You are nine times more likely to have a temporary disability than to have your car stolen or hijacked in South Africa – but less than 50% of people believe they will have a temporary injury during their working life.
This was according to life insurer FMI's recent #RealityCheck survey.
The poll also found that the majority of respondents did not have any form of income protection or disability cover.
However, the effects of not earning an income for just three months would be devastating to most South Africans, the survey found.
"Without an income, two-thirds of respondents said they would run out of money within three months. One in five said their house and assets would be repossessed, while one in seven would no longer be able to pay school fees," FMI said.
FMI said they believed the ability to earn an income was a person's "most valuable asset".
However, they added, many people aged 25 – 49 had little or no cover due to complexity of products or a distrust in the insurance industry.
Many South Africans also didn't understand their risks, they said.
In a recent interview Sam Beckbessinger, author of Manage your Money like a F**king Grownup, Beckbessinger told Fin24 she believed South Africans had a tendency to over-insure some things and under-insure others.
Many people are under-insured for disability or illness, but worry overmuch about the small things, she said. Focus on getting insurance for the things that can bankrupt you – like being unable to earn a living, she advised.
"Breaking your cellphone is not the end of the world," she explained. "Rather put that money into savings and worry about what you'd do if you couldn't work."
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