THE April holidays are here. In making travel arrangements, update your existing cover or take out cover if you don't already have insurance.

THE April holidays are here. In making travel arrangements, update your existing cover or take out cover if you don't already have insurance.

We don't like to think about accidents happening, but it is a reality that happens more often during holidays when travelling is frequent. Make sure that your cover is updated and that you are adequately insured.

Often, cheaper cover does not always match the relevant risks. And often, lower costs mean you have fewer benefits.

Read the fine print to know exactly what you're paying for. Although the cheapest option may be the most affordable initially, it may have a higher premium escalation rate that may become the more expensive option later on.

There is a conception that some insurers don't pay out because they have this underwriting at claims stage philosophy. At application, insurers who don't scrutinise the applicants thoroughly may only do their assessments at claims stage. So it is crucial that you disclose any illness or symptoms that you have on the application form. It is better to disclose the information and have your application rejected, than paying your premiums for years only to have your claim rejected when you need it most.

Most life insurers that market insurance through their advisers require applicants to undergo a medical examination following disclosure on the application form. Some people would be turned down for cover, or subjected to paying a little more as a result of certain conditions.

But at least the people who get cover after proper underwriting know that these companies will honour their commitments. This is not always true of certain insurers that may offer cheaper premiums, but that have a very low payout percentage.

The reason why you take out cover is to ensure that when accidents happen, you and your loved ones are taken care of.

It is important to sit with your financial adviser who can assess your needs and provide you with the cover that best suits those needs. The adviser can help you fill in the application form and explain why it is important to disclose symptoms or conditions even if you think that it is irrelevant.

Medical doctors have compiled the questions on application forms and there is a reason why certain questions are asked. Some symptoms may have an implication on other conditions that may be a deciding factor in the type of cover you need.

If necessary, the adviser can assist you in setting up a medical examination if this is required. Once your application is approved, the adviser will be able to explain if there are any exclusions that apply to your insurance so that you know exactly what you are covered for.

Once your application is approved and you need to claim, the adviser will be able to assist so that your claim can be processed promptly.

Remember, a holistic financial plan should include retirement savings so that you are not left destitute in your old age, disability cover when you are no longer able to earn an income, life cover to look after your loved ones when you are no longer able to provide for them financially, severe-illness cover when your medical aid does not cover the life changes as a result of a severe illness, a medical aid to cover hospital bills, treatment and medication and a will to ensure that your loved ones are getting what you wanted to give them after you are no longer there. It is advisable to also have an emergency fund for unexpected events.

lThe writer is risk actuarial manager at Old Mutual.