Although incumbency refers to a period of time one is in office, it is mostly used in the political arena. Incumbency has several advantages:
- An incumbent is generally exposed through the print and electronic media in a way that, in case of an election, he/she already has an upper hand over his/her opponent. In most cases, incumbents do get re-elected back to office.
- Free media coverage. Incumbents enjoy free media coverage on the cover of being in office and therefore what they say has a bearing on official government position. In case of an election, the challenger finds him/herself at a great loss.
- Preferential treatment. Incumbents do receive preferential treatment whenever they go as they have some authority. When it comes to money allocations for areas they represent, they claim to be the pushers of such allocations and thereby receive some support that they would otherwise not received.
- Recognition. Incumbents enjoy recognition as a result of being in the limelight all the time. This gives their challengers a very hard time to unseat them.
- Enhanced security. Incumbents do enjoy the benefit of enhanced security at no extra expense. This security is further enhanced if the incumbent has been assigned other government duties.