Cover essential for extreme sports ahead of head injury awareness day
With approximately 89 000 new cases of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) reported in South Africa every year, according to Statistics South Africa, it is essential for people engaging in unusual or extreme sports to ensure that their life insurance and disability policies are up-to-date and covers them in the event of an accident to avoid unnecessary financial strain.
Ahead of Head Injury Awareness Day on 20 March 2012, Dr Dominique Stott, Executive: Medical Standards and Services at PPS, says consumers who partake in extreme sports face an increased risk of TBI and must ensure they practice appropriate safety measures and have essential insurance cover in place before embarking on any hazardous pursuits.
“Head injuries can have serious medical repercussions, ranging from memory loss, to severe paralysis, or even death. It is vital that people realise the skull does not need to be crushed in order to cause TBI; a simple fall off a bike without wearing a helmet can damage one’s life forever.”
Dr Stott says leading causes of TBI in South Africa include: motor vehicle, bicycle, or vehicle-pedestrian accidents (50%); falls (25%) and violence (20%), according to the National Health Laboratory Service. “People partaking in extreme sports that pose a risk of these types of accidents or falls, including mountain biking, road cycling, mountain climbing or paragliding, must be most vigilant when it comes to insuring they have appropriate cover in place.”
“Most people wrongly assume that their insurance policy will still cover them if they have an accident regardless of how it happened, yet this is often not the case. If the leisure activity is deemed to be a ‘hazardous pursuit’ by the insurer, then some insurance policies may not cover them in the event of an accident.”
She says PPS has no such exclusions on its policies, ensuring that its members are covered anywhere in the world in any eventuality. “All of our members are automatically insured and there is no need to specify the sports they are taking part in or to obtain separate cover.”
“Some policies require people to apply for the additional cover at an extra premium, which can often prove to be very expensive compared with the cost of an ordinary policy. It’s not cheap to get coverage for activities that are perceived as hazardous. In fact, some insurers not only automatically exclude coverage for hazardous pursuits, but will also refuse to provide cover against such activities at all.”
Hazardous pursuits generally include activities such as motor sports, quad biking, flying light aircraft, scuba diving, mountaineering or abseiling, though Dr Stott advises contacting the insurer for a comprehensive list.
“For those planning to partake in extreme sports ensuring they are covered in the event of TBI, other serious injuries, or even death, is vital to avoid the severe financial and emotional repercussions of having no cover in place. Those who currently do not have any cover should contact a reputable insurance provider as soon as possible,” concludes Dr Stott.
Epic Communications (Pty) Ltd
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