Times remain tough for ordinary South Africans and this is usually made worse by high levels of crime and lack of access to basic, but much-needed services. A high death rate among children means that parents and caregivers always need to be prepared for when there is an unexpected death.
The latest statistics, according to The Rapid Mortality Surveillance Report by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) , indicates that the number of deaths of children under the age of 5 was 15 965 in 2017. While losing a child is the last thing a parent wants to think about, it is always a good idea to have affairs in order.
African Unity Head of Distribution, Leroux Delport believes that families should be allowed the necessary time to grieve when a death occurs.
“Just as a parent would have funeral cover for themselves, it is vital that they extend this kind of cover to their children, as well. Planning a funeral for one’s child is not something that would ordinarily pop up in a parent’s mind. Yet, having peace of mind that you will be able to give your offspring a dignified send-off, in the eventuality of a sudden loss, is priceless. The benefits include avoiding unnecessary further trauma.”
It has become common for children to be living with grandparents or other family members, either because they have been orphaned or because parents work away on a permanent basis.
Delport explains, “This often brings up the question of whether they can be covered by their guardians. Generally, the term eligible children, refers to biological children, as well as those who have been legally adopted, fostered, and step children - which means that they qualify for funeral cover.”
He warns that with multiple changes to the insurance act, there are also new rules regarding funeral cover for children that have been identified.
“There’s a slight difference in funeral cover for children, in comparison to other products. Section 55 of the Long-Term Insurance Act states that the present maximum cover for children under six is R10,000, while cover for children 6 years and older has a maximum of R30, 000.”
Funeral cover for a child often comes to an end once adulthood is reached, however, this may vary within the insurance industry.
Delport breaks it down, “At African Unity, cover is up to the age of 20 so cover would go from age 14 to 20 or 14 to 25, should the dependent be a full-time student. After 25, they would go onto the principal member’s cover as an extended member or have to take out their own policy.”
African Unity’s funeral cover follows the most common benefit split. Children aged 14 to 20 get 100% of the main member cover. Children 6 to 13 receive 50% of the benefit while those under 6 get 25% (including stillborn babies).
Delport says that the best advice he can give to anyone considering taking out funeral cover, is to ensure that they are 100% clear on every aspect of the cover.
“Ask your broker the following questions. How many children can be covered? Are there limitations to the amount I can take out? What can I afford to pay? Does the funeral cover pay immediately or is there a waiting period? What if I miss a payment?” he concludes.