What is peripheral neuropathy and how can trauma insurance help?
Trauma insurance will pay a lump sum benefit of up to $2 million if you suffer a specified serious injury or illness. One of these illnesses is peripheral neuropathy, a nerve-disease that can impair movement, sensations, organ functioning and overall health.
A trauma insurance policy will pay out an agreed-upon lump sum if you are diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. This money can then be used for whatever you want, including health aids and carers to help you manage the illness, medical treatment costs, paying off debts or helping to support yourself and dependents. Most trauma insurance policies will cover up to 50 different medical conditions.
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Peripheral neuropathy: Causes, symptoms and treatments
Peripheral neuropathy is a disease of the nerves, which transmit movement and sensation from the brain throughout the body. It can strike suddenly and dramatically, or more slowly over time, and can even affect the nerves responsible for unconscious movements like breathing or heart beat. This makes it potentially very dangerous.
- Causes: Peripheral neuropathy is a known side effect of chemotherapy, exposure to toxins and a number of different diseases including diabetes and HIV. It can also occur as a result of vitamin deficiency, electric shock or adverse reactions to certain drugs. Sometimes it occurs without any known causes, or is present from birth in congenital illnesses.
- Symptoms: Peripheral neuropathy is associated with nerve damage. Its symptoms may take the form of twitching, numbness, itching, pain, pins and needles, cramping, weakness and fatigue.
- Treatments: Peripheral neuropathy is usually best treated through its underlying causes, with vitamin supplements, intravenous medication and a range of other pharmaceuticals being employed. Even if the underlying cause remains unidentified and the illness itself is not entirely treatable, symptoms like pain can be managed through various therapies and drugs.
It’s worth having cover in place for peripheral neuropathy as:
- It can strike suddenly, severely and without warning
- It can potentially result in permanent disability
- It is relatively common. Approximately 50% of diabetics suffer from peripheral neuropathy, and prevalence is on the rise.
What are the benefits of having Trauma Cover for Peripheral Neuropathy?
Trauma insurance can be purchased with life insurance or separately and will pay a lump-sum payment in the event the policyholder suffers an illness listed in the policy.
- Trauma insurance will pay out the full benefits in a lump sum upon diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. Depending on your policy and the premiums paid, this can be anywhere from $50,000 to $1.5 million, though some policies might pay less or more.
- Peripheral neuropathy cover is commonly found in trauma insurance policies, but not always. Most comprehensive policies will cover it, but basic ones are less likely to do so.
- Once you have claimed full trauma insurance benefits your policy will typically be “used up” and closed. The exception is if you have a “buy back” option with your trauma insurance, or if you only claimed partial benefits.
- Insurers will typically not pay benefits for peripheral neuropathy or any other condition if the policyholder dies within two weeks of being diagnosed.
- Some trauma insurance policies may require you to be unable to work or disabled to a specified level in order to claim benefits. A peripheral neuropathy diagnosis will usually meet these requirements, but may not.
How to choose the right trauma insurance policy
When comparing trauma insurance, looking for some factors in particular can help you discover a suitable policy.
- Conditions covered: Trauma insurance pays benefits for specific, pre-defined issues only. Your policy will not pay any benefits for peripheral neuropathy unless peripheral neuropathy is explicitly listed as one of the conditions covered.
- Policy lifespan: Some policies will expire or have their benefits downgraded after a set number of years or when you reach a certain age. Look for the policy expiry terms and conditions to ensure this won’t impact you too badly. This is one of the reasons it can be challenging to find the right insurance if you’re over 65.
- Waiting period: This is the amount of time you must wait before being able to claim benefits. In the case of trauma insurance this might, for example, be a two month period after taking out the policy. If your trauma insurance is bundled with income protection then you might have to qualify as clinically disabled for a period of time, such as two weeks, before being able to claim benefits.
- Sum insured: These are the maximum benefits available to you with trauma insurance. Peripheral neuropathy will usually let you claim the entire sum insured as a lump sum. You generally have some flexibility in choosing your own sum insured, but higher sums mean higher premiums.
- Exclusions: The exclusions are when the insurer won’t pay. Common trauma insurance exclusions are self-inflicted injuries or if you weren’t diagnosed by a registered medical professional. Some policies let you choose your own exclusions in return for lower premiums. One popular offer to watch out for is AIDS exclusion, which means no benefits for this or resulting diseases like peripheral neuropathy.
- Indexation: A trauma insurance policy that’s been indexed for inflation, or has automatic indexation, will increase in line with inflation, usually to a maximum of 5% per year. This is usually found as an optional extra.
Can you still get trauma insurance if you have peripheral neuropathy?
Yes, you are generally still able to purchase a new trauma insurance policy even if you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. This doesn’t mean it will pay out for a peripheral neuropathy diagnosis though.
- No benefits payable for pre-existing conditions. If you have already been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy then it is a pre-existing condition. Most trauma insurance policies will not cover pre-existing conditions at all.
- No benefits payable for related conditions. Peripheral neuropathy rarely occurs by itself. It is usually the result of other diseases or health issues. Even if you have not been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, it might still be excluded if it results from a pre-existing condition. For example, if you have previously been diagnosed with diabetes then that is a pre-existing condition. If you are later diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy resulting from diabetes, your insurer may decline to pay benefits because the neuropathy was a direct result of the diabetes.
- Reduced benefits for pre-existing or related conditions: Rather than losing cover for all pre-existing conditions, some policies may give you the option of retaining a limited level of cover. These will typically pay out a fraction of the usual benefits rather than the full lump sum for pre-existing and related conditions.
You are still able to get trauma insurance if you have peripheral neuropathy, but it will most likely not pay benefits for this pre-existing condition or related issues.