Do you have a 'dangerous' job? Here are the insurance plans you need

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The words ‘dangerous job’ and Singapore seem to go together like oil and water.

Not only is it one of the safest cities in the world, but the stereotypical image of a Singaporean worker is undoubtedly that of a white-collar executive sitting behind a desk in an air-conditioned office. 

Their number one occupational hazard? Papercuts and carpal tunnel.

But there are ‘dangerous jobs’ out there — common ones, people you interact with every day that you probably don’t think of.

Your car mechanic. The nurse at the hospital. The electrician that comes to your HDB. The person who repairs your air-con. The hawker who serves you chicken rice.

Don’t think these jobs are actually ‘dangerous’? Understandable. But many insurers feel differently.

How ‘occupational loading’ turns your premiums into a heavy load

Occupational loading refers to the insurance practice of charging higher premiums for certain occupational classes — most commonly found in personal accident insurance.

For instance, here is something we pulled out from a personal accident product brochure from an insurance company (that shall remain nameless).

It defines a specific occupational class as ‘persons engaged in occupations requiring manual labour or heavy machinery or exposure to certain hazardous conditions’.

A few examples include chefs, caterers, vets, paramedics, plumbers, painters, construction foremen, cleaners, couriers, factory workers, and bartenders. And this doesn’t include the previous examples.

This is a double whammy for such workers, who are often not highly paid to begin with. Now, they have to deal with higher premiums on top of that.

Can you fully rely on workplace insurance?

If occupational loading makes your insurance premiums unbearable, perhaps you can rely on workplace insurance.

It is mandatory under the Work Injury Compensation Act, and employers must purchase the necessary coverage.

But it is often not enough. Consider that:

  • Independent contractors and the self-employed are not covered, which includes many of the occupations listed above like hawkers, electricians, and plumbers
  • Medical expenses coverage is limited to $45,000 per year

You can see how this can easily lead to a protection gap for many of such workers.

This makes getting additional coverage — in particular, personal accident, medical, and life insurance — of paramount importance.

ALSO READ: 6 situations you never knew personal accident insurance plans cover

The simple and obvious solution that makes you go “duh!”

The solution for such workers sounds deceptively simple: just get the insurance that gives you the coverage you need, but also doesn’t have occupational loading (premiums stay the same regardless of occupation).

Easier said than done. But that’s what SingSaver is here for — to highlight the insurance plans that suit you and your unique circumstances the best.

In the following sections, we will highlight a few personal accident, medical, and life insurance plans that we think would be a good fit if you fall into one of these occupations.

Personal accident insurance for those in ‘dangerous jobs’

Good news: not all insurers impose occupational loading. While we keep the identities of those who do private, we will gladly share those that don’t.

Here’s a few to note:

Insurance plan Who should take it up Key features for risky workers Premium
FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease Coverage         Those focused on maximum “value for money” Under this highly affordable plan, you could boost your existing medical expenses coverage by up to $2,000 per year. And that’s not even including coverage for physiotherapy ($1,000), mobility aids ($500), and daily hospital income (up to $100/day). Starts at $98/year
Great Eastern Great Protector Active Those who want more comprehensive coverage Under this plan, you can increase your medical expenses coverage by up to $7,500 per accident (with Benefit Booster), with a total permanent disability coverage of up to $4.5 million (with Benefit Booster).The premium for this plan is much higher compared to FWD, but they remain the same regardless of occupation. Starts from $320/year

*Note that this list is non-exhaustive

Boosting medical insurance coverage

Singaporeans and PRs are automatically covered by the basic CPF-administered MediShield Life. But many opt to add on a private insurance component to strengthen coverage, especially if they prefer private hospital treatment.

For those in higher-risk jobs — which often rely on manual physical skills — this higher quality of care could mean the difference between being able to return to work after any unfortunate incidents.

Depending on the Shield plan of choice, you might also enjoy some measure of coverages beyond the ward stay. 

Here are a few considerations.

Insurance plan Who should take it up Key features for risky workers Premium (payable by Medisave)
Prudential PruShield Plus (Class ‘A’ Ward and below in a restructured hospital) The budget conscious The nature of the higher-risk professions means that cashflow can be sporadic: keeping premiums under control is crucial. Prudential’s plan offers one of the best values on the market, with annual limits of up to $600,000. On top of that, there are also optional riders that will cover up to 95per cent of your deductible. Starts at $71/year (for the age band of 21-30))
Great Eastern Great SupremeHealth Plus (Private Hospital Plan)   Those who’d like to recuperate in comfort This is a fantastic policy for those inclined toward private hospital coverage. There are multiple tiers, and except for the most basic tier, has annual limits starting at S$500,000, all the way up to S$1,500,000. It also has unique benefits such as occupational therapy. For the coverage provided, it offers great value for money. Starts at $228/year for the basic plan (for the age band of 21-30)
Aviva MyShield Those who want protection for their whole family While this plan is on the upper end of the price spectrum, it is ideal for those who don’t mind paying more to ensure their whole family is adequately covered.It offers free cover for newborns up to 6 months old and discounted premiums thereafter until age 20.Despite its high price, its benefits are hard to beat. The plan offers up to S$2 million in coverage per year, as well as extensive pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage. From S$232/year

*Note that this list is non-exhaustive

Protecting your family with life insurance

Many of these higher-risk jobs are of the self-employed/contractor variety, which can place a financial strain on your family should anything tragic happen. Basic term life insurance is thus a necessary addition to help protect your dependents.

Three plans to look at are:

Insurance plan Who should take it up Key features for risky workers Premium
Aviva MyProtector Term Plan For those looking for the balance between coverage and cost This is one of the most affordable plans on the market and can thus be an easy addition for those looking for term life coverage. Coverage term is flexible: choose 5 or 10 years up to age 85, and you can even opt to convert it to a whole life plan down the line without further medical underwriting. Total sum assured of S$1.5 million. From S$143/ month
AXA Term Protector Prime For the highly budget conscious With a sum assured starting as low as $100,000, this is a great plan for those who want some life insurance coverage but with as little premiums as possible.Coverage terms are flexible, and as you go along, you can opt to convert your policy into something more appropriate for your circumstances.There are also additional riders you can purchase for critical illnesses and advance payouts. The latter may be particularly useful as it will allow your family to receive funds in advance. From S$274/year
FWD Term Life  Younger cost-conscious people With this plan, as long as you’re under 50, you can get up to S$1.5 million of coverage without needing medical checkup.It is also highly flexible both in terms of price and policy term. However, premiums stay the same throughout the policy term, which allows you to better plan your cash flow. From S$365/year

*Note that this list is non-exhaustive

This article was first published in SingSaver.com.sg.