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Take the safe route

Insurance helps you avoid the double whammy of accidents, which can not only lead to inhibitive treatment costs but also impact your income temporarily.

Print Edition: February 5, 2009

Language Of Disability
The following classification of disability is accepted by most insurers:
Permanent total disability: Permanent loss of the use of any two limbs, or permanent and complete loss of sight (both eyes), or injuries that render the insured incapable of earning an income, commensurate with his educational qualifications, training and experience, from the date of the accident.
Permanent partial disability: Permanent loss of any body part, one eye, one limb or one finger or a toe, or injuries that render the insured incapable of earning an income. While the loss may be permanent, its effects on the insured and on his life are partial.
Temporary total disability: Temporary loss in any form that may render a person immobile or affect his earning capacity from the time of the accident. This may be a fracture of the arm or leg. He may be mobile but not able to work.

Mishaps don't come with a warning, yet most people are complacent about taking precautions. Not only do accidents result in bodily injury, but can also leave you a financial wreck. However, few people bother to take insurance to protect themselves against the risk of accidents as well as the medical and financial complications that they entail. Even those who have bought adequate life and health insurance often do not have a contingency plan. Consequently, they are not prepared if an accident renders them temporarily or permanently disabled, or worse, seriously impairs their ability to earn a livelihood.

The impact of an accident, especially on your finances, is two-fold. On the one hand, your healthcare spending increases as you take the treatment. On the other hand, your income may be disrupted till you recuperate. It is under such circumstances that an accident insurance ensures that you and your family do not face a financial crunch. Your life and health insurance policies do not help you in case of an accident unless the life insurance plan has some accident benefit riders.

Fortunately, there are policies that provide you cover against such a risk. Insurers offer these with various features and at varying costs depending on the extent of the cover you want. Personal accident policies cover you for one or more of the four contingencies in the event of an accident: death, permanent total disability, permanent partial disability and temporary total disability.

Temporary total disability means that if you have a fracture and are advised bed rest for an indefinite period, the policy will compensate you with a weekly benefit for over a year, if you need it for such a long period. Usually, a Rs 10-lakh cover is available for an annual premium of Rs 1,500, or less, depending on the risk associated with your profession. For instance, a construction worker is likely to be exposed to a higher risk compared with a corporate executive, so he will have to pay a bigger premium. The important thing to remember is that an accident insurance is no longer an option that you can afford to overlook.

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