You’ve got medical aid to cover the cost of medical treatment and life cover to provide for your loved ones should the worst happen. So why on earth would you also need severe illness cover?

This is a question that Jaco Gouws, protection product head at Old Mutual, says that he knows many South Africans ask themselves. “Sadly, many only find out the answer when it’s too late – when they are diagnosed with a severe illness and realise they are not prepared for all the costs that lie ahead.”

Unfortunately, a lack of awareness of the financial impact of a severe illness and the benefits of having the right financial cover are the main reasons why many don’t even consider getting severe illness cover.

What is severe illness cover?

Severe illness cover, also known as critical illness cover, pays you a tax-free lump sum when you are diagnosed with a severe illness.

You can use this money to pay for additional costs associated with the illness, such as getting a private nurse, hiring an au pair for your children, paying for your living expenses while you are on unpaid leave or paying for alternative treatment to aid your recovery.

You can also use it to make adjustments to your home and lifestyle to accommodate the changes resulting from a severe illness.

What are the benefits of severe illness cover?

Having severe illness cover will help you recover without having to worry about money. It will allow you access to good quality treatment and health institutions. You will also have peace of mind knowing that you and your family’s financial needs can still be seen to during your recovery.

How do I get severe illness cover?

“Old Mutual offers severe illness cover that you can buy through an Old Mutual financial adviser or a broker. GREENLIGHT Severe Illness cover covers you for up to 84 illnesses. It also offers cover for mild illnesses, as well as illnesses that are diagnosed early,” says Gouws.

“Depending on the option you choose, you can claim 100% of your cover amount multiple times for unrelated illnesses.”

Gouws stresses the importance of having severe illness cover. “There are many factors that increase your chances of getting a severe illness, like genetics and lifestyle choices. However, anyone can get diagnosed with a severe illness like cancer, heart disease or stroke – which, according to the 2016 Old Mutual GREENLIGHT claims statics, made up 81% of all severe illness claims that were paid in 2016.

“Get in touch with your financial adviser to ensure that you have the financial means to fight back from a severe illness when you need to” concludes Gouws.

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