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“Partners in your Risk”

Approximately 11 million children will be going to school this month with some of these children participating in various sporting disciplines, ranging from athletics, rugby, hockey, netball, soccer and cricket, in the hope of becoming the new national sports heroes. While it is never pleasant to think about negative occurrences with one’s children, failing to plan ahead for financial loss as a result of injuries caused while playing sports at a school level can financially cripple a family.

This is according to Dave Honeyman, Executive Head at SHA Specialist Underwriters, who says many parents will hope that their children are not chosen for certain sports, as they are concerned about some of the medical costs that can be incurred if their children get injured.

He says some schools are insured for medical costs incurred for injuries that happen at the school or whilst participating in school events, including sports. “However, these insurance policies usually only cover expenses that are not paid for by medical aid, so the parents are exposed to potentially high medical costs if their children are injured whilst partaking in a school activity. If a child suffers from a bad leg break in January it could use up the family’s medical aid savings allocation for the entire year, which is certainly not ideal for any family.”

Whilst medical expenses can have a major financial impact on most families, it is also important to understand the requirement for Permanent Disability cover for school children as well, as the expenses incurred when a child becomes disabled can financially destroy most families, says Honeyman. “There are numerous cases of children being paralysed in contact sports, suffering serious eye injuries and brain injuries in other sports.”

The risk is not only whilst they are participating, but also whilst they are being transported to the games in a school bus or motor vehicle, he adds. “Unfortunately accidents do happen and there have been cases of busses overturning with school kids in them.”

One needs to consider the financial challenges that will arise for a family if their 10 year old child becomes disabled as a result of an injury, explains Honeyman. “Consider the ongoing cost of medical care, home renovations, customising of the motor vehicle and home nursing. How will a family afford all of these costs if their children are not insured? In addition to this, the child will require assistance to continue with their schooling so that they can still work one day.”

“There are covers available in the market that will provide for major medical related costs, permanent disability, hospitalisation and costs for additional education where a scholar is off school for an extended period because of an injury. It is important for parents to find out what covers the school has so that they can make the necessary decisions regarding any additional insurance requirements to safeguard their financial wellbeing,” concludes Honeyman. 

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