If you’ve been involved in a cycling accident are unable to work as a result of your injuries, you may start questioning how you will provide for the future. Did you know that simply being a member of a superannuation fund can entitle you to disability insurance? Many people are unaware that they have this kind of insurance, which covers you if you are too ill or injured to work, or even upon your death.
Just like you insure a bicycle, house or car, you can insure yourself with death, income protection and/or total and permanent disablement insurance so you're covered if something unforeseen happens.
This insurance is contained in most superannuation policies, unless you have specifically "opted out", but it is often hidden in the fine print.
The devil’s in the detail
Unfortunately fine print can have some tricky clauses that might prevent you from accessing your insurance benefits. We see lots of cases where people are paying premiums out of their superannuation retirement savings for many years and when it comes to the crunch they are told by insurers that they cannot access insurance due to a technicality.
So while terms and conditions between insurers vary, here are some of the common things you need to look for which might impact whether you are covered in your time of need:
- If your employer contributions cease, so if you resign from employment or are on a period of unpaid leave (such as maternity leave), even if insurance premiums are still being paid by you;
- If your superannuation balance dips below a certain amount;
- If you access benefits from another source, such as workers' compensation;
- If you return to some form of work, even if it is in a reduced capacity or a different role;
- If you have pre-existing illnesses or injuries;
- Self-inflicted injuries or extreme sporting injuries;
- Waiting periods usually apply;
- If you didn't see a doctor for treatment at the time you went off work;
- If your job is defined as a 'hazardous' occupation by the insurer (this can arguably be something like a security guard or loader operator); and
- If your policy has changed. Some insurers will even backdate changes to the scope of policies.
Check your policy
When you are unable to work due to illness or injury you should check all of your insurance policies, not just superannuation. Other policies with benefits that may have hidden cover include mortgage insurance, life and travel insurance.
Income protection insurance will pay a certain percentage of your wage up to a certain period of time, or a fixed dollar amount.
Total and permanent disablement insurance is usually a lump sum which is paid if you are permanently unable to do your job or any other similar work you are experienced, trained or
Obtain advice early
Most cyclists are completely unaware of the existence of insurance lump sums and income support as part of their super membership. Super funds do not generally alert members, nor do employers. Most, if not all, funds have default insurance cover. The important thing is to obtain advice early and make a claim quickly as the processing of insurance claims can be lengthy. It’s important to know what cover you have and make sure you are eligible.
Did you know?
1. Your injury or illness doesn’t have to be work-related
A disability claim can be made because of a heart attack, cancer, mental illness, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or an injury suffered at home; in a car; or in a cycling accident
2. You can claim on multiple policies
If you are a member of more than one Fund, and depending on your policy it is usually possible to make two or more lump sum claims.
3. Income Protection (IP) Insurance can paid in monthly payments
IP can be paid in either a flat amount or 75% of your usual income and will cover you for:
• two years
• five years
• until aged 65, or
You can still access partial benefits even if you return to work.
Maurice Blackburn are the preferred legal supplier for Triathlon Queensland members. Want to find out more - click here
Maurice Blackburn | Phil Nolan