The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC)’s statistics for the period January to December 2016 showed a 9% year on year increase in road accident related deaths, totalling 14071. As many South African families will be travelling once again during the upcoming festive season, is vital that they ensure that they are covered for potential financial losses due to an accident or medical emergency while travelling.
This is according to Dave Honeyman, Executive Head: Accident & Health at SHA Specialist Underwriters, who says that 2016 recorded the highest annual road fatality statistics since 2006 when 15 419 people died on South African roads. “This shows that road safety and insurance should be top of the priority list when families are planning their school holidays this year.”
While insurance is usually the last thing on one’s mind before the holidays, there is nothing that can ruin a holiday quite like an accident, which not only results in physical injuries but huge financial losses too, says Honeyman. “Families, especially those with children, are particularly vulnerable when they travel because they are often not familiar with the area or the emergency procedures in a particular province or country, if they are travelling across the border. Unfamiliarity increases the risk of being involved in an accident and sustaining injuries.”
However, families are not only travelling to, from and around their holiday destination, there is a general increase in cars on the road as children are transported to various activities to keep them occupied during the school holidays, he says. “This also results in a higher chance of sustaining an injury, especially when these children are travelling and partaking in these activities in unfamiliar areas.”
Unfortunately parents rarely consider insuring their kids, but they need to realise that if their child is seriously injured, medical bills can quickly accumulate to unmanageable amounts, says Honeyman. “Parents also need to consider the financial challenges that will arise for the family if their child becomes disabled as a result of an injury. In the unfortunate event of a child becoming disabled, there will be ongoing costs for medical care, home renovations, customising of the motor vehicle and home nursing. In addition to this, the child will require assistance to continue with their schooling so that they can still work one day and this will have special requirements with added costs, such as home schooling. Parents need to ask themselves whether they will be able to afford all of these costs if their children are not insured.”
Accidents can easily happen while travelling and these unforeseen events can be devastating for the family, says Honeyman. “Apart from the physical and psychological trauma, the financial implications could leave the family indebted for a very long time.”
“Many people do not consider the risks associated with travelling locally, or abroad, until they or their families are involved in an incident and this is too late. A Personal Accident policy provides reassurance to policyholders that their families will be covered in the event of an accident, albeit minor or debilitating. All South Africans should speak to a broker to enquire about a Personal Accident policy to ensure it is in place before the school holiday period begins,” concludes Honeyman.