Independent financial advisers (IFAs) cannot preach what they practice when it comes to income protection cover.

Research by Norwich Union Healthcare finds more than two-thirds of IFAs have their own income protection cover and almost 90% of them sell the product.

But it is taking much longer for the message to reach a wider audience – only 11% of the working population have long-term income protection.

The main reason is that people think the product is too expensive, especially if they are already paying for life cover and pensions. NU Healthcare says cost can be reduced in a number of ways.

One option to cut costs is to opt for a policy with a split deferred period, which allows people to cover essential outgoings in the short-term, and then to increase cover to support their standard of living if the capacity proves to be more long-term.

For example, a 30-year-old non-smoking male office manager, on a standard risks basis for NU Healthcare's SafeGuard income protection cover up to the age of 60, would pay £48.30 per month for a monthly benefit of £1,500, following a four-week deferred period.

But if he opted for £750 monthly after the initial four-week deferred period, to continue for 13 weeks, rising to £1,500 per month after that if he was still claiming, the premium would be reduced to £36.38, saving £136 a year.