It’s almost Easter weekend, which means the first school holidays of the year are in full swing and many are planning a getaway. Unfortunately, it’s also a risky time to be on the road, which means it’s necessary at this time to reflect on what is most important in life – and how to protect it if something happens to you or if you are temporarily or permanently disabled. Driving safely and being alert, as well as taking stock of the potential risks and making sure you’re adequately covered, will give you peace of mind over the holidays.
“The reality is that the Easter weekend typically sees high vehicle accident rates all over the country. In 2016 alone there were 156 deaths* on South Africa’s roads over the Easter weekend. Your family’s safety and financial support in the event of an accident should be top of mind, not only at Easter but throughout the year,” says Jaco Gouws, Protection Product Head at Old Mutual.
“Besides the emotional and physical trauma of an accident, you could potentially have to deal with the financial consequences of becoming incapacitated if you can’t work for a short time or at worst, permanently.”
“While a medical aid scheme may help to cover your initial costs related to hospitalisation and surgery, you need disability cover to provide you with an income while you can’t work. Should your disability be permanent and you can’t return to work, lump sum disability cover can be used towards once-off costs such as renovating your home to accommodate a wheelchair or purchasing a car that has been modified to allow you to drive with a disability,” says Gouws.
“Before you take that well-deserved break, check that your disability cover is sufficient and has been updated to reflect any changes in your income. Remember that if you sustain a disability that leaves you unable to do your job, your family has to replace your income while also trying to maintain their lifestyle and meet the additional costs related to your injury.”
When you buy disability cover, remember that this cover comes in two forms:
A disability income option, which is paid every month when you are temporarily or permanently unable to work. This type of disability cover is called income protection.
A disability lump sum option, which is paid in cash if you are assessed as being permanently disabled.
“Old Mutual’s GREENLIGHT Earning Ability cover allows you to choose between a lump sum or income benefit,” adds Gouws.
In 2015, Old Mutual paid R399 million in disability claims, with 58% of income claims for customers younger than 45 years of age. This represents a significant amount of assistance for customers when they needed cover the most.
“Adequate risk protection in a financial plan is essential to minimise the devastating impacts of permanent disability. South Africans should take a moment to reflect and speak to a financial adviser to ensure they have sufficient protection.”
Gouws offers the following tips to ensure you and your family travel safely this year:
5 steps to take before you set off this Easter
Don’t be distracted by your mobile phone while you drive: It’s even more dangerous than drinking and driving.
Check your tyres: They should have sufficient tread and depth of tread.
Do a roadworthy check: Ensure that your vehicle is always in roadworthy condition by servicing it regularly and repairing it promptly when required.
Never tailgate: This refers to the practice of driving very close to the vehicle in front of you, which means that if that vehicle suddenly brakes or comes to a stop, you are unlikely to be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. Ideally, there should be at least a three-second travelling distance between you and the car in front of you. If someone is tailgating you, move to another lane and allow them to pass you.
Remember speeding kills: Slow down. This will increase your safety and is kinder on your pocket as you will save on fuel costs.