We use cookies to provide you with a responsive service to make your experience of our website(s) better. Please confirm that you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookies policy.

By continuing to use our website we will assume that you are happy to receive non-privacy intrusive cookies. Please be aware that if you disable cookies some functionality on the site will not work.

Alternatively, read our cookies policy to find out more about our cookie use and how to disable cookies.

Lack of financial provision sees one in eight potentially having to sell their home if they lost their income

September 19, 2018

  • More than half (53%) of adults have been out of work, yet have no financial provision in case it happens again
  • Despite this, one in eight (13%) say they would have to sell their family home if they lost their income
  • This comes as one in six (17%) admit they have no disposable income, a quarter (24%) have no savings and nine in ten (92%) don’t have income protection cover

Cost of Resilience report 2018More than half (53%) of UK adults have had unplanned leave from work such as sickness or injury, or have experienced unemployment while in between jobs, yet they have no financial provision in case it happens again, according to the Cost of Resilience report from Zurich UK.

Well over two in five (45%) UK adults have been out of work for up to a year, and for one in ten (10%) it has been longer than 12 months. An estimated 131[1] million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK last year. Although unemployment is falling, recent ONS figures also showed that 1.36 million[2] adults remained without work in July, and this number does not account for people who are temporarily off due to sickness or injury, so in reality the number could be much higher.

The report found that over a third (34%) do not feel financially resilient and they would not be able to manage a financial shock or unexpected loss of income on their own. As a result, one in eight (13%) would have to sell their family home[3] if they lost their income because of sickness or injury. More than a quarter (26%) would have to sell possessions, while one in seven (14%) would have to find a cheaper place to rent.

UK adults would have to do the following if they lost their income to sickness of injury:

  1. Relying on savings for the short term (i.e. less than 6 months) – 40%
  2. Finding a second job that I could do with my illness/ injury – 39%
  3. Selling other possessions (e.g. any valuables, etc.) – 26%
  4. Relying on savings for the long term (i.e. 6 months or longer) – 23%
  5. My partner would start work/ increase their hours – 18%
  6. Selling my car – 17%
  7. Moving in with friends or relatives – 16% 
  8. Finding a cheaper place to rent – 14%
  9. Selling my home – 13%
  10. Getting a lodger – 11%

The study also found that despite half of adults experiencing unexpected leave from work, nine in ten (92%) don’t have Income protection cover, a financial product that shields your pay against being unable to work because of illness or injury. One in six (17%) have no disposable income and a quarter (24%) have no savings to fall back on.

Rose St Louis of Zurich UK comments: “It’s concerning that so many people have experienced unexpected time out of work, yet have no safety net in place for this potentially happening again. Even more shocking is the number who would have to resort to selling their home, as this action could have a significant impact on the whole family. 

“Lack of savings and planning the family finances is putting millions of adults at risk of not being financially resilient, but not taking action could make the situation far worse. Putting the ‘it won’t happen to me’ view to one side, it’s vital that people review their circumstances, to see what support exists to protect their finances and lifestyle.”

Dr Jack Lewis, Neuroscientist comments: “The findings demonstrate the very real impact that a period of being unable to work can have. We have a tendency to prefer items that we can enjoy immediately over and above valuable things that we have to wait for, even when the latter adds greater value to our lives overall. A financial product that pays your salary when you are too ill to work is a strange and perhaps counter-intuitive concept. So, we need to educate people to help them understand that such support exists; products that ease the stress and anxiety stemming from the threat of an unanticipated loss of income.”

The Cost of Resilience report has been developed with neuroscientist Dr. Jack Lewis, the report examines the impact that money, including having products designed to protect and insure against loss, have on feelings of resilience.

Zurich has launched a new Income Protection range as well as major improvements to its Critical Illness and Life cover. Customer benefits include free confidential telephone-based counselling to offer support with everything from family and work-related issues through to financial difficulties, stress and anxiety.  For more information visit



Notes to editors

Further information

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2059 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th June 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).



[3] One in eight figure is from earlier research by Zurich UK with YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2039 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th-21st July 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).