Sandhya is a typical working woman of today, with a full time career as an HR professional and a home to manage. Juggling between her two roles as a mother/homemaker and career woman, she was content to leave the management of the financial details of her life to her husband. This changed when she saw her close friend and colleague, Bhavna go through hospitalisation for a lump in her breast and the financial burden thereof. Bhavna had the company health plan to fall back on to pay most of the huge medical bills – but her savings went for a toss in settling the balance and for the expenses incurred during her recuperation period as she was on unpaid leave.
Sandhya realised that this could have been her. She too had only a company sponsored health plan and no insurance except for a lone life insurance policy for Rs.50,000. A major part of her salary went to pay a share of the EMI on their house; she had a 3 year old daughter and they had great plans for her education. So if she was off work for a few months, what would happen to their saving plan? God forbid, if she dies tomorrow, how would her husband on one salary make their dreams for their daughter come true?
Yes, her life was on track. They spent money carefully. They had already invested in their own house and had many investments. But what was missing was a safety net – some precautions against the uncertainties of life and a protection against financial setback.
Very few women think of their lives as insurable or what would happen if they were to fall prey to illhealth. It is mostly the husband who has life insurance as the assumption is that his salary is bigger and the one that will continue for a long time. Insurance is often viewed by them only as a tax saving instrument and not given its due as one of the biggest safeguards available which protects against financial loss due to illness and/or death.
As a working woman or the spouse of one, here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t go through what Bhavna did.
- An independent health or medical insurance. While both husband and wife may be covered by their company plans, an independent plan adds another layer of security. As you could both be in between jobs when a medical emergency strikes; or your employer may reduce cover in the light of increasing premiums and dwindling profits.
- Critical illness cover. Different from medical insurance, this cover provides financial assistance during the time one is incapacitated and unable to work after a medical illness, surgery or hospitalisation and hence unable to draw a salary. Depending on the insurance company you take the cover from, critical illness usually covers some 6-9 illnesses including a bypass surgery, renal failure, cancer, organ transplant, paralysis, stroke etc. This is available independently and also as a rider to a life insurance policy.
- Life insurance policy. As a rule, any individual, man or woman, should take an insurance policy as soon as they start working and have dependents. The one and only purpose of a life insurance policy is to substitute the income that an individual would have contributed, had he or she continued to live. A Life Insurance Policy replaces the income of the policyholder in the event of his or her death. With women contributing almost as much as their husbands to the family income, it is critical that their lives should be insured so that the goals of the family like children’s education, completion/clearing of the home loan and retirement can continue despite the unfortunate death of either spouse..
Insurance is for peace of mind. Have it and enjoy that peace.