Proper planning can ease the financial burden

    Brian Harris, General Manager: Operations at Turnberry, outlines the many benefits of gap insurance cover, not least at the time of bereavement.

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    financial adviosr guiding their client
    Credit: Rodnae Productions/Pexels

    Death is a topic that nobody enjoys discussing, and yet it is part of life. When you do pass away, your dependents will be left to deal with the loss and grief, as well as a hefty administrative burden that comes along with the process. Gap cover can help to ensure that your loved ones do not inherit large medical expense shortfalls related to any medical treatment or ongoing illness.

    While it is important to note that it is not a life insurance policy that will pay out upon your death, some gap cover policies do offer additional benefits like a gap premium and medical-scheme-contribution waiver that can provide additional assistance.

    A burdensome task

    After someone passes away, there is a long list of administrative tasks that need to be taken care of, from obtaining a death certificate to arranging the funeral service, notifying friends and family as well as places of work, business associates and financial institutions and dealing with the will. Another duty of those who have been left behind is to settle the deceased’s debt, which includes bank loans, credit cards and any unpaid medical expenses.

    Without the right cover in place, this alone can add significantly to the burden of loved ones at a time that is already traumatic. Gap cover has become absolutely essential in covering the increasing medical expense shortfalls that are common with ongoing illnesses like cancer and heart disease, as well as medical emergencies and surgeries. However, gap cover may also have additional benefits that can help to alleviate some of the financial burden that family members may experience when a loved one passes.

    Gap cover benefits

    Certain gap cover plans and policies will include extra benefits that come into effect when the principal member passes away. This includes the medical-expense-contribution waiver, which will cover the member’s monthly medical aid payment for the family for a period of up to six months.

    There is also the gap-cover-premium waiver, which will pay for the gap cover premiums of the family for a period of 12 months after the principal member’s passing. In other words, the grieving family will not be saddled with the additional burden of trying to find the money to continue to pay for medical aid and gap cover while they wait for life insurance payouts and pension funds to be transferred and for the deceased estate to wrap up, which can take a significant amount of time. These will be paid by the gap cover provider for the specified period. It can be a comforting thought knowing that your family will not have to worry about these expenses during such a difficult time.

    Planning ahead

    In addition to certain policies offering additional cover, it is also important to understand how this is transferred to dependants when the principal member passes away. In most cases, the medical scheme and gap cover policies can be seamlessly transferred to the deceased’s next of kin, such as a spouse, without any gaps in cover or waiting periods associated with a new policy. This can help to ensure continuous coverage for those who are left behind. While no one wants to think about their mortality, it is important to plan for the unexpected.

    Gap cover ensures that, in addition to everything else they must deal with, your family will not be left with crippling medical debt. With the medical-scheme-contribution waiver and the gap-cover-premium-waiver benefit, you can have additional peace of mind knowing that your loved ones’ lives will be that much easier as they deal with grief. Speak to your broker or financial advisor about the best gap cover to suit your needs.

    Brian Harris, General manager of operations, Turnberry
    Brian Harris, General manager of operations, Turnberry

    About Turnberry Risk Management Solutions

    Founded in 2001, Turnberry is a registered financial services provider that specialises in accident and health insurance, travel insurance and funeral cover. Turnberry’s gap cover products are available to clients on all medical aid schemes, as they are independently provided and are therefore transferable in the event of a change in the client’s medical aid scheme. Turnberry is well represented nationally, with its Head Office based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, with Business Development Managers in Cape Town and Durban. Turnberry is underwritten by Lombard Insurance Company Limited. 

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