Every festive season sees a mass exodus from the South African interior as thousands head off to various destinations to celebrate the end of the year and spend time with their loved ones – however, for almost 1 500 families every year, the holiday season ends in tragedy.
In 2014 alone there were a total of 1 147 crashes nationally resulting in 1 376 fatalities1 during the December holiday period and for those left behind, especially if they are severely injured or disabled due to the same event, life changed drastically.
Families had to adapt to getting by on one salary, and others had to adapt to caring for a disabled person - both an already emotive burden which could be made worse if financial precautions in the event of such tragedies have not been taken.
“An average middle-to-high income family household in South Africa would need about R50 000 a month to just survive, R25 000 from each income generator – should one of those incomes be taken away due to a sudden fatality or disabling injury, drastic lifestyle changes would have to made as the family gets used to a single or lowered income,” says Laurence Hillman, MD of 1Life.
“Long-term insurance policies, such as life and disability insurance can help those left behind recover without having to be concerned with the financial burden. The insurance pay-out from these policies can cover medical expenses, funeral costs, outstanding debts, perhaps even pay off the house or pay school fees over the years and ensure that those left behind are taken care of.”
A good disability insurance policy should provide cover for the loss of limbs, speech, deafness, blindness, major burns, head trauma and para or quadriplegia – any of which could be the result of an accident while on holiday. In addition, now is also a good time to review your insurance policies with a view to updating it – if you only have life, add disability and dread. This will ensure that you are fully covered – some life insurers make this easy by providing a complete financial plan for your life.
“And while life insurance policies are an important part of a financial plan – even better is knowing that South Africans are getting to their destinations safely,” adds Hillman, “for this reason we encourage all South Africans to drive safely during the festive season, BUCKLE UP! - 30% of road accident deaths could be prevented by wearing seatbelts - obey the rules of the road, travel at the correct speed, ensure your car is roadworthy and travel well rested.”
“And just like your car is roadworthy, you also need to ensure that your long and short term insurance policies are travel-ready. Before you leave, check what you are covered for with your insurer – if you’re going across the border or further abroad, inform them of your intentions – this helps make sure that if a claim is submitted, it will be approved. Keep necessary documents such as drivers licence, passports, ID books etc. on hand in a waterproof container in a safe place and leave copies thereof with a trusted family member or friend back home.
Holidays are for making pleasant memories, not statistics – so do it right this December 2015 and make sure you and those you love most make it into a HAPPY NEW YEAR!