What is trauma insurance?
Trauma insurance, also known as critical illness or recovery insurance, may provide a lump sum of money if you are diagnosed with a critical illness or injury. This may include illnesses and injuries such as heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
This could help you cover costs such as:
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses (including costs not covered by private health insurance)
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lifestyle changes such as home modification costs
- Living expenses if you are unable to work
- Repaying debts such as a home loan or credit card
What conditions does trauma insurance cover?
The conditions covered will vary between insurers and policies, but generally trauma insurance can cover conditions such as:
- Heart conditions such as heart attack and coronary bypass surgery
- Neurological conditions such as stroke, Alzeihmer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis
- Organ disorders such as chronic kidney failure and major organ transplants
- Blood disorders such as aplastic anaemia
- Permanent conditions such as blindness, loss of hearing, loss of speech and loss of limbs
- Intensive care treatment
Insurers can have different definitions for each condition, and different requirements regarding severity, so it’s important to read the provider’s product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully.
Why might I need trauma insurance?
Whether or not you need trauma insurance will depend on your personal circumstances. In the instance that you are injured, questions to consider could include:
- What expenses would you need to cover? For example, any medical and rehabilitation costs, living expenses and paying off any debt.
- What existing insurance policies do you have? If you have health insurance, this may help cover some of your medical expenses. If you have income protection or total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance, they could potentially help replace any loss of income.
- What other funds could you access? For example, could you dip into your savings, rely on a partner’s income or other family support?
Consider getting professional financial advice to help you decide whether to purchase trauma insurance and how much cover you may need.
How can I compare trauma insurance?
If you’re looking to find the best trauma insurance policy to fit your needs, it could pay to do some research and investigate policies that are on offer. Factors you might like to consider could include:
- Coverage: What illnesses and injuries does the policy cover and how does the policy define these?
- Exclusions: What isn’t covered by the policy?
- Premiums: How much does the policy cost and will the premiums increase (called stepped cover) or stay the same (called level cover) each year?
- Benefit amount: How much will the policy pay out in the event of a successful claim?
- Waiting periods: Insurers will often impose a waiting period before you can make a claim (e.g. three months)
How much does trauma insurance cost?
The cost of trauma insurance will depend on factors like your age, gender, occupation, smoking status and the level of cover you take out. Insurers will typically offer either:
- Stepped premiums: the cost of your premiums will increase each year as you get older and your risk increases.
- Level premiums: premiums will usually be more expensive initially when compared with stepped premiums, but will generally stay the same as you age.
What is the difference between TPD and trauma insurance?
Total & Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD) insurance pays you a lump sum if you become totally and permanently disabled because of an illness or injury and are unable to work. In comparison, trauma insurance will pay you a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a critical illness or serious injury and it does not matter whether or not you are able to still work.
How can I buy trauma insurance?
You can buy trauma insurance through a financial adviser, insurance broker or directly from an insurance company. You can no longer purchase trauma insurance through your super fund. Funds have been unable to offer new trauma insurance policies since 1 July, 2014.
You can usually take out trauma insurance as a stand-alone policy or you may be able to link it with life insurance cover. Generally, it will be cheaper to purchase a linked policy, rather than a stand-alone product. However, if you purchase a linked policy and make a successful trauma insurance claim, the other cover levels will typically reduce by the amount paid out. Some policies offer ‘buy-back’ options, which allow you to reinstate your original life insurance amount after a period of time.
Last updated: 30/07/2021
Author: Nina Tovey
As Canstar’s Editor-in-Chief, Nina heads up a team of talented journalists committed to helping empower consumers to take greater control of their finances. Previously Nina founded her own agency where she provided content and communications support to clients around Australia for eight years. She also spent four years as the PR Manager for American Express Australia, and has worked at a Brisbane communications agency where she supported dozens of clients, including Sunsuper and Suncorp.
Nina has ghostwritten dozens of opinion pieces for publications including The Australian and has been interviewed on finance topics by the Herald Sun and the Sydney Morning Herald. When she’s not dreaming up ways to put a fresh spin on finance, she’s taking her own advice by trying to pay her house off as quickly as possible and raising two money-savvy kids.
Nina has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Literature from the University of Queensland. She’s also an experienced presenter, and has hosted numerous events and YouTube series.
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