Almost as many UK workers believe they are likely to win the lottery (8%) as they are to be unable to work due to sickness for 12 weeks or more (9%), a survey for Cirencester Friendly has found.
Over two-fifths, 41% of workers thought they would last less than three months before they ran into financial difficulties if unable to work.
The survey also found that 53% of workers would depend on the state in the event of being unable to work due to illness or injury.
Average UK earnings are £488 per week, while statutory sick pay, payable for 28 weeks, is £88.45, although employers can pay more.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that 2.5m people have been unable to work for three weeks or more and are claiming illness-related benefits.
The survey of 1,332 people in full or part time work and 2,007 adults overall was conducted by YouGov for Cirencester Friendly.
Rebecca Young, head of marketing at Cirencester Friendly, said: "These findings should serve as a warning to the adviser community and UK population as a whole.
"Protecting earnings is an important aspect of sound financial planning; those who are unable to work due to illness or injury face a dramatic reduction in their income which in turn, results in difficulty making mortgage repayments or paying rent, buying food and paying bills.
"Responsible advisers have a duty to ensure that their clients have put adequate safeguards in place should the worst happen."
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