min Read Published: 25 Apr 2022

Shepherds Friendly Income Protection reviewShepherds Friendly offers a range of investment and insurance products and in this article, we provide an independent review of Shepherds Friendly income protection, a comprehensive sick pay insurance policy. Shepherds Friendly income protection pays a replacement income if you are unable to work through illness or injury and we explain the key policy details below, including some unique features that make it stand out from the crowd.

If you would like to find out how to compare Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance with the rest of the market jump to "How to compare and buy Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance"

Who is Shepherds Friendly

Shepherds Friendly is based in Cheshire and is a trading name of The Shepherds Friendly Society Limited, a mutual society that is owned and run for the benefit of members with no shareholders. It began life on Christmas day in 1826 making it one of the oldest mutual insurers in the world.

Shepherds Friendly is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Defaqto, an independent financial information company rated Shepherds Friendly's income protection insurance policy 5 stars, ensuring it falls in the 'high quality' product category. Shepherds Friendly was also highly commended in the Moneyfacts Best Claims Support 2021 award.

What is income protection insurance?

Income protection insurance covers your earnings in times when you're unable to work due to an illness or injury by replacing a percentage of your usual income for a limited time or until you are able to return to work. It is often referred to as sick pay insurance or permanent health insurance. Income protection insurance varies tremendously between different insurance companies' products and most insurance companies offer more than one type of income protection insurance to suit people with different occupations and budgets.

Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance overview

  • Offers full term (up to retirement) and Short term (2 years) income protection insurance policies
  • Shepherds Friendly paid 95% of income protection claims in 2021
  • Nuffield Health and wellbeing services and discounts available for all policyholders
  • Bereavement payment for the family if the policyholder dies whilst insured

Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance policy summary

Shepherds Friendly offers a range of flexible and affordable income protection insurance policies to suit the needs and budgets of its customers. Below you will find a policy summary of Sheperds Friendly income protection insurance including the key benefits, features and exclusions.

Policy features Shepherds Friendly income protection policy details
Policy types
  • Full term cover - sickness benefit can be paid for as long as incapacity to work continues or until the chosen retirement age
  • Short term cover - sickness benefit can be paid for as long as incapacity to work continues or for a maximum of 1 or 2 years per claim
Qualifying rules
  • UK residents with at least 36 months of residency
  • UK taxpayers
  • UK bank or building society account holder
  • Registered with a UK medical practice for at least 36 months
Age restrictions
  • 16 to 63-year-olds qualify
  • The cover must cease before your 70th birthday
Amount of cover
  • Up 70% of gross earnings for an employed person
  • Up 70% of net profits for a self-employed person
  • Capped at a maximum payout of £49,000 per year
Policy price
  • Payable monthly
  • Increases with age between certain age bands on policy anniversaries
  • Reviewable at any point
  • £5 minimum monthly payment
Increasing cover
  • The indexation option will increase the cover amount by the Retail Price Index (RPI) each year on the policy anniversary
  • The monthly premium will be increased at each policy anniversary
Term of cover
  • Cover available for a minimum of 5 years
  • The maximum term is up to age 70
Deferred period / Waiting time
  • The benefit starts paying after a choice of 4, 8, 13, 26 or 52 weeks from the first day of incapacity
House person's benefit
  • An insured person who becomes unemployed and then unable to do at least 3 specific activities of daily living can claim house person's benefit
Waiver of premium
  • Monthly premiums are waived after 4 weeks from when a claim starts being paid and until the claim period ceases
Excluded Injury or illness caused by:

  • War, an invasion or hostilities
  • Cosmetic surgery for non-medical reasons
  • Taking part in a dangerous activity
  • Failing to use the correct equipment
  • Failing to undertake and utilise appropriate training

Any claim in respect of any physical or mental illness, symptoms, disease, disorder, incapacity, injury, disability, consequential organ or other health impairment, consequential operation or other treatment, period of isolation or medically required quarantine, arising (whether directly or indirectly) by reason of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, SARS, SARS-CoV, or any subsequent mutation of a Coronavirus to include all consequent new disease and disease classifications arising from such mutations.

Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance additional benefits

Shepherds Friendly offers income protection insurance policyholders extra benefits which they can use without the need to claim for incapacity. These include:

  • Nuffield Health virtual GP access that provides policyholders 20-minute phone or video calls with a GP, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without any limit to the number of consultations allowed
  • 20% Nuffield Health Gym membership discount
  • Nuffield Health Emotional Wellbeing services provide policyholders with a platform that supports emotional wellbeing and is accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  • £6,000 Bereavement Payment to the family if you die whilst insured
  • £250 lump sum cash paid into a Shepherds Friendly Junior ISA on the birth or adoption of a child
  • Specialist claims handlers will support the policyholder through a claim

How to apply for Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance

An online application for Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance will ask you about your:

  • Smoking habits
  • Health
  • Lifestyle
  • Occupation

Unlike most other insurers, Shepherds Friendly income protection does not increase in price for moderate smokers and whilst any health conditions that you disclose may be excluded from future claims, they too won't result in any increase to the price for the insurance.

Once you complete your Shepherds Friendly application an underwriter will assess your personal information and decide whether to offer the income protection insurance fully or with limitations or exclusions based on the nature of your answers. Shepherds Friendly does not increase your monthly premiums based on your health and lifestyle.

Will Shepherds Friendly remove a medical exclusion from my insurance if I recover?

Yes, Shepherds Friendly allows policyholders to apply for a review of any exclusion applied to income protection insurance if they have been symptom-free for at least 12 months. In instances where the review is successful, Shepherds Friendly would remove the exclusion on the policy.

How much does Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance cost?

Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance prices are calculated based on your:

  • Age
  • Amount of cover
  • Deferred period
  • Type of cover chosen - short or full term

Cost of £1,500 income protection insurance to age 65

Age at application Shepherds Friendly short-term income protection (Monthly cost) Shepherds Friendly full-term income protection (Monthly cost)
20 £16.20 £22.80
30 £20.40 £28.05
40 £27.45 £36.75
50 £45.00 £69.30

Is Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance any good?

Shepherds Friendly offers cover for up to 70% of your gross earnings compared with 60-65% available through most other insurers.

That being said, Shepherds Friendly's income protection insurance premiums increase each year with your age and your cover may exclude certain health conditions that other insurers may cover you. Additionally, Shepherds Friendly has a standard exclusion for any claims arising from Covid-related incapacity.

For many customers, the question of whether something is good or not often comes down to cost and so we share details of how to compare income protection insurance policies later in this article.

Shepherds Friendly customer reviews

Reviews on independent customer review site Trustpilot rate Shepherds Friendly 4.2 out of 5.0 stars based on over 300 reviews. 68% of reviewers rate Shepherds Friendly as 'excellent', citing ease of online applications, good customer service and a positive claims experience. 15% of the reviews rate Shepherds Friendly as 'bad', describing issues with customer service and difficulties in accessing cashback promised through cashback apps.

How to compare and buy Shepherds Friendly income protection insurance

When buying any kind of financial product, it is always wise to check the price and quality against other similar offerings in the market. Although, the name of the insurance may be the same, what's under the bonnet is often different and some insurance policies provide a better opportunity to claim as well as additional benefits that you can use without claiming.

The easiest and most thorough way to search for the best income protection insurance is by speaking with a specialist income protection insurance adviser. They will take all of your information and match you to the best and cheapest income protection insurance based on your health and occupation.

At Money to the Masses we have tried and tested the services of an income protection specialist* that will guide you to the best solution when it comes to protecting your earnings. You are not obliged to buy the policy that they recommend but if you do, you will receive up to £100 cashback for being a Money to the Masses reader.


If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article