Believe it or not, premature death may not be the worst that can happen to your family financially. A permanent medical condition that stops you from ever earning income again can result in even greater financial challenges. Fortunately, there is an answer.
Most people have at least a rough idea of the financial impact that the death of a breadwinner may cause. Mortgage, living expenses and education costs have to be provided for. Similarly, many are conscious of the need to replace income if they take extended time off work due to an operation or an unexpected illness.
But what if something more permanent happens? Something that prevents you from ever earning income again, but leaves you with a relatively normal life expectancy.
Such a condition may actually cause even greater financial burdens than death, because of the additional expenses related to the sickness or injury that are on top of the debt and income needs that you need to provide for.
Injuries such as paraplegia or a major head trauma, or sicknesses such as cancer or depression, can result in permanent disability and permanent income loss and can incur surprisingly high additional costs for treatment and adapting of your lifestyle and living situation.
Let’s take a closer look at what this might entail and what you can do about it.
Getting the basics taken care of
The first priority is to relieve yourself of the financial worry of a mortgage and other debts and provide an ongoing income to cover basic living costs that you and your family need for at least a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.
Many medical conditions require a range of ongoing tests to be carried out well into the future. Operations may be required and medications can also be a significant extra cost. Then there may a desire to pursue alternative therapies or more advanced treatment options in other countries, which are beyond the scope of health insurance alone.
Adapting your home to your needs
Your lifestyle may benefit from renovations and specialised provisions around the home to make life more comfortable and convenient. This can include ramps, bathroom and kitchen customisation and door widening – all of which can incur substantial costs.
Gear and gadgets
Specialised gear, such as wheelchairs, lifting machinery, exercise equipment and automation of doors and appliances, can make life a whole lot more liveable for certain medical conditions. There may also be an opportunity for medical equipment to be brought into the home, instead of relying on external services and institutions.
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other specialised assistance for rehabilitation can be an ongoing and necessary aspect of living with disability and can improve quality of life.
You may wish to (or need to) employ in-home nursing care and other domestic help around the home to relieve stress on family.
Specialised transport may be needed to ensure you have as much freedom of movement as you want.
The best way to fund these costs
The staggering costs that these factors can incur are generally not covered by health insurance or Medicare and cannot be funded out of your income protection. Life insurance is designed to pay in the event of death or terminal illness, so it is of no use if your life expectancy is still relatively normal and advancements in modern medicine are improving survival rates all the time.
The best solution to funding these costs is with purpose built insurance that pays a lump sum benefit, which you are free to spend as you please. That is exactly what total and permanent disability insurance is. It gives you the freedom and independence to make the most of life, no matter what the circumstances.
Plan your risk protection professionally
Your adviser can show you how a comprehensive total and permanent disability plan can fit into your risk protection strategy in the most economical way, so don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns.