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When you’ve just had a serious medical event, money is the last thing you want to think about. But day-to-day life doesn’t stop, even for heart attacks and cancer – you still need to find a way to pay your mortgage and utilities, not to mention all the day-to-day bills. If you’re too sick to work, you may also have other costs mounting up. It’s a stressful time and adding money worries into the mix is the last thing you’ll need.

That’s where trauma insurance comes in. Although money can’t cure your illness, it can make a big difference in a time of crisis. Nobody wants to think about suffering a major medical event like a stroke, a cancer diagnosis, or a heart attack, but it’s more common than we’d like to think. With trauma insurance, you get a one-off lump sum pay-out if you have one of a range of medical events. Unlike some other types of insurance, trauma cover can be used for whatever you like – from alternative treatment or bills to a holiday in Hawaii.

Of course, no amount of money can make up for a life-changing medical diagnosis, but it can help offer some peace of mind at a scary, uncertain time.

Staying on track

Trauma cover insurance is designed to mitigate some of the stress that follows a medical crisis. It usually covers a limited range of incidents and conditions including strokes, heart attacks, and certain cancers. If you’re diagnosed with one of these conditions and you survive for at least 14 days afterwards, you get a lump-sum payment from your insurer.

Unlike income protection insurance, trauma cover isn’t linked to whether you can work or not. It’s an extra benefit that can be used to make your and your family’s life easier. If you purchase trauma insurance as a stand-alone benefit, it usually won’t be affected by any other payments either.

Supporting your recovery

Serious illnesses and major medical events tend to impact on your life for a long time. If you’re diagnosed with cancer, you may face ongoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery. If you have a heart attack, you may need to make lifestyle changes to prevent another one, or have surgery to treat underlying problems. Stroke victims can be left with permanent physical and mental challenges, including paralysis and loss of language.

Your trauma insurance pay-out can’t resolve your issues, but it can help you pay for extras during your recovery. You might use it to pay the bills while you take time off work to undergo chemotherapy, or to make your home accessible if you’ve been disabled. It could also come in handy to fund a gym membership or physiotherapy to help you regain strength following a stroke. Being able to get the help you need without worrying about where the money is coming from is a huge benefit.

More treatment options

New Zealand’s health system funds most standard treatments for cancer and other conditions, but there are many new and experimental drugs that haven’t been approved for funding. Although some will no doubt be approved eventually, for people currently fighting cancer, that’s not fast enough.

Unfortunately, costs for these treatments can run into the hundreds of thousands – far out of reach for most New Zealanders. If you’re suffering from cancer or another condition and doctors recommend a non-funded form of treatment, trauma cover could help you pay for that treatment or travel overseas to a specialist clinic.

Emotional recovery

Serious illness has a way of changing your perspective. If you’re lucky enough to be left relatively unscathed after a major medical event, you might still feel the need to take time off work and focus on your family and friends. This could help you regain strength and recover from your illness, or simply give you a chance to re-evaluate your priorities and relax after a challenging time.

In that case, trauma cover could be used to fund a long-awaited overseas trip, pay for retraining or education if you decide to change careers, or even help you make the move to a new home or area.

Extra help when you need it most

Many people have life insurance, but not trauma cover. That means, if they suffer a serious illness or medical event and survive, they could be left dealing with financial issues as well as medical ones. Even a small amount of trauma insurance can help – $50,000 or $100,000 may not cost the earth in premiums but could make a huge difference at a very difficult time. Want to find out more about trauma insurance? Talk to the Global Finance team.