Complete Guide to Loan Protection Insurance

By Kim Franke-Folstad · April 04, 2024 · 6 minute read

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Complete Guide to Loan Protection Insurance

When you take out a loan, you likely have every intention of repaying it in full. But what if something should happen — say, a job loss, illness, or injury — that keeps you from fulfilling your obligation? That’s where loan protection insurance comes in.

Loan protection insurance, also known as credit insurance, is a type of insurance policy specifically designed to cover a borrower’s loan payments should they become unable to make them due to an unforeseen circumstance.

This type of coverage can provide peace of mind — and help protect your credit — in the event of the unexpected. But ​​it comes at a cost, and in some cases, it may not be necessary.

Read on for a closer look at loan insurance, including what it is, how it works, what may be excluded from coverage, and whether or not it’s worth buying.

Loan Protection Insurance Definition

Loan protection insurance is an insurance product that lenders sometimes offer borrowers with certain types of loans, including personal loans. Typically, the insurer will make the loan payments for a set period of time (or up to a predetermined amount) if the policyholder can’t keep up with the obligation because of a covered event.

For example, let’s say you take out a personal loan and opt to purchase credit insurance. If at some point during your repayment term, you lose your job, get into a car accident, or become hospitalized with a serious illness, the insurance can help ensure your debts are paid.

💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. One question can save you many dollars.

How Does Loan Protection Insurance Work on Personal Loans?

Personal loan protection insurance is specifically designed to keep a policyholder from defaulting on a personal loan in the event of a financial hardship. Should a covered event take place, the insurer agrees to step in and make payments on the loan for a set period of time, typically between 12 and 24 months.

Events that are often covered by personal loan insurance include:

•   Job loss

•   Sickness

•   Accidents

•   Death

What makes credit insurance unlike other types of insurance policies is that the payments go to the lender, not to the policyholder. Though you’re the one paying the premiums for credit insurance, the payout actually goes to your lender.

Recommended: What Happens If You Default on a Personal Loan?

What Does Loan Protection Insurance Cost?

The cost of loan protection insurance varies widely depending on the insurer, the coverage amount, the length of coverage, your age, the state you live in, and other factors. Typically, the cost is calculated as a percentage of the monthly loan payment, ranging from 1% to 5%. As a result, the larger the loan balance is, the more it costs to insure it.

If you’re considering loan protection insurance, you may want to compare the cost of the policy to other types of insurance — such as life insurance, disability insurance, or accident insurance — especially if these types of coverage are offered for free or at a subsidized rate through your employer.

One way you may be able to reduce the cost of loan protection insurance is to pay the premium in a single payment instead of rolling it into your monthly loan payments. Some credit insurers will offer a sizable discount if you’re willing to pay the full cost of the insurance up front and in full.

What Are the Benefits of Loan Protection Insurance?

Loan protection insurance isn’t necessarily the right fit for everyone, but it does offer some advantages (especially if the policy is reasonably priced). Here are some benefits to consider.

Credit Score

Should an unexpected hardship occur and you’re unable to make your loan payments, loan protection insurance would kick in and prevent you from missing payments or defaulting on the loan — and taking a hit to your credit.

Recommended: What Is Considered a Bad Credit Score?

Save Money

Maintaining a strong credit profile can pay off down the line by helping you qualify for loans with lower rates and better terms. This can help you save you money, and could make the cost of the credit insurance worthwhile. Plus, future employers and landlords may also look at and make decisions based on your credit in the future.

Peace of Mind

Having credit insurance takes some of the pressure off of loan repayment and gives you the comfort of knowing that, should something happen that makes you unable to pay your debt, you’ll be protected.

💡 Quick Tip: With lower fixed interest rates on loans of $5K to $100K, a SoFi personal loan for credit card debt can substantially decrease your monthly bills.

Risks of Having Loan Protection

One big downside to loan protection insurance is that you might end up paying for something you never use. Here are some other drawbacks to consider.


Loan protection insurance can be expensive compared to stand-alone disability and life insurance policies. It’s worth assessing what type of coverage you already have and comparing the cost of loan insurance to other types of coverage, such as supplemental disability or life insurance.

Coverage Limitations

There may be limitations on coverage that minimize how helpful the policy will actually be. For example, in some cases, a loan protection policy won’t cover a pre-existing illness or won’t kick in if you take on a part-time job or any freelance work after losing your job.

May Not Be Necessary

If your main concern is protecting your family from being liable for your debt should you become unable to pay, know that most loans that are only in your name (and don’t have a cosigner) cannot require your family to make your loan payment if you’re unable to. If you’re not worried about loan default (and potentially losing your assets to creditors), loan protection insurance may not be worth it.

Recommended: Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?

Common Reasons for Being Refused Loan Protection

Because there are different types of loan protection insurance, and policies can differ from one company to the next, it’s important to review the reasons your policy might not pay out when you make a claim. Here’s a look at some common reasons why claims can be refused.

Part-Time Employment

If you lose your job but take on part-time work to make ends meet, a credit insurance policy may not kick in, and you’ll still need to cover your loan payments.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

If you are unable to work because of an illness, injury, or other condition that existed before you purchased the policy, your claim could be refused. It’s important to be clear about which health conditions might not be covered under the policy before you sign up.

Short-Term Employment

If you lose your job because it was a short-term employment contract, you likely won’t qualify for a credit insurance payout, since the work was expected to end at that time.


Self-employed workers might be able to make a claim if they become sick or disabled, for example, but not if they lose the work that provides their income.

>Being Able to Work Another Type of Job

Recommended: Personal Loan Modification: Is It Possible?

Is Loan Protection Insurance Required?

Loan protection insurance is optional. It’s illegal for a lender to force you to buy the policy in exchange for approving your loan. If you’re securing your personal loan with collateral (a car or some other asset), you may be required to ensure that property, but you don’t have to insure it through the personal loan lender’s policy.

If you feel you were incorrectly told by a lender that because of the purpose of a loan you wouldn’t be approved unless you purchased loan protection insurance, you can submit a complaint to your state attorney general, state insurance commissioner, or the Federal Trade Commission.

Recommended: Does Loan Purpose Matter?

The Takeaway

Loan protection insurance offers borrowers a way to continue making their loan payments and protect their credit scores in the event of an unexpected financial hardship. You can find these policies for different types of lending products, including auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards.

However, this protection comes at a cost, and some hardships are excluded from coverage. In many cases, short-term or long-term disability insurance policies can offer better, more cost-effective protection for an unexpected loss of income. So be sure to do your research and read the fine print on all costs and exclusions before you agree to loan protection insurance.

SoFi personal loans offer competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


Can you get protection on a personal loan?

Yes. Loan protection insurance is available for several different kinds of loans, including personal loans. Some lenders also offer their own hardship assistance programs for borrowers who run into trouble making payments due to unexpected circumstances.

What is loan protection insurance?

Loan protection insurance is a type of insurance that is designed to help protect you from defaulting on a loan due to an emergency, loss of income, or unexpected change of circumstances. If a covered event (such as a job loss, accident, or illness) takes place, the insurance would make payments on the loan for a predetermined period of time.

Why should you get personal loan protection insurance?

Personal loan protection insurance can give you the peace of mind that, should you run into financial difficulty, you won’t default on your loan. Avoiding a loan default can help you avoid a host of other negative financial consequences, as well as damage to your credit. However, these policies can be costly and typically come with a number of exclusions. You may find that other types of insurance (such as disability or accident insurance) are more cost effective.

Photo credit: iStock/akinbostanci

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