Protect your heart… and your pocket

healthy-heartSeptember is Heart Awareness Month, and according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, there are about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes daily in this country.

Statistics show that 1 in 3 South African adults have high blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and stroke. “There are several lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of developing cardiac disease,” says Sonja du Toit from Sanlam, “but financially, very few people are prepared to deal with a major health setback.”

Many people make the mistake of believing that a good medical aid is enough to protect them against the financial implications of cardiovascular disease. “They tend to forget about the indirect costs associated with suffering and recovering from a heart attack and stroke.” Depending on the severity of your condition, and the length of your recovery period, you may be temporarily unable to work. “In some cases, patients need several months to recover, and the loss of income can be crippling financially, especially if you are the main breadwinner,” says Sonja.

You may also require expensive therapies and incur travel costs to and from hospital or a care centre if you are unable to drive yourself. “Dread disease cover, which pays a lump sum on diagnosis, can go a long way to pay travel expenses and the costs of treatments not covered by your medical aid, while income protection will help keep your family afloat while you are ill.” Income protection cover pays a monthly amount if you are temporarily unable to work. This money will replace all or a portion of your salary and can be used to cover household expenses and other financial obligations until you are able to resume work.

Having the right cover in place will give you peace of mind, leaving you free to focus on your recovery.

Speaking to a financial adviser can help you assess how much cover you require and address any gaps in your financial planning, says Sonja. “A professional can help you choose the best options to address your specific needs and personal budget.”

Be kind to your heart, but make sure you are covered.

Sanlam Life Insurance Limited is a licensed financial services provider and a registered credit provider.