Insurance for Women – what are your specific coverage needs?
If you don’t have time to read through the whole article, you can check out our short version below.
- Insurance is not one-size-fits-all.
- Women have insurance coverage needs which can be addressed by specific types of insurance (i.e. female-related dread disease, maternity insurance)
- There is a need to address your insurance needs holistically according to your life stage and financial situation.
Insurance needs are never the same for everyone, as it depends on your objectives for purchasing a policy, your age and even the life stage you are in. Similarly, there are certain illnesses that a woman is more prone to compared to her male counterparts which indicates the need for a different approach towards insurance.
According to the Singapore Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore. 1 in 13 women get breast cancer in their lifetime and every year, over 1,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, with over 400 dying from the disease. A cancer trend report by the Singapore Cancer registry showed that between 2014 and 2018, women accounted for 51.4% of the total cancer cases compared to a lower incidence in men.
Critical Illness (CI) Insurance for women
CI insurance provides a lump sum payout when the insured is diagnosed with a CI covered in the policy. With this higher incidence of cancer occurrence in women, one can consider taking up a critical illness plan specifically to target this.
When a person is struck by a CI, there may be a need to stop working, hire external help or receive expensive medical treatments regularly. Besides the stress of no income, there will also be ongoing expenses to be taken care of such as mortgage payments, family expenses and so on. This is where the lump sum payout from a CI insurance can provide some financial aid.
While conventional CI insurance provides coverage for severe or late stages of CIs, there are now early CI plans that provide coverage for early detection.
For instance, the CancerCare plan from DBS covers all stages of cancer up to age 75. The insured will receive a cancer benefit of up to S$150,000 with the diagnosis of any stage of cancer, including early stage cancer.
If you are considering a CI plan specifically targeting female diseases, you may look at policies that provide certain “perks”, such as complimentary medical check-ups at regular intervals or premium waiver upon diagnosis of the covered medical conditions.
Do I need maternity insurance?
With Singaporean women getting married later and subsequently giving birth later, more attention needs to be given to the risks that come with a late pregnancy. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, the age group with the highest number giving birth each year is the 30-34 years old group, while the birth rate for those below 30 years old is declining.
Women can consider purchasing maternity insurance when they are pregnant to manage the higher risk of complications that come with a late pregnancy. Mothers above age 40 face a one-in-100 chance of a Down syndrome baby, one-third odds of a miscarriage and a two-fold risk of stillbirth.
But before you purchase a maternity insurance, it’d be helpful to understand exactly what it covers.
The main purpose of getting a maternity insurance is to provide coverage for pregnancy complications and congenital illness for the newborn baby. They are usually available as a single premium plan and can be useful to help parents offset additional medical costs arising from the pregnancy complications.
The maternity insurance usually issues a lump sum payout if the mother is diagnosed with any of the pregnancy complication or if the child is diagnosed with any of the congenital illnesses. Additionally, it also provides hospital care benefits as a result of hospitalisation during the pregnancy and delivery period.
Expecting mothers can purchase maternity insurance from as early as 13 weeks of the pregnancy for most plans in the market. It is advisable to get the insurance as early as possible so that you enjoy a longer coverage for the same premiums.
Some insurers only provide maternity insurance as a bundle with other life insurance policies so that they can be transferred to the child when he or she is born. Do consider your needs and budget when looking for a suitable plan.
One advantage of maternity insurance is that there is guaranteed insurability for your child. For instance, if a child is born with birth defects or a health condition without prior coverage, he or she may be denied coverage from other insurers.
On the other hand, maternity insurance does not provide coverage for hospitalisation charges. Normal pregnancy-related charges such as pre-delivery consultations, delivery expenses and hospital charges can instead be partially-covered by Medisave. For pregnancy-related complications, MediShield Life will cover inpatient treatments for serious pregnancy and delivery-related complications, such as eclampsia, cervical incompetency and postpartum haemorrhage, under the existing inpatient claim limits.
Insurance for your child
Many new mothers are also keen to find out about the types of insurance they can consider for their child. Since life insurance is typically for income replacement, it is not really a priority, although some argue that buying a life insurance plan at a young age has its advantages. It guarantees insurability since a younger person is likely to be free from pre-existing conditions and can also save money in the long term if the insurance is a limited pay insurance whereas coverage is for life.
If your child is a Singaporean, he or she will fortunately be automatically enrolled into the MediShield Life plan. MediShield Life provides basic health and surgery coverage sized for subsidised treatment in public hospitals and pegged at B2/C-type wards. You can of course, take up a private integrated Shield plan for your child, if you prefer a higher standard of healthcare.
A personal accident plan can come in handy for children since toddlers or older kids tend to get into minor accidents. Most parents will likely bring their children to the Accident & Emergency Department following any serious bumps or falls, and paediatric doctors may also err on the side of safety to advise hospitalisation for further observation.
Personal accident plans such as the MultiGen Protect from DBS is relatively affordable at $13.41 per month for a classic plan and even covers hospitalisation due to dengue, Chicken Pox or Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD), a common childhood disease. Having the appropriate coverage while your child is ill can help alleviate any financial anxiety while allowing parents to focus on tending to the needs of an injured or sick child.
Education Endowment Plan - planning for your child’s future
The cost of tertiary education is increasing every year and it’s always good to plan for your child’s future. Some parents may consider getting an endowment plan to save up for their kid’s education so that their child will not be burdened with debt upon graduation.
An endowment plan can help you grow your savings with fixed returns, especially during a low-interest rate environment. It allows you to choose the payout age so that it matches with your child’s educational milestones. Plans such as ManuEdu First allow you to pay premiums for the first 10 years, then receive at least 100% of your total premiums paid upon maturity, plus additional fixed cash benefits.
The above examines some of the specific coverage needs for women, but you’d still need to address your insurance coverage holistically according to your life stage and financial situation. If you are married, you might want to consider insurance planning as a family, such that the insurance needs of your child is shared with your husband. More importantly, do ensure that you and your child will continue to have the same lifestyle should anything unfortunate happen to your other half.
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