Worst Case Scenarios – Covered for the Unexpected?

None of us can predict the future, and few of us like to think about it - especially when it comes to worst case scenarios!


In Australia, our overwhelming preference is to take the out of sight/out of mind approach. This has led to 95 per cent of us lacking adequate levels of insurance, according to a 2011 Lifewise/Natsem Underinsurance Report [1].

Yet the report also calculates that over the next 10 years more than one million working-age parents with dependents will be affected by death or an illness or accident. What’s more, underinsurance is likely to cost the federal government more than $1.3 billion over the same period.

That’s where Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance can help. It is designed specifically to safeguard against financial hardship from serious illness or accident which prevents you from returning to work. TPD insurance provides a lump sum payment that can be used as an income stream to pay off debts, cover medical/rehabilitation expenses and pay for home care. All of these outgoings can quickly erode savings and adversely affect your family’s lifestyle choices.

TPD cover came in very handy for Sue and Mike*, a couple raising three children on a single-income of $85,000 per annum. When Mike became a paraplegic after a serious car accident, he was unable to return to work as a motor mechanic.

Thanks to his TPD insurance cover, he received a benefit of $500,000, which was enough to cover the mortgage, as well as refitting the home and paying for a carer.

What does TPD cover?

TPD insurance can be purchased either as a stand-alone product or within your superannuation. It may also be part of a broader insurance package. It generally covers a physical condition or psychological disorder (excluding self-harm) that prevents you from returning to work.

Some examples of TPD claims include cancers, skeletal injuries, the loss of limbs and loss of eyesight which have prevented the claimant from returning to work.

Depending on the type of TPD cover you have, TPD can cover you if you are unable to ever work again in ‘any occupation’. It may also protect you if you can no longer work in your ‘own occupation’. Another type of TPD covers those who are not currently employed but are no longer able to perform two out of five activities of daily living, such as eating or bathing.

Taking out TPD insurance generally involves a risk assessment that will take into account your medical and family history, occupational hazards and lifestyle choices such as smoking and other high-risk activities. Depending on the sum insured, a formal medical assessment (including blood tests and other health reports) may be necessary.

Because TPD cover is intended to protect against loss of income, ‘any’ or ‘own’ occupation TPD cover generally expires once you reach the age of 65. However, people over 65 can continue with ‘non-occupational’ TPD cover, which generally may be held until the age of 80.

Start a conversation

It’s a good idea to have a chat to us, as we can help you to assess your future financial needs if the worst happens and you need to call on your insurance.

While you may have life insurance and TPD as a default option as part of your superannuation accounts, it is important to understand what exactly you are covered for and whether it suits your circumstances and requirements.

This will ensure that you are protected properly and that you will be financially secure if something happens.

Did you know that you can also buy TPD insurance for other family members and even friends?

That means you can help protect all of your loved ones from financial catastrophe if they’re not in the position to take out their own cover.

Speak to us to find out more.

* Real names not used.

[1]http://www.lifewise.org.au/downloads/file/aboutthelifewisecampaign/2010_0203_LifewiseNATSEMSummaryA4FINAL.pdf

Disclaimer

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFS Licence 232468 (Colonial First State) is the issuer of super, pension and investment products. This document may include general advice but does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully and assess whether the information is appropriate for you and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. A PDS for Colonial First State’s products are available at colonialfirststate.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36.