Almost 80% of UK adults believe that income protection insurance makes good financial sense, yet only 10% actually buy it.

A survey by income protection insurance provider Unum finds that life, home and car insurance are rated more important than income protection insurance by the 1,100 adults surveyed.

Unum marketing director Eugene McCormack said many people underestimated the chance of being unable to work for a long period as a result of illness or injury.

“Although many people appear to adopt the attitude ‘it won't happen to me', there is actually a one-in-five chance that they will be off work at sometime in their lives for a single period of at least six months,” McCormack said.

Adults in northern England were most likely to consider income replacement insurance, followed by the Midlands and Scotland. Welsh residents were the least likely to consider income protection.