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Myth-busting: Unpacking the facts about life insurance for women

File Image: IOL

File Image: IOL

Published Aug 24, 2021


As women strive to build secure, positive financial futures for themselves and their families, they need to make sure they are informed about the role of life insurance and its benefits through all stages of their lives.

“Women play a crucial role within families and increasingly within society at large, contributing to the economy in a wide range of roles,” says Thembisa Mapukata, General Manager: Alternative Distribution for Old Mutual’s Mass and Foundation Cluster.

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“Women should know that regardless of age, marital status, or whether or not they have children, having appropriate life insurance is an important part of any sound financial plan. However, the most important step before making any decision is to partner with a financial advisor who can assist in developing a financial plan based on individual needs, adds Mapukata.

Women need to be aware of the facts and stay informed. Typical life insurance myths that need to be busted include:

MYTH 1: Life insurance is too expensive for me.

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Women may be unaware that on average, they pay less on life cover premiums than men because women generally live longer than men. This means that generally, it is cheaper for women to insure themselves and secure a financially secure future. In addition to this, by taking a medical test and answering questions about your health and lifestyle, you provide the insurer with extra information, which assists them with making their assessment and generally enables them to offer more cover at an affordable premium.

MYTH 2: I am a home executive;I don’t need comprehensive life insurance or risk cover as my spouse is the breadwinner.

“The role of women working in the home is just as important to their family’s financial welfare as the role of women working outside their homes. Stop for a moment and consider what it would cost to replace the work of a home executive. If the worst should happen, and she became disabled or passed away, it could be financially demanding for her family to close the gap.

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“In addition, if home care was needed to support a disabled spouse, these costs could impact a family’s financial security. The situation changes totally if a stay-at-home woman is insured for life, disability, and severe illness,” says Mapukata.

MYTH 3: My partner/spouse earns more than I do and has enough comprehensive insurance. I do not need to be insured.

In the event that a woman passes away before her spouse and she is uninsured, the financial responsibility of keeping up with family expenses will rest on the surviving spouse and this could be costly over time. Even if the surviving partner earns more, the pay-out will ensure they do not only rely on an income to continue supporting the family.

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It’s important to develop a personal financial plan that takes into consideration future risks, which can be planned for, and put annuities in place to cover events that usually occur at the various stages of a person’s life,” adds Mapukata.

MYTH 4: I do not have a spouse, children, or any dependents, so I don’t need insurance.

A sound financial plan must be based on a detailed needs analysis that considers your overall financial situation. In this instance, you can also consider comprehensive cover that includes Disability and Illness insurance. The truth is that if you are alone, you must rely solely on your actions to build future security. Comprehensive cover is more important than ever in this case because severe disability or illness - even the loss of an income - may leave you financially exposed.

MYTH 5: My work has a life policy benefit in place for employees, so I am covered.

Employment-based insurance should always be checked. It is important to assess whether you can either increase this coverage or privately take out a personal policy to close any insurance gaps. It is also essential to make sure that a work policy covers disability, functional impairment, and severe illness that could affect your earning ability.

Myth 6: I am pregnant, so I will not be considered for life insurance right now.

“This is not true. Women can apply for life insurance while they are pregnant. It is, however, important to disclose the pregnancy, because it could result in health changes, such as increased blood pressure. If the pregnancy is undisclosed, these changes may be attributed to other problems and impact on the cost of the cover,” points out Mapukata.

“Whatever roles women may hold today or aspire to in future, at home, or in the workplace - one of the most important tasks they will face is building a personal financial plan to secure their lifestyles and achieve their long-term goals. A professional adviser is trained to help people assess their circumstances, the factors that make their needs unique, what they want to achieve, and what financial tools they will need. Living a full life is all about building wealth and leaving a legacy.”

“Finding the facts and dismissing the myths, taking control and doing what you can to build a secure future should be a prime objective. The sooner you achieve this, the greater the benefits. However” concludes Mapukata.