• Karen Bongers

Before the fun: The must-have holiday checklist

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.

South Africa’s motorways are globally renowned for being amongst the world’s most dangerous, and holiday seasons present particularly high risks as we rush to get to our destinations, says Karen Bongers, Product Development Actuary for Sanlam Individual Life.

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

Karen lists the following as a minimum checklist requirement to consider way before your trip kicks off:

1. Get adequate death and disability cover: Ideally, you need natural-cause as well as accidental death and disability cover. However, you can get accidental death and disability protection separately, should 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.

Should you pass away, life cover can help your loved ones pay off any debts you might have and can enable them to cover their everyday living expenses. Should 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 like paragliding and sky-diving, so ensure you check for any exclusions if you’re plotting an adrenaline-packed vacay! 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. Sanlam Go Cover is a simple mobile app that allows you to buy accidental injury and death cover on demand, for just 24 hours to 30 days

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: Another far-from-fun one to tick, but an updated will is imperative to ensure your assets are distributed as you would wish, in the unfortunate event of your passing away.

6. Make sure your kids are covered: There are benefits aimed especially at children – like Sanlam’s Child Illness and Injury benefit. This protects your little one should anything serious happen at home or while away. The benefit covers various defined dread disease, injury, impairment and infection claim events, some of which may be more likely while on holiday, like dog bites requiring facial plastic surgery or near drowning incidents requiring ICU care.

“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. Then you’re good to go!”