Your money or your life? How to choose short-term insurance providers
Every life is worth taking care of. We should make every effort to bolster our protection against the unexpected through insurance. Unpredictable financial markets, natural disasters, and the irresponsible acts of others can, at any time, put us in harm’s way. So, it’s important to ensure your critical assets such as car, house and contents, and health, are covered for all eventualities at all times. Spending on short-term insurance can certainly save you money in the long run.
We must also factor in those aspects that disrupt our coverage – such as losing a job with benefits, choosing self-employment, working for an employer who does not offer benefits, or unexpected early retirement.
Short-term health insurance
In any of these instances, you will need to ensure you have insurance to tide you through the initial challenges and transition. But most important of all will possibly be your maintenance of health insurance. Temporary health insurance, while not intended to serve as a long-term health insurance solution, does offer a short-term solution when life throws you a curved ball and leaves you uninsured.
- Temporary health insurance plans offer a safeguard from unexpected major medical expenses during a gap in coverage. They usually cover a range of physician services, surgery, outpatient and inpatient care.
- Policyholders can often choose their own doctor and hospital without restrictions, although there may be financial incentives for using in-network service providers.
- While it does offer emergency room, outpatient surgery, and hospitalisation coverage, plans may not always cover routine visits, preventative care or pre-existing conditions, so be sure to check the policy’s list of exclusions beforehand.
- Short-term medical insurance is often taken out to fill temporary gaps (typically one month to 364 days) by providing coverage for catastrophic illnesses or injuries while you’re not covered by a market insurer or employer-sponsored health insurance policy.
It is not a replacement for regular health insurance, but is primarily designed to protect you from the financial risks that can accompany an unexpected medical event requiring hospital or emergency care.
What to look for
Don’t accept a one-size fits all policy. Your policy should fit your individual needs. A quality plan should allow you the specific coverage you need, for the time that you need it, at an affordable price.
Beware of plans with too many features that may be unnecessarily expensive. Your plan should be flexible as well as cost-effective for you and your family, and one that should still include your family doctor.
Shopping for medical insurance can be daunting as there are so many options out there. Always make use of the expertise of a reputable financial planner who should have all the facts about the various companies and their policies available for you.
Things to consider
Premiums: What will you be paying for insurance, short-term coverage and extra gap coverage?
Benefits: How will your claims be dealt with and your benefits paid?
Access: Will you be able to choose your hospitals and other providers, or is there a network of providers you must choose from? If there is a network, are the providers accessible to you? And most importantly, will you have access to after-hours and emergency care? Are prescription drugs covered?
Exclusions: How long will your coverage last? Are pre-existing conditions and pregnancy excluded? Are there any professions that might be excluded?
Choosing a short-term insurance provider
Your first step will be to consult with a qualified financial planner who understands your unique needs. Some pointers you will need to discuss:
- Be careful not to make decisions based on the cost of premiums alone.
- Educate yourself on what is covered by your policy and what isn’t. Then you are primed to put the right questions to your financial planner.
- Find out what other consumers and clients say about the insurer – check out the prospective insurer via their website.
- Check if the excess is a fixed amount or a percentage of the value of the claim.
- Check if your premium will change immediately after you claim, or if it’s guaranteed for a certain period.
With regard to car, house and contents, regularly check if the insurer adjusts the insured amounts per annum, and check with your financial planner that these adjustments are reasonable.
The long and the short of it: from personal to pets, commercial to corporate
The BellRyck Financial Group boasts a proud history spanning three decades. We offer short-term insurance, as well as long-term financial investment products and advisory services through our specialist network of service providers.
Our commitment to fostering lasting relationships built on trust and personal service, has allowed us to create valuable partnerships with both individuals and businesses. Prescribing to the highest standards of ethics and integrity, we have developed the acumen and flexibility to successfully evolve with the changing financial needs of our clients.
Find out more by visiting: www.bellryck.co.za