Petrie Marx, 8 August 2018
Heart disease, cancer and accidents, particularly road accidents, have long been major causes of disability in South Africa. Yet studies show that greater numbers of South Africans are becoming disabled due to causes such as arthritis, depression and anxiety.
While many of us don’t consider the possibility that we may become disabled, medical research shows that critical illnesses that cause permanent disability, such as heart attack, stroke and depression are becoming more prevalent, even among younger people.
None of us like to think that tragedy may strike and leave us incapacitated, especially at a young age. But looking at the illnesses that led to disability of individuals in the past few years, it’s clear that disability cover is becoming more important.
True South’s Insurance Gap Study looks specifically at prevalence of disability among income earners. In 2016, it showed that of the 14 million earners in the country, 46 378 were expected to have some form of disability in any given year. If one income earner became disabled, a typical South African household would need to reduce its household expenditure by 30% to cope and the remaining household members of working-age would be required to contribute R5 977 more to the household’s monthly budget.
These are certainly not minor adjustments to make, and in some cases it might prove impossible to make these changes. We should all realise that apart from being unable to continue working when a disability strikes, a disability will expose us to additional expenses to cover special needs related to mobility, house modifications and additional care.
A lump sum disability cover can help cover some of these once-off expenses, while income protection cover may help with paying the ongoing expenses. You should really consider both these types of cover because lump sum disability insurance normally covers permanent disability whereas income protection can offer cover for a temporary inability to work and can cover you until the date you retire.