What To Do After A Personal Accident (In Increasing Order Of Severity)

fundMyLife explores what to do after a personal accident

At the risk of sounding cliched, accidents can happen any time in your life, be it big or small. It ranges from spraining an ankle while running in MacRitchie Reservoir, to being crushed by a heavy container at work. How does one cope with life after these accidents? That’s where personal accident plans come in – to assist with outpatient medical expenses, provide assistance during recuperation, and – if death is involved – a peace of mind to tide loved ones through. We have written quite a bit about these plans in the past, but not what comes after. In this article, fundMyLife talks about what to do after a personal accident – in order of severity of injuries.

#1 Not dead, and okay

Chances are, you’re injured but the injury is not so bad that you need to be warded. For example, the earlier example where you sprain your ankle running in MacRitchie Reservoir. In this case, you can claim your out-patient treatment. On top of that, your mobility aids like wheelchairs or crutches are covered.

What to do after a personal accident that doesn’t hurt you too badly? Go get some rest. You’ll heal up soon enough.

#2 Not dead, but temporarily disabled

Temporary disabilities leave your body intact, i.e. no limbs missing, but you are unable to function in your everyday job after the accident. That’s a relief. However, temporary disabilities come in two forms – total and partial. The difference between the two is the extent of your injuries that hinder your ability to carry out your work. As the terms suggest, the former is when you cannot carry out your tasks at all whereas the latter is when you can partially carry out your job.

In either case, the temporary disability feature of the personal accident plan kicks in and provides weekly cash payouts usually up to 104 weeks (that’s two years). Temporary disability benefits do not come as a lump sum. Note that you have to be employed in the first place to benefit from the weekly cash payouts, and that your temporary disability has to be longer than 7 days. With that, you can take your time to rest and recover. After recovery, you can get back to work as usual.

According to one of the advisers we interviewed, he regretted not taking a plan that had weekly payouts while he recuperated from an injury. He had to rely on his colleagues to get things done, until he recovered a few weeks later. However, he was grateful that his personal accident plan covered the outpatient treatment nonetheless.

#3 Not dead, but permanently disabled

Permanent total disabilities refer to conditions where you lose both of either limbs, lose your eyesight in both eyes, a combination of previous two, or loss of both hearing and speech. On the other hand, partial permanent disabilities are when you lose one of your limbs. The difference in the payout between the two types of permanent disabilities is huge, as the payout for partial permanent disabilities has a large variation.

It is useful to examine the compensation table by the insurance companies you get your plan from. For example, losing both eyes entitled you to full payout whereas losing only one eye will give you 50% of the sum insured.

As opposed to the weekly payout under temporary disability, permanent disability comes with a lump sum payment. This is where things become really serious. Depending on your disability, the world will be different for you now. All you have left is the sum of money to tide you through. What to do after a personal accident like this?

Coping with post-accident life really depends on the disability. If you lose eyesight in both eyes, you can no longer do computer work, for example. The next best course of action would be to attend courses that retrain you for gainful employment. Organizations like the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped offer courses for the visually handicapped to operate computers. On top of that, you will have to readjust your finances from not being able to do your previous job and/or lowered earning potential.

#4 Dead

This part is for the family member of the deceased. Now that a family member is deceased, what’s next? Hopefully, the loved one had a personal accident policy with death benefits. In addition, it is helpful to have a trusted financial adviser who can assist you with claims. For death claims, in general (don’t take our word for it – check the fine print from companies), you have to submit several documents to prove that there was a death and that you’re related to the deceased.

  1. Death claims form
  2. Death certificate
  3. Proof of relationship to deceased
  4. Copy of insurance policy

From our research, it usually takes 14 days for the company to get back to you regarding the status of the claims. After that, the claims officer will advise if there are any more documents required after processing.

Getting the money is the first of many parts, so what’s next? The lump sum of money will help in the short run, but ultimately you’ll need to figure your next move. Death of a loved one is tragic, and more so if he/she was the breadwinner.  While the lump sum may seem a lot, it is meant to cover monthly expenses and fixed monthly expenses like mortgage. That said, if you purchased mortgage insurance you can worry less about mortgage payments.

In general, your immediate aim is to settle any outstanding debts and managing a healthy cashflow for the family for the next few months. That means no unnecessary risks like investing that lump sum, especially products without liquidity (we’re looking at you, ILPs and endowments).

Conclusion

Regardless of whichever stage of injury you are in, personal accident plans come in handy to tide through difficult times. While we do not wish anyone to be in the fourth category, it is nonetheless wise to prepare yourself for the worst. In any case, we have come to the end of the article, and we hope that you now know what to do after a personal accident. If you’re still unsure about what you need, why not ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers?

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

4 Specialized Personal Accident Plans You Might Not Heard About

fundMyLife examines specialized personal accident plans

Personal accident plans are plans that help you and your loved ones cope with accidents that result in either death or disabilities. They are commonly bought due the fact that they are immensely useful for outpatient treatment. In addition, this plan is useful for those who frequently embark on physical sports. However, sometimes you just want to have coverage for certain activities that have unique features. Since fundMyLife is all about sharing fun information, we thought to highlight interesting plans that we found. In this article, fundMyLife looks at some specialized personal accident plans that you might not have even heard of.

Yacht Insurance

For those who want to channel their inner Peter Lim and spend some time in the yacht, you might want to consider getting a yacht insurance for yourself and your guest. Depending on the plan, it also covers injuries that can arise from equipment in the yacht, like jetskis. Similar to normal personal accident plans, you can extend coverage to your family members, guests of the yacht, and for some cases the crew manning the yacht as well.

Golfer Insurance

Golf is an activity that is relatively low-risk. Other than golfer’s elbow, there is little physical harm that can happen. Even then, normal personal accident plans can cover some of the accidents that may occur on the green.

However, golfers are recommended to purchase golfer’s insurance. Why do golfers need to get this then? Turns out, golfer’s insurance covers not just yourself, but anyone who might be unlucky enough to be hit by your accidental swings.

Fun fact: the insurance even covers hole-in-one.

But wait a minute, why would there be insurance that covers something good that happened? Turns out that when someone scores a hole-in-one, he/she has to buy the entire clubhouse drinks (depending on the clubhouse rules). While it’s a joyous occasion, it is also an expensive affair. As such, the hole-in-one feature of the insurance helps to alleviate the cost of the celebration. Normal personal accident plans don’t have that.

Personal mobility device

For those who are not into yachts nor golf, how about a spiffy personal mobility device to get you around? Personal mobility devices are increasingly popular, but it can be hard to use them. If you’re on the sidewalks, you’d run the risk of running into pedestrians. It’s worst than cyclists on sidewalks since you’re faster and more dangerous. However, if you’re considerate and decide to be on roads instead, you run the risk of being run down by cars.

Similar to golfer’s insurance, this plan covers both the rider and liabilities to members of the public. It’s useful in case you run someone down with your personal mobility device, or damage someone’s property.

Kidnap and ransom

Speaking of personal mobility device, Grab made headlines again with their GrabCycle announcement. Anthony Tan of Grab, who makes multi-million dollar deals, is definitely worth millions now. It isn’t easy being such a public figure. Having a high networth exposes you to dangerous situations like…kidnap and ransom. Don’t worry, we’re not going to kidnap anyone.

However, those who travel or work in high risk countries like Mexico, Venezuela, Haiti, Nigeria, etc. faces a real possibility of kidnapping. You know scenes in movies where victims of kidnapping lose their limbs or whatever in the process of getting ransom money? Kidnap and ransom plans cover those. On top of that, kidnap and ransom plans reimburse paid ransom money and cover things like medical care, disruption of operations, cost of replacing the kidnap victim and retraining, and several other costs incurred due to kidnapping incident.

As expected, this plan covers very important individuals and work with high impact. The company underwriting the kidnap and ransom plans will even hire crisis consultants just to negotiate the ransom money down. We couldn’t help but talk about kidnap and ransom insurance since it belongs to one of those really specialized insurance plans.

Conclusion

That’s all for now, folks. We hope you enjoyed this list of specialized personal accident plans as much as we did. If you ever find yourself doing for more unique activities, be sure to check these plans out.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Different Types Of Endowment Plans In Singapore

Different types of endowment plans

This article first appeared on DollarsAndSense.sg

If you have been through a financial planning session with an advisor, there is a good chance that you would have heard of Endowment Plans. You may even have bought a plan (or two) after discussing with your financial advisor.

But what exactly are endowment plans? More importantly, are you buying the right plans that fulfill your needs?

What Are Endowment Plans?

In Singapore, endowment plans are sometimes known as “endowment insurance”, mainly because there is usually an insurance component tied to the plan.

There are a few characteristics that typically defines an endowment plan is.

Maturity Period: Endowment plans will have a fixed maturity period. This is generally between five years to 20 years, depending on the type of plans that you buy. Usually, the maturity of your endowment plan should coincide with your objective for having bought it in the first place.

Fixed Regular Premiums: Endowment plans typically require the regular payment of a fixed premium. Insurers usually offer the choice of paying for your premiums on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Alternatively, some insurers also provide plans that allows for the plan to be bought using a single premium (i.e. a lump-sum payment).

Insurance Coverage: Endowment plans usually comes with some insurance component. Do note however that in most cases, insurance coverage provided by endowment plans are usually insufficient, on its own, to adequately insure individuals. You should avoid thinking that your endowment plan is a suitable alternative to a life insurance plan.

Why Do People Buy Endowment Plans?

People buy endowment plans for a variety of reasons. Usually, this involved financially working towards something important.

Education:

The most common example in Singapore would be to plan towards a child’s education. Parents who buy an endowment plan will pay fixed regular premium. When the plan matures, the payout received can be used to fund a child’s education.

An example of such a plan will be the AIA Smart Growth (II).

Source: AIA

Retirement:

There are endowment plans that are specially designed to help policyholders work towards their retirement.

The key difference between these retirement-focused plans and the ones that are designed for education is the way payouts are disbursed upon maturity.

Instead of a lump-sum payout, most retirement-focus plans provide a steady stream of monthly income to policyholders upon reaching a certain age. Very often, this payout comprises of both guaranteed returns and non-guaranteed returns.

An example of such a plan will be the MaxRetire Income. MaxRetire Income provides policyholders with a steady stream of monthly retirement income from 65 (age next birthday) to either age 85 or 100 (age next birthday).

Here’s an example of how it works.

Source: DollarsAndSense, Information extracted from OCBC

Another example of a retirement-focus plan is AXA Retire Happy. Similar to the MaxRetire Income, the plan provides regular payouts comprising of both guaranteed and non-guaranteed returns for policyholders upon maturity.

The biggest draw for these retirement-focus plans is that it provides a guarantee retirement income. Regardless of how badly the financial markets perform, insurers are obliged to pay the guaranteed payout promised to policyholders.

At the same time, the non-guaranteed payout is a bonus that policyholders can also look forward to, with the exact amount depending on the performance of the insurer’s participating fund.

Savings:

In recent years, we have seen insurers offering savings plans to consumers in Singapore. These savings plans are a type of endowment plan. Commitment period for such plans tend to be shorter, from as little as three years.

As its name suggests, the primary purpose of these plans is to help policyholders save, and to earn an interest that is higher than what they would earn in a regular savings account. An example of savings plan would be the Easy save series offered by Etiqa. You can read up more about the plan in our article.

Questions That You Should Also Be Asking

Besides knowing the different types of endowment plans there are, and whether they are really suitable for your needs, there are some other factors that you should consider before committing to any plans.

Is Your Endowment Plan A Participating Or A Non-Participating Policy?

A participating policy means that part of your returns will be tied to the performance of an insurer’s participating fund. If you are enticed by the attractive payout offered by an endowment plan, check if the returns are guaranteed or simply projected (i.e. non-guaranteed). If they are projected returns, then you should also differentiate between what’s guaranteed, and what’s non-guaranteed.

What Are The Insurance Coverage?

As mentioned earlier, most endowment plans offered by insurers will have some form of insurance coverage.

The extent of the coverage you receive from the endowment plans do matter, as it would indirectly affect the actual returns that you receive. With all things being equal, you should be expecting lower returns if the insurance coverage that you receive is higher, and vice versa.

DollarsAndSense.sg is a personal finance website that aim to help Singaporeans make better financial decision.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Basics of Financial Planning

Basics of Financial Planning

Written by Letitia Jinghui Lean, edited by Jackie Tan and How To Adult. This was a guest post for How To Adult.

Nothing in school ever prepares you for the tsunami of responsibilities that come with being an adult, you just get mercilessly thrown into the deep end. Suddenly, you’ve got bills to pay, budgeting to do, insurance to set up, and many other responsibilities that keep piling up!

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The key is to take things one at a time, and breathe. In this article, we’re gonna simplify the mind-boggling concept of financial planning and provide baby steps you can take to set yourself up for financial success in the future.

Huh, simi ‘financial planning’ ?

It’s preparing for your future through evaluation of your current pay and desired financial future. By setting short-term and long-term goals, you’ll be better equipped and motivated to make good financial decisions and accumulate the wealth you need to meet said goals.

You could also think of it as building a house. A solid foundation is needed before everything else falls into place. Good financial planning also gives you that stable base, from which you can build your fortune to protect yourself and your family from the different types of personal disasters.

So, where do I start?

It is important to strategise. It is also equally important to remember that your strategy shouldn’t be set in stone. Your strategy should be up for re-evaluation and revision to match with the changing conditions throughout the years. You could start by:

Step 1: Determining your current financial situation

What is your current financial situation? This refers to your income, savings, expenses, debts and loans. If you are unsure, ask your parents – they’ll be sure to help! It’s good to have these information written out.

Step 2: Deciding on your financial goals

What do you wish to accomplish or own? It goes beyond saving money for that big-item purchase. Talk to your family or partner to get their advice. Ultimately, only you can decide on your goals and differentiate between your needs and wants.

Step 3: Identifying possible courses of action and alternatives

How can you achieve your goals? Here is where you become well-versed with different strategies. You could evaluate the benefits and risks of various solutions, and even get some answers from the Internet.

Step 4: Implement your financial action plan

When can you start? It’s time for you to select, plan and take action. Consult your financial advisor as they could speed up the process and help you make better decisions too.


If all these seem overwhelming, that’s because it is. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world, cus’ it actually takes plenty of time, effort and commitment – but it’s all for a better future.

In order to get a head-start on the financial planning process, here are some tried-and-tested strategies that others have used. Some of these points have already been touched on in our other posts, but hey – that just reiterates the importance of it, huh?

Set up a budget

Aha, if you’re wondering what this means, head on over to our ‘5 Budgeting Tips’ article. In this day and age, people still underestimate the impact of this strategy. You’ll be better equipped to cut down on unnecessary expenditure and direct your resources to where you want it to go, when you understand your cash flow.

Segregate your expenses into 3 categories: non-negotiables (eg. taxes, debt payments), important (eg. groceries and bills) and discretionary (eg. entertainment, shopping). You’ll be able to better prioritise – helping you achieve your financial goals!

You could even download free applications such as SeedlyPocket Expense and Expensify to help track your cash flow with ease. You’ll be surprised at how much you spend on unnecessary items! And yes, that refers to that pair of jeans adding on to your collection.

Create an emergency savings fund

As we’ve discussed in our ‘Save Money with 5 Simple Steps’ article, life is unexpected and anything can happen. It’s always good to be kiasu and start saving for that rainy day that could happen at any time (touch wood).

Separate your savings and spendings accounts

As mentioned by Kenneth Lou of Seedly during our Official Launch Party, it’s always good to separate your savings and spendings. You’ll be able to use every single cent of your spendings account, but never from your savings.

Easier said than done, but you could always automate the channelling of your finances into these 2 accounts by setting up a GIRO account. Let the bank do the hard work, while you watch your money grow! Thank you, compound interest.

You should aim to allocate less than half of your monthly salary to your spending account for all fixed and variable expenses (eg. bills, food, and entertainment), and the remaining amount towards your savings and investments. If you’d like to take it up a notch, set aside a small fixed percentage of your salary to invest – and work on making it grow from there.

Get insurance for yourself and your loved ones

As much as we’d like to be – nobody is invincible on this earth. So, if anything happens (touch wood, again), at least you’ll have insurance as a safety net, or a form of financial protection for you and your loved ones.

Get yourself a trusted insurance agent to help you with the purchase to avoid falling into the pitfalls and deathtraps of greedy money-sucking institutions. Or even suspicious ‘friends’ who are suddenly invested in your life and want to treat you to coffee, upon graduation.

Read financial websites

Get acquainted with websites such as Seedly and DollarsAndSense and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Yes, even those chat-bots on websites can be quite useful. Educate yourself to become financially literate, so as to be able to make better decisions as well.

Whether you’re a hustling millennial working hard to attain your dreams, or just plain sian about adulting – look for a trusted financial advisor. They should able to help you understand and work out the nitty-gritty details of good financial planning.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going! The earlier you start on financial planning, the faster you’ll be able to meet your goals and achieve your dreams. Go ahead, it’s time to turn those dreams into a reality.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Personal Accident Plan: Should You Buy Standalone Or As A Rider?

fundMyLife examines the difference between personal accident plan and personal accident riders

Personal accident plans help you and your family in the case when you experience injuries, deaths, and disabilities. There are several factors to consider when buying a personal accident plans, which we briefly discussed in the past. You can buy personal accident plans in several ways. Firstly, you can buy them as a standalone plan. Personal accident riders, on the other hand, are complementary plans that you add onto your existing plans to enhance your plan coverage. The question is -should you buy standalone personal accident plans or personal accident riders to your other existing plans? In this article, fundMyLife lists various considerations to make when deciding which to buy.

Range of products

If you choose to buy standalone personal accident plans, there is a great variety out there.  Besides the mainstream life insurance companies you can buy from, e.g., Great Eastern, Prudential, AIA, you have the option of getting standalone plans from companies that you would not immediately think of. Specialized general insurance companies like MSIG, Chubb, AIG, and Etiqa come to mind. Banks also work with mainstream insurance companies, so the product offering is similar. For example, DBS with Manulife, UOB with Prudential, etc.

You’ll also have the choice of purchasing these plans online. Online-first companies like FWD allow you to purchase standalone personal accident plans from their website. On the other hand, riders are, well, riders and require you to have an existing main insurance plan to ride on. The implication is that the rider is limited to whichever main plan that you purchased.

Speed of claims

While buying standalone plans gives you a larger range of companies, it is also important to consider the speed of processing claims. How fast your claim processes makes a whole world of difference, bringing you peace of mind if it is fast and never-ending anxiety of it is slow.

Our research indicated that it takes generally a longer time to claim from general insurance companies than the mainstream ones. More specifically, it takes, on average, 14-21 days and 10 days for payouts for general insurance companies and mainstream insurance companies respectively. The reason for difference in speed might be due to having a personal financial adviser servicing your claims vs financial service representatives from companies.

It’s tangential, but an equally important consideration when you are deciding between standalone personal accident plans and personal accident riders.

Price

Rather than paying outright for a new plan, there is the option of adding riders onto your hospitalization or medical insurance. As such, riders are relatively cheaper since these are meant to complement the main plan you purchase. However, personal accident riders have lower claims payout and have more restrictions in general. You will have to check the fine print to see what you are and are not covered.

Flexibility and convenience

When you get a new personal accident plan, or any plan for that matter, you are usually subjected to medical underwriting. Don’t take our word for it – we used “usually” because it really depends on the insurance company.

Another consideration is flexibility. Riders will continue as long as you maintain your main policy. As such, if you choose to surrender your main policy, you will have to give up your rider benefits as well. It is like losing two things at one time. However, with a standalone plan, you keep things separate, allowing you more options in adjusting your portfolio.

Conclusion

After our discussion, the question is: which is better? At the risk of sounding like a cop-out, the answer is…it really depends. You have to consider your budget, lifestyle, and other existing plans that you have. While you can use calculators on comparison sites to figure out what you need, nothing beats good old-fashioned financial advisers. And we just happen to have a curated pool of credible and incredible advisers.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

4 Ways To Spot An Investment Scam

Tell-tale signs of an investment scam

Written by Daniel Tay, edited by Jackie Tan. 

Anyone who ventures into investing will definitely come across an investment scam at some point. But how do you know if an investment is a scam? There is no way of actually confirming whether something is an investment scam or not. The only way to know for sure is when it finally falls through. But by then, it’s too late. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that the investment opportunity you encounter might actually be an investment scam:

#1 Extraordinarily high and consistent returns

In investing, there are two emotions that dominate – fear and greed. Investment scams prey upon both these emotions. They offer extraordinarily high returns to entice the greedy, and limit the opportunity to tempt those who fear missing out.

Beware of any scheme offering returns such as 2% a month. Anything above 12-15% a year bears a serious looking into, especially if it promises that amount every year. To attract you to these high returns, a common sales pitch describes how inflation is eating up all your money, and how the returns from traditional investments aren’t high enough.

#2 No concrete proof of where the money comes and goes

Find out where the money is being invested and where the returns come from. As a rule of thumb, 12-15% p.a. returns can consistently be generated from stock markets only in good years. Anything higher than that, and you’d have to ask how they do it, and why they’re asking you, a relatively small-time investor, instead of a bank or an institutional investor, for money.

Even if they can tell you where the money comes from, it does not mean that is where they are putting the money. For example, there is a company which conducts regular tours for its investors to a third-world country. They show the investors a fenced-off area, guarded by purported military, which is where property is supposed to be developed.

But it’s very easy to just hire a few locals, give them military uniforms and weapons to pretend to guard the place.

#3 You can smell the greed

Often, you are invited to a preview or seminar where you’re given details of the investment. Present in the audience are existing investors of the scheme. They are often called upon to testify that the scheme works for them.

Sometimes these investors receive a cut for referring new investors into the scheme. If you’re observant enough, you can smell the greed in the air. Turn around and walk away as fast as you can!

#4 The company involved is in the MAS Investor Alert List

Often, the scam company will claim that it is regulated or approved by MAS in order to fool you into thinking that they are legitimate. To counter this, MAS maintains an Investor Alert List that lists unregulated persons who “may be wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorized by MAS”. In other words, the list contains companies and people who claim that they are MAS-approved, but are actually not.

If the company you want to invest with is on this list, don’t do it. There’s a good bet that it’s a real risk of a scam.

Check, check, check

Before committing to any form of investment, always do your research. It helps to check the background of the company owner and do an online search of the company. Even stocks of suspicious companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange can be suspended, so don’t be careless in checking!

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Singapore Scams Discussion Facebook group is a good place to discuss scam-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Personal Accidents During Travel

Personal accidents during travel

Exploring the world is a wonderful thing. New sights, new sounds…but also new dangers. You might experience injuries, or even worse, die. Touch wood, touch wood. However, that’s where your insurance plans come in to provide that peace of mind be it for yourself or your family. In this article, fundMyLife lists the things to know about personal accidents during travel and plans that cover them.

#1 Call your adviser when things get bad

When things go south, you should call your financial advisers to see what options you have, assuming you purchased a travel insurance/personal accident plan from him or her. If you bought travel insurance directly from the insurance company, there should be an international 24/7 hotline for you to call. The reason for that is to ascertain what you can and cannot do in an emergency. For example, some plans have emergency evacuation covers that you can claim if you ever need to be flown.

Getting into a personal accident during travel is stressful and understandably you want to seek treatment ASAP. However, knowing what claimable treatment options you have will mean a difference between a peace of mind or an unexpectedly expensive trip. Haven’t found a trustworthy financial adviser? We gotchu fam.

#2 Document, document, document

If you ever get into an accident overseas, don’t forget to document everything. As the number of fraudulent claims increase over the years, it is increasingly important to prove that your accident happened. From medical reports to pictures of the scene of accident, it makes sense to keep as much evidence as you can. While you might in distress and/or pain, it pays to take the extra effort and willpower to make sure you have black and white down. You wouldn’t want your case to be thrown out from a lack of documentation or proof.

#3 Evacuations

Evacuations occur when there are no medical facilities in your current location that can provide the required treatment. You will then be transported to the nearest place where you can seek treatment. The nature of evacuations differ depending on your location, and consequently cost differently as well. For example, if you’re stuck in the mountains, a helicopter will fly you out. However, take note that the doctor in charge decides whether you get evacuation, and requires the agreement of the insurance company. In addition to evacuation, there is also repatriation where you return home to receive treatment.

How much does it cost? Evacuations can be surprisingly expensive, as it requires accompanying doctors, nurses, medical equipment and supplies, etc. According to a harrowing account of a family whose father experienced a heart attack while holidaying in Japan, the bill amounted to $250,000. As such, make sure you have enough cover for emergency evacuations and repatriation. On another note, make sure you purchase plans that covers preexisting conditions if you have preexisting conditions. In the case of the father with heart attack, his travel insurance did not cover anything as he had a pre-existing heart condition.

#4 Exclusions

As with all plans, there are exclusions as well. Firstly, there are exclusions in several countries that have high risks of danger. If you experience personal accidents during travel in those regions, you will not get any payout. Those countries have relatively higher risks of war/terrorism, e.g., Afghanistan, Iran, etc.

That said, it does not mean that you’re in danger wherever you are in the country. After all, parts of these countries are inherently much safer than other parts. For example, you would visit Herat but not, say, Taliban-infested Kabul. However, you will have to purchase insurance that provides war and terrorism cover in those areas which mainstream insurance companies normally exclude.

Secondly, plans have exclusions for relatively dangerous activities which are mentioned in the fine print. For example, travel plans do not usually cover activities such as bungee jumping, hiking or trekking above 3500m above sea level,  diving deeper than 30m. If you intend to take part in such dangerous activities, it is important to buy insurance that specifically covers them.

Have a safe and fun trip!

Be careful during your travels! Safety should always come first. That said, it is always good to know the important details if personal accidents during travel ever happen nonetheless. If you want a reliable financial advisers to be there for you when you experience personal accidents during travel, head on to our main site and ask our credible and incredible pool of financial advisers!

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

The New Rider Co-payment: Is It That Bad?

fundMyLife discusses the new rider co-payment

In the past, patients with Integrated Shield Plan riders had their hospital bills completely paid for. However, this will soon be a thing of a past. Under the new rules announced on the 8th of March 2018, riders for Integrated Shield Plans will no longer cover the entire bill. Under the rider co-payment rule, you have to pay at least 5% of the hospital bill, at a maximum of $3,000/year.

Wait, but why?

In the past, we wrote on why this phenomenon happened, and observed that cost for services increase drastically when insurance is involved. According to Ministry of Health, the average bill of someone with a rider is around 60% higher than someone without. Patients with riders tend to seek treatment in private hospitals as well, which results in the difference in average.

In addition, the asymmetry of information for medical bills allowed hospitals to charge high prices for procedures. The first response to the increasing bills was introducing the medical fee benchmark to be implemented in second half of 2018, and this forms the second major response by MOH.

What does that have to do with you, you might ask? Premiums for Integrated Shield Plans increased over the years, with higher increases affecting older policyholders and those with private hospital plans. This is bad because if the increase in premiums continue, these people won’t be able to afford the premiums later in their lives. At the risk of being reductionist, the sequence of events goes like this:

  1. High expenditure due to riders
  2. Healthcare decides to charge more – insurance companies are paying, anyways
  3. Insurance company faces loss
  4. Insurance company charges higher premiums

Inappropriate levels of health service usage lead to an overall larger healthcare expenditure. Future consumers suffer directly due to escalated premiums. All Singaporeans also suffer indirectly since healthcare expenditure affects taxes.

Financial advisers of fundMyLife share their opinion

Out of curiosity, we asked the financial advisers of fundMyLife on their opinion regarding the rider co-payment. Disclaimer: their opinions were either paraphrased for reading convenience or quoted verbatim.

Winifred Tan

Winifred believes that full coverage is the best. She sees why the Ministry of Health wanted to implement this due to rising claims and “free buffet” effect, and that there are too many people in hospitals trying to take advantage of insurance policies. However, she would rather they increase the premiums just like last year instead of co-payment.

Another point Winifred made was that it is better to, if you can afford it, buy the best of hospital plans. She shared that most people think that they won’t need it and buy cheaper riders in a bid to upgrade it in the future. However, unpredictable changes like this will happen and presumably throw people’s plans awry.

Jonathon Han, Prudential

I think people are missing the point here. The fact is that there is going to be a gradual shift from government supporting us with subsidies and schemes to a more self-reliant ecosystem whereby we pay for what we want.

There is no point crying over spilled milk and who we should blame for this episode. We shouldn’t expect a U-turn from either the insurance companies or the government for this matter.

My suggestions are objective and pragmatic:

Over few years as we progress towards an aging population, we need to scrutinize our own portfolio to see if we have enough savings. Be real with yourself you haven’t saved enough or build up enough passive income. Because with whatever changes that might happen during the coming years (I don’t think this is the end), only one thing is constant. We are going to need more money for medical and for our daily cost of living. Hence, it’s better we start our planning today.

Ryan Teo, AXA

Private medical bills are increasing about 10-15% per annum for the past few years, so it’s little surprise that this has caused insurers plenty of concern.

But from a patient’s perspective, if the patient knows there’s insurance coverage and when the doctor recommends diagnostic tests etc, we’re not really going to say no. The main priority in our minds is just to make sure everything is okay. The cost part is taken care of by the insurance.

However, with the co-payment change, will we think twice about costs of tests? I doubt so. Health is still a priority.

A a consumer, it’s frustrating to not get full coverage or if you haven’t utilized your shield and your premiums are escalating. But it’s understandable that over the longer term, co-payment is the way forward. In fact, I think we’ll all be moving towards co-payment in the long run. 

Melvin Liu, Manulife

Melvin shared that it was easier to downgrade a rider than to upgrade it as upgrading requires medical underwriting whereas the other way does not. He recommends that you buy a better plan first to have more options available to you. On doctors who benefit from charging higher fees dues to insurance, he opined that it is challenging to figure out whether it is true or otherwise, and that good ones do want to treat the patients in the best manner possible.

Melvin said that it is easy to talk about co-payment for riders when it involves outsiders. For insurance companies, it makes sense. However, he pondered whether one holds the same opinion if his/her loved ones are the ones in hospital. He also questioned if a consumer would prefer co-payment or pay as-charged.

He also thought that there should be more innovative solutions out there such as Prudential’s PruShield, where customers enjoy premium discounts when there are no claims made whereas there is premium adjustment after claims. However, while solutions such as this is in the right direction for pricing structure, first-time buyers may reconsider getting riders in consideration of the likelihood of needing to pay higher premiums after claims.

What do others think about the rider co-payment?

We also browsed the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook Group, where a lively discussion took place. Both sides offered compelling argument for and against the new ruling. Of the few posts that we surveyed, there were thought-provoking comments. For example, a commenter mentioned why a doctor would order extra tests on a patient.

One of the many comments in the group that discussed the new rule. Source: Insurance Discussion SG.
Another comment in the same group. Source: Insurance Discussion SG.

Both comments brought valid points to the table. That said, who should we blame in this who affair? There truly isn’t a sole party to blame – affordable and fair healthcare requires the cooperation of various stakeholders. Consumers, insurance companies, and healthcare providers are all in it to make healthcare accessible for everyone.

How will this change things for consumers?

As of the moment of publishing, there are currently no plans to require existing policyholders to co-pay their hospital bills. However, this could change since insurance companies will come up with more competitive and innovative plans to encourage existing policyholders to switch.

Is it the end of healthcare that we know it for future policyholders? Not necessarily so. Medisave can cover some of this co-payment, and the ministry estimates that 1 out of 2 rider policyholder will pay SGD$100 or less for hospital bills across all ward types. However, financial planning in the future will probably have to include planning for rider co-payment, since riders no longer offer full cover.

Worried about this new rider co-payment rule? Fret not – head on to our site to ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers on what your next move should be, if you have not purchased one.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Ask fML Advisers: What Are The Most Common Questions On Personal Accident Plans?

fundMyLife FAs talk about common questions on personal accident plans

[5 min read]

A personal accident plan is a plan that pays out when you are injured, resulting in either death or permanent/temporary disabilities. While it is seemingly simple, there are many considerations to keep in mind when deciding what plans to purchase. As such, there are plenty of questions on personal accident plans.

Where better to hear about these questions and get answers, other than asking financial adviser themselves? We ask the financial advisers of fundMyLife on what they are often asked when it comes to this plan. In this article, Roshan Belani from AIA, Winifred Tan, and Melvin Liu from Manulife share their thoughts on common questions on personal accident plans and their perspectives.

Roshan Belani, AIA

Roshan from AIA
Roshan Belani, AIA

Before I share the most common questions on personal accident plans that clients ask me, I would like to share a personal accident claims story of my own. I was in a team bonding trip in Desaru with my colleagues, and in one of the games I fell. The fall did not hurt me, but two colleagues landing on my foot did. A colleague sent me back to Singapore, where I sought treatment in Mount Elizabeth hospital.

I suffered a hairline fracture in my 4th metatarsal but I did not stay in a ward since I did not need to undergo surgery. In total, I paid around $3,000 for:

  1. MRI scans
  2. X-ray imaging
  3. Digital imaging
  4. Follow-up treatment
  5. Crutches

The Great Eastern Personal Accident Plan helped in defraying the treatment costs. I was out of action for 2-3 months, during which I had to was fortunate enough to have my colleagues’ help with my clients. In retrospect, I would have gotten a plan that provided a weekly payout during the period when I was unable to work. A plan with a weekly payout as a result of lost income would have helped with lifestyle maintenance.

“Is my accident plan on an annual basis or per accident basis?”

This is a question that clients often ask, that whether the accident plan they purchase is on an annual basis or per accident basis. The Great Eastern plan I was on when I was injured in the team bonding exercise had a $10,000/year cover. In contrast, the personal accident plan in AIA has a $4,000/accident cover. As such, the question might arise on which plan is better than the other.

Neither are better than the other – it just depends on your own injury patterns. Ideally, you should have both as these two forms of personal accident plans as these two kinds complement each other. A per-annual basis plan helps to cover what a per-accident basis plan cannot. After all, personal accident plans are generally affordable and are designed to not hurt your budget. However, if you have to choose between either, you have to decide whether you’re clumsy or accident-prone. It would be more beneficial if you anticipate frequent injuries.

Winifred Tan

Winifred Tan, Great Eastern
Winifred Tan

“What’s the coverage like?”

Most people have the impression that personal accident plans are for serious things like car crashes or loss of certain body parts, etc. However, it also covers for temporary injuries like sprains and cuts.

“Does it cover medical expenses?”

Yes, even for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chiropractor for some policies under Great Eastern.

“Does it cover dengue and zika?”

Yes, for Great Eastern’s case.

“What kind of accidents are considered accidents?”

Anything that is external, violent, and visible means and are not self-inflicted.

“What are the common exclusions?”

Personal accident plans typically exclude jobs such as sports coaching, military, professional motorcycling. Why? It’s because they take on higher risks! Accident plans are not to be take for granted. It requires you to take precautions as well before going ahead with dangerous activities.

“How long does it take to claim?”

2-3 weeks, if everything – documents in general – is furnished in order for claims.

“What is the claim period from the date of accident?”

Within 90 days after the accident, and normally we allow follow-up claims up to 365 days form the accident.

Melvin Liu, Manulife

Melvin Liu's picture
Melvin Liu, Manulife

“Is personal accident plan the same as life insurance, etc?”

There are two groups of people when it comes to personal accident plans. The first are people who know what they want and why they are getting this plan. The second group of people are relatively more clueless, and confuse personal accident plans with other plans. Personal accident plans are useful because they complement other insurance plans for out-patient treatment and consultation.

“Is it useful to renew the personal accident plan?”

People ask this because they need to renew the plan annually even though they did not claim anything. I would encourage them to do so, since the premiums are affordable and it is truly useful when they need to claim for something. Even I myself have a personal accident plan for my own daughter.

I notice that consumers often do not have questions about personal accident plans, and are receptive to whatever I share with them.

fundMyLife Summary

Roshan first recounted a story on how he got hurt, and how his personal accident plan helped. He also discussed the differences between plans that have an annual limit, and plans that have a limit per accident. Winifred shared common questions on personal accident plans that she encountered with consumers, and provided useful clarification for each of those questions. Finally, Melvin mentioned a common misconception that consumers often have – mistaking personal accident plans with other plans – and encouraged yearly renewal of the plan due to benefits.

In general, from our conversation with some of the advisers, we had an impression that consumers ask many questions on personal accident plans. In addition, they commented that consumers often reply on their company’s group accident plans and do not scrutinize the details unless they need to claim for something.

Actionables:

  1. For freelancers, consider getting a personal accident plan as it will immensely help you when you injure yourself.
  2. If you have a corporate group personal accident plan, read the fine print and see if you have adequate coverage.

If you’ve more questions on personal accident plans or any other insurance plans, head on to our main site and ask our curated pool of financial advisers! Alternatively, if you’d like to connect with either Roshan Belani from AIA, Winifred Tan, or Melvin Liu from Manulife, just click on the link in their names and you can ask them questions directly from their profile pages.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

5 Things to Consider Before Buying A Personal Accident Plan

Things to note before getting a personal accident plan

What is a personal accident plan?

As its name suggests, a personal accident plan helps immensely to cope with injuries, death, and disabilities – temporary or otherwise – that occur from accidents. Another advantage of personal accident plan is that it complements hospitalization plans. Sometimes, you get injuries bad enough to require treatment, but not bad enough to warrant hospitalization. If you’re not hospitalized, your hospitalization plan is not used. That’s where the personal accident plan comes in for the out-patient treatment and consultation.

Insurance companies define “accidents” as an unforeseeable event that causes injury immediately upon incidence, with violent motion and external means involved. Despite the standard definition of what an accident constitutes, personal accident plans come in variations, each containing unique features. As such, there are a few considerations to make when purchasing this particular plan. In this article, fundMyLife lists what you have to consider before getting them.

#1 Personal lifestyle

The lifestyle you lead affects the risk of you getting injured. For example, do you engage in sports? Chances are that you take part in some form of physical activity. And when the “physical” in physical activity gets too intense, you may end up injuring yourself. For example, a simple soccer game may end up a broken ankle of someone tackles you the wrong way. On the other end of the physical spectrum, we have non-contact sports like golf. Heck, even playing golf – one of the safest sports around – can also result in accidents such as getting hit by a golf club. If you lead a physically intense lifestyle, you might want to consider more coverage.

Important note: getting hit in the head during a game constitutes an accident, but suffering a golf elbow from prolonged swings does not qualify for a payout since it is not an accident that you got golf elbow.

#2 How you travel

Since it’s a point about travel, we decided to lump two (similar) things together:

  1. Overseas travel
  2. Mode of transport

If you’re going overseas, make sure you look through the fine print to see what you are and are not qualified for if you get into an accident overseas. If you also find yourself travelling often and/or for a long time, it is important to consider plans that have a cover period long enough for your travel duration. This is because some plans have a duration limit for overseas travel.

You should consider plans that suit your mode of transport in your daily travel. Motorcycles, cycling, and personal mobility devices are riskier than, say, driving a car or taking a public transport (train breakdowns notwithstanding). There are specific plans out there that cover riders and passengers.

#3 Who you are truly buying it for

While the ‘personal’ in personal accident plan implies that it’s just for yourself, as mentioned the plan helps with lost income during recovery. In the worst case scenario, where you die from the accident, the lump sum payment will tide your family over (assuming you’ve dependents). As such, it’s important to factor in the amount and current standard of living when deciding coverage amount.

Some plans also allow you to purchase family plans. If you have a family, you should consider getting a personal accident plan that can cover your children since children can get into accidents quite easily. There are personal accident plans that come with discounted premiums for your children.

#4 Type of occupation

Due to the nature of work and location, your occupation carries a certain level of risk. Even if you work in an office where everything is presumably safe, you still can get into an accident. However, not all occupations are the same. Insurance companies’ plans have their respective classifications, but these classifications follow very similar guidelines. In general, there are four categories of occupations:

  1. [Low risk] Persons in clerical and administrative jobs. Example: clerks, office staff, authors, doctors, teachers, students.
  2. [Medium risk] Persons in skilled or semi-skilled non-hazardous work and administrative work in an industrial setting. Also includes supervisory jobs of manual skilled work. Example: foreman, hairstylists, photographers, waitstaff, lab workers.
  3. [High risk] Persons engaged in jobs that requires heavy machines, manual labor, and/or exposure to hazard. Example: carpenter, technicians, mechanics, chefs.
  4. [Very high risk] Persons engaged in jobs with heavy manual labor and highly hazardous conditions. Example: firefighters, police, woodworkers, armed security staff.

Bear in mind that our list is not exhaustive, but it means to give you a rough idea of the occupational categories. As such, bear in mind that your occupation will affect your premiums. In general, the riskier the job the higher the premiums. Some plans even have exclusions for occupations in the fourth category.

Bonus fact: Personal accident plans do not cover repetitive motion injury due to, well, repetitive motion in the office. In addition, getting a bad back due to poor seating ergonomics is not covered either so get a good chair!

#5 Person servicing the personal accident plan

A good claims experience makes a huge difference. It is between feeling a hole in your pocket for a long time in uncertainty, or stepping out of the doctor’s office confident that you don’t have to worry about money. As such, it is important to find a good financial services representative who can handle your claims when the time comes (hopefully never). However, given how low the premiums are, sometimes insurance company representatives relationship managers, or even your own financial advisers can be quite unmotivated to service you if their heart is not in the right place.

Hence, it is crucial to find someone trust who has your back whenever and wherever you are. You should consider engaging someone from a pool of highly curated financial advisers.

Conclusion

That’s all folks. We hope the article helped in shedding light on factors to consider when buying a personal accident plan. It takes only one accident to burn a hole in your wallet so be prepared always!

Still confused? If you have any burning questions to ask about financial planning, head on to our main site and ask our credible and incredible pool of financial advisers!

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.