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British Friendly Income Protection Insurance

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British Friendly Income Protection – Introduction


British Friendly, founded in 1902, is a mutual society (an organisation managed and run for the benefit of its members).  Originally, British Friendly established itself to offer sickness benefits to commercial travellers. Today, the company’s products focus entirely on Income Protection insurance.

According to its 2022 Report and Financial Statements, British Friendly has over 25,000 members.

British Friendly Logo 2024

Contact Details

Income Protection Claims Line: 0800 975 6565
Online Claims: Online Claim Form
Address: 45 Bromham Rd, Bedford MK40 2AA
FCA Register:

British Friendly Customer Reviews

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British Friendly uses Trustpilot to collect reviews from their customers. As of January 2024, there are just over 220 reviews; however, it should be noted that British Friendly only offers Income Protection products. Read British Friendly Trustpilot Reviews.

British Friendly 2023 Claims Report

Last updated:

British Friendly paid out on 90% of new Income Protection claims in 2022. This was an increase from 84% in the previous year.

Of the claims rejected, British Friendly reported that 34.8% of these were due to misrepresentation, 26.7% due to pre-existing conditions and 21.5% due to the definition of incapacity not being met.

Reasons policyholders claimed

Industry Awards

Last updated:

British Friendly’s “Breathing Space” and “Protect” Income Protection policies have both been awarded a 5* Defaqto rating. The “Protect” policy has retained this accolade since 2015.

British Friendly Policies

British Friendly currently has two similar policies on offer to new members. These are “Breathing Space” and “Protect”.

With a maximum monthly benefit of £1,250, British Friendly’s “Breathing Space” policy offers benefit periods of either 1, 2 or 5 years.

The “Protect” policy offers benefit periods of 1, 2 or 5 years, but also the option to insure oneself up to the age of 70. In addition, the maximum monthly benefit can be as high as £4,750 for those earning £100,000 or more per annum.

The “Breathing Space” policy may be more suited to those seeking Accident and Sickness Insurance. Therefore, to keep things straightforward and for the purpose of this review, the information below refers only to British Friendly’s “Protect” policy.

The information below is not intended to provide advice on the suitability of any particular policy for the reader. For a free consultation and full market review speak with Black Lion Insurance today on 0203 011 00 22 or request an Income Protection Quote online.

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Hand and Wages to represent Monthly Benefit

Monthly Benefit and Maximum Cover

Maximum monthly benefit a policyholder can apply for is 65% of annual income up to £60,000 and 45% of any further income up to a ceiling of £100,000. The maximum monthly benefit is therefore £4,750. Notably, British Friendly is one of the only insurers to offer their Income Protection customers the option to also receive their benefit weekly.

Pair of Crutches Icon to represent Incapacity

Incapacity Levels

British Friendly defines “occupation” as being the current occupation of the policyholder. When assessing if a policyholder is too ill or injured to work, they will discuss the medical evidence requested with their medical advisor to determine if the policyholder is unable to carry out the main tasks of their current occupation.

The policy does not cover policyholders who are unemployed, students, housepersons, or retired at the time of making a claim.

Heart Pulse to represent Health

Medical Exclusions

British Friendly may apply exclusions based on the health information provided before the policy starts.

Hour Glass Icon to represent the Deferred Period

Deferred Period

Protect Policies which have level guaranteed premiums (where the premium remains constant throughout the policy’s duration) can have a deferred period of 4, 8, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.

Policyholders can also set a deferred period of 1 week for policies with age-costed guaranteed premiums. However, it should be noted that this is likely to increase monthly premiums substantially.

Teachers and certain NHS employees have the option to set the deferred period to align with their sick pay entitlements.

Calendar to represent Benefit Period

Benefit Period

Customers setting up a policy with British Friendly can choose benefit periods of 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, or the full term of the policy.

Income Protection Insurance Policy

Policy Duration

For anyone over the age of 45 the minimum term of the policy is 5 years. For those under the age of 45, the policy must run until their 50th birthday. The maximum duration of a policy is up until the policyholder’s 70th birthday.

Minimum Eligible Criteria

To take out a Protect policy from British Friendly applicants must at least meet the following criteria:

  1. Aged between 18 and 59 years old at the start of the policy.
  2. In employment or be self-employed and not planning on retiring within 5 years.
  3. A UK resident and taxpayer with UK bank or building society account.
  4. Have been registered with a UK GP for at least 2 years with access to 2 years worth of medial history.
  5. Currently working with no health issues effecting their ability to carry out all the functions and duties of their current occupation.

Additional Policy Features

Online GP

Clinic in a Pocket

Available at no additional cost, the “Clinic in a Pocket” app provides policyholders and their family unlimited access to online GP consultations. Additionally, members can take advantage of up to 6 physiotherapy sessions per year (online first and in-person if required).

Policyholders can also use the app to order a yearly health check. This is sent by post to be self-administered at home using a pin-prick blood sample. The blood sample is then posted in the pre-paid packaging to be screened. Results are made available within the app with the option to book a follow up consultation with a GP. The health check provides information on a number of areas such as kidney, liver and bone health; risk of gout and diabetes; and cholesterol status.

Lifesaver to represent Death Benefit

Death and Terminal Illness Benefit

British Friendly may pay a lump sum up to the value of £2,000 if a policyholder dies or receives a terminal illness diagnosis during the policy’s term. However, it should be noted that this benefit is discretionary, meaning it can be changed or withdrawn by British Friendly at any time.

Broken Bone

Optional Fracture Cover

For an additional £4 per month, policyholders can add Fracture Cover to their policy. This pays out a lump sum of between £1,500 and £6,000 depending on the bone which is fractured. Fingers, thumbs and toes are excluded, as are fatigue, stress, hairline, avulsion/chips, and micro fractures.


Living Abroad

Policyholders moving abroad, whether temporarily or permanently, must obtain written confirmation from British Friendly to continue their insurance coverage outside the UK.

Providing this has been agreed, British Friendly will pay benefits for a maximum 2 years for those living in the European Union, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino, USA or Vatican City. For those living outside of these countries and territories, benefits of a valid claim may only be received for up to 26 weeks.

Should the policyholder move back to the UK, this may entitle them to continue receiving the benefits of a claim.