Category Life Insurance

Be smart about disability

02 December 2019 Momentum Retail Life Insurance

There are several new "gadgets" that allow people with disabilities to live relatively normal lives. Great strides are made every day, from smartwatches with braille touch displays and solar ear devices to smart canes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a panic button.

Mobility is one of the biggest obstacles for people living with disabilities. A recent CNN online article reported the successful development of a wearable "cyborg" that uses brainwaves to allow paralysed people to walk again called the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL), initially developed in Japan.

Access to some of the latest technology and assistive devices come with additional costs since the majority of these devices are not available locally. Through careful financial planning, you can reduce your risk and prepare for unforeseen life events.

According to George Kolbe, Head of Marketing for Momentum Retail Life Insurance "Although there is hope in knowing that there are pioneering technological advances which can assist people who live with disabilities, the question remains: What are the chances of becoming disabled?" A recent media article stated that 30% of healthy South Africans between the ages of 35 and 65, will become disabled or fall ill for longer than 90 days. By having a comprehensive financial plan in place, you can make provision for the unforeseen.

Kolbe emphasises that "Based on these statistics it is vital to make sure that you have optimal income protection and lump sum disability cover in place. Income disability is the most efficient way to protect your ability to earn an income and often funds regular expenses that include utility bills (municipal bills), school fees and medical aid contributions to name a few. Income disability cover provides for the temporary loss of income and is much more appropriate than lump-sum disability cover."

He further mentions "Lump-sum disability cover is a supplement to income protection as it provides money to settle more substantial expenses that could include structural changes to your home and vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair or a caretaker to look after you for a period of time." Even medical expenses are likely to increase, and possible long-term physical therapy will add to the bill, which is not always covered by medical aid.

In planning for disability provision, it is also essential to highlight the unforeseen costs associated with a temporary or permanent disability, which extends beyond the expenses one typically plans for with standard disability provision. Kolbe says, "Myriad's Income Enhancer Benefit specifically caters for unforeseen costs associated with a serious claim event by providing 50% more cover during the initial period following a claim event." He adds, “Myriad's Complete Family Protector Benefit makes provision for additional pay-outs if family members of the insured life are hospitalised, suffer critical illness events or dies."

Kolbe concludes by saying "People's needs are unique and they expect their income and disability protection to also be unique and uncomplicated." When the unforeseen happens, and you become temporarily or permanently disabled and incapable of earning an income, you want to know that you are covered. He says, "Make sure you have an adequate solution by asking your financial adviser to tailor your cover by combining income and lump sum disability benefits to afford the treatments and gadgets that will ease your journey to recovery."

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