Disability cover

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Statistically, the probability of becoming disabled during your working life is about 13%. So while the probabilities may be in your favour, the financial consequences if it does happen are potentially devastating. Make sure that you understand these consequences and that you have a plan if either of these were to happen to you - insurance is a cost-effective way to manage the risk.

According to research conducted by True South Actuaries & Consultants and the Unisa Bureau of Market Research, South Africans are hopelessly underinsured for death and disability. This is not new research, nor is it the first time that this conclusion has been reached. But what is new is that for the first time, at least as far as I can remember, they have actually released the numbers behind the research and as result we now know the number of working South Africans who are likely to die or become disabled in the next year.

The research also showed that it is not the low-income earners who are most at risk – in fact, consumers earning more than R16 500 are the most likely to leave their families with the biggest financial shortfall when they die or become disabled.

According to the research, then, there are about 12.4 million working South Africans. Of these about 52,000 are likely to become permanently disabled in the next year. That’s 142 every day! That’s a lot of people.

When you do the maths, however, it amounts to about 0.4% of the working population…so it is statistically unlikely to happen to you. But what if it does?

That’s the question that needs answering.

As the major breadwinner in our household, my disablement would be financially devastating, and that’s why I have insured the risk through income replacement cover. This, in my opinion is the best way to cover this kind of risk (and the premium is tax-deductible).

But before anyone buys this cover, it is useful to find out what cover is already in place. Some company retirement funds include it, as do some other policies.

(Photo: istock)

 (Gregg Sneddon, Health24, March 2011)

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