Personal accident cover critical for increasingly active individuals

Two Female Runners Finishing Race Together

The 2016 Comrades ultra-marathon is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 29 May, with over 20 000 runners having entered to partake in the 91st edition of this iconic event. Active South Africans who run or cycle on the country’s roads training for these types of big sporting events are increasingly exposed to tremendous risk, as there have been many cases of people being knocked down by vehicles and left temporarily or, in some extreme cases, permanently disabled or even deceased.

This is according to Crystal Triegaardt, Underwriter at SHA, who says that these type of road accidents not only result in potential serious injury, but could also lead to a massive financial shortfall for the family involved. “It is recommended that consumers who partake in sporting activities have a basic Personal Accident insurance policy in place which will financially cover the policyholder in the case of accidental bodily injury.

“A basic personal accident policy covers the consumer for an accidental injury that resulted in either death or permanent disability, and serves as income protection and also covers the cost of specialist medical care to treat the injury. South Africans face an even bigger risk of being a victim of crime, or being knocked over by a reckless driver while they are out training, when compared to other countries,” says Triegaardt.

These policies usually provide 24 hour, worldwide cover and therefore it does not matter where the accident took place in order for the policy to pay out, should the amateur athlete find him or herself in a foreign country.

He states that most sporting event organisers usually do their best to mitigate the risk of injuries by insuring that the roads used have been surveyed and assessed, implementing proper crowd control systems, arranging security, emergency response and relevant medical support to be present on the day. “However, accidents can still easily happen and competitors should not be left facing a financial disaster should they be involved in an incident that leaves them disabled with big medical expenses.”

Triegaardt explains that the benefit of having Personal Accident insurance in place is that the insured will be covered regardless of how the injury happened. “In the case of the individual preferring to initiate a liability claim against a third party who they deem responsible for the accident, they will only receive compensation once the legal action determines that the third party was at fault. A Personal Accident policy will also ensure that the individual has adequate cover in place should the worst happen.”

“Most Personal Accident policies are issued on a named basis for individuals, so parents should therefore consider including their children under their policies to cover for costs incurred should a child suffer a disabling injury,” she says.

As we aim to encourage our children to be active and rather play outside than spending time indoors, there will always be risks involved with these activities, states Triegaardt. “There has been many cases where children suffer terrible injuries and the families are left looking for donations and funds to be able to cover the necessary medical costs as the family does not have the financial means. This is where the importance of a personal accident policy comes into play and will provide the finances to ensure that the child can get the best treatment possible for their injury.

“Most consumers do not consider the potential risks associated with large events until they or their families are involved in an incident, when it is too late. A Personal Accident policy provides reassurance to policyholders that they will be covered in the event of an accident, albeit minor or debilitating. Injuries that deem consumers medically unfit to continue working can also have devastating consequences on an entire family, and therefore consumers are urged to speak to a broker in order to have a sufficient Personal Accident policy in place,” concludes Triegaardt.

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