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When we’re young, we struggle to imagine getting sick, and we’re inclined to avoid discussing the subject of health risks. Yet 59% of Sanlam’s 2020 COVID-19 claims for income protection were from people under the age of 39 years.

Here’s the rub: if we don’t talk about our health, we aren’t able to plan properly to protect it. Behavioural Psychologist, Erik Vermeulen, says many people have a healthy dose of optimism bias. We think things will work out. We also tend to get ‘trapped’ in a false sense of security, stemming from predictable routines. These combined factors contribute to a head-in-the-sand avoidance of big topics, like your health, he says. COVID-19 and lockdown, on the other hand, have highlighted that when our routine thinking gets disrupted, we find it hard to cope.

Vermeulen adds that younger generations tend to become even more self-assured, and current behavioural trends see them investing less in life cover and income- and illness-protection types of products, in favour of funding experiences, like eating out and travel. Then, as people get older, the reality of their mortality may become more apparent – particularly as they are more frequently exposed to catastrophes that affect people they know, or when they have families and dependants, such as ageing parents.

Honesty is the best policy

Apart from the importance of honest conversations with your family and loved ones about your health, being truthful about your health when you apply for life insurance is also critical, says Karen Bongers, Product Development Actuary at Sanlam Individual Life. At the heart of it lies the need to avoid the possibility of having a claim denied down the line, or a reduced payout.

“Apart from the importance of honest conversations with your family and loved ones about your health, being truthful about your health when you apply for life insurance is also critical,” says Karen Bongers, Product Development Actuary at Sanlam Individual Life.

You may also be required to inform an insurer of any changes in your health after you’ve applied for a policy and before the policy formally commences, so the need for open conversations about your health may continue. Once the policy has officially started, though, you don’t have to inform Sanlam of a change in your health. This, says Bongers, is a huge benefit of Sanlam’s ‘once covered – always covered’ philosophy. She adds: “If you want to increase your cover at a later point, you will be asked some questions again about your state of health, and the answers will specifically only be relevant to the increased portion of your cover.”

Whether you require disability cover, funeral cover, lump sum disability or severe illness benefits, open and honest conversations about your health with a qualified and accredited financial adviser can be hugely beneficial and critical in ensuring that you acquire the best cover based on your needs and budget.

 

 

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