Cancer tops critical illness insurance claims

Cancer is the leading clause of claims under critical illness insurances in Australia, according to GenRe Life Health.

Following cancer is cardiovascular disease, although official death rates show the reverse, with coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure accounting for 34% of deaths in Australia, and cancer the country?s second highest killer at 30% of all registered deaths.

This suggests cancer recovery rates may be improving, yet fighting the illness is a major drain on families; emotionally, physically and financially.

Even though adequate life insurance cover is crucial, critical illness insurance is possibly even more important, as most people find that just recovering from a serious illness or accident causes a bigger financial burden.

A serious illness or accident usually means many months off work, drastically reducing the amount of money coming in. This is further exacerbated by a partner taking time off to act as a carer.

Apart from the initial hospitalisation, there is likely to be a configuration of complicated financial issues to deal with, such as ongoing treatment, at-home care, aids and equipment and home modifications.

Regional patients also have the added cost of travel and accommodation on top of everything else.

If we look at New South Wales alone, 57% of cancer survivors in that state spent at least 5 months off work after their diagnosis. 71% then required an average of 40-plus hours of family care at home per week at an average cost of nearly $700 a week.

The financial stress can be alleviated by having proper insurance cover in place. This can be trauma insurance, income protection, TPD – total and permanent disablement – or a package which also includes life cover.

A licensed financial adviser can help to put in place an insurance plan to cover your needs if serious illness strikes.

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