For many of us, the holiday season presents a well-deserved break and can’t come soon enough, but we’d be ignoring the risks of hitting the road at our peril, says Karen Bongers a product development actuary for Sanlam Individual Life.

South Africa’s motorways are globally renowned for being among the world’s most dangerous, and holiday seasons present particularly high risks as we rush to get to our destinations.

It’s not something we like to talk about, but given the realities, adequate death and disability cover are practically non-negotiable - particularly for people with children and families to take care of.

Bongers says you should check the following before your trip kicks off:

1.Get adequate death and disability cover. Ideally, you need natural-cause and accidental death and disability cover. However, you can get accidental death and disability protection separately, if you need it in a hurry (the application process is quicker, as it doesn’t consider your medical history) or if you don’t qualify for natural-cause cover.

If you pass away, life cover can help your loved ones pay off any debts you might have and can enable them to cover their living expenses. If you become disabled, disability cover can compensate for the loss of your income.

2.Check the country you’re going to is covered. This is essential if you’re travelling overseas. Certain life cover policies might not provide cover in all countries - areas dubbed high-risk could for example be excluded. If you’re applying for cover before travelling, you might be asked about your travel destination. In this case, be honest about your travel plans, so that you don’t risk a reduced or declined claim if something were to happen to you while being away. Being honest enables the insurer to adequately assess your application and provide you with appropriate terms.

3.Check the activities you’re planning are covered. Some policies exclude riskier activities such as paragliding and sky-diving, so ensure you check for any exclusions if you’re plotting an adrenaline-packed holiday. When you take out a policy, be sure to disclose participation in potentially risky activities if asked to do so, to make sure there aren’t any surprises at claim stage.

4.Invest in funeral cover. Funerals can be expensive. Having cover in place will assist your loved ones to honour your memory without financial strain. This cover can also be taken on the lives of your family members, which in turn enables you to give them a dignified funeral.

5.Update your will. An updated will is imperative to ensure your assets are distributed as you would wish, in the event of your passing away.

6.Make sure your children are covered. Before you head out the door, mentally tick-off whether you’ve covered yourself and your kids and checked whether the country you’re visiting is included in your policy, along with the activities you’re planning once there. 

Supplied by Sanlam