On average, global life expectancy is 73 years for women and 68 for men, while in some developed countries, women even outlive men by a margin of up to 10 years.
“There is no definitive answer as to why women live longer than their male counterparts, although experts do cite a number of biological and behavioural reasons. What is clear, however, is that women need to consider the right insurance products very carefully,” says Tetiwe Jawuna at Standard Bank Insurance Brokers, noting that while most people believe a comprehensive medical aid should be enough to cover many diseases, greater protection needs to be assured – especially in a population segment with the highest life expectancy. “With older age comes illness and an inclination towards injury.”
Jawuna says there are two essential insurance solutions that women of all ages should seriously consider to secure their golden years.
As the name implies, disability cover is designed to protect you in the event that you become “totally and permanently” disabled. Different types are available from different financial institutions, though usually a lump sum is paid out to use as you see fit once disability is confirmed.
“This is a boon for those who live alone after a partner’s passing,” says Jawuna. “The money can be used to provide care in the form of a full-time nurse, for instance, or facilitate movement and comfort by purchasing mobility equipment.”
Critical illness cover
Similar to disability cover, it will pay out a once-off cash lump sum on diagnosis of a pre-specified disease.
“Generally, covered illnesses include cancer, stroke, heart attack and kidney failure,” says Jawuna. “Some will even pay out if you need open-heart surgery. While there’s evidence to show that these types of illnesses are genetic and related to lifestyle, they often strike in the senior years when most people need extra financial security.”
According to Jawuna, the average medical scheme is unlikely to cover all expenses incurred during the treatment of critical illness.
“The lump sum payment guaranteed by serious illness cover, to be spent how you like, can ensure that you get the support you need to help you through a challenging time,” she says. “Of course no one can predict how long they will live, but it’s always smart to prepare for all eventualities. Besides, the security and peace of mind a comprehensive insurance plan provides makes it a worthwhile investment at any age.”