An infant's first cries herald the start of a new stage in someone else's life: Parenthood.
With that, it fills you with trepidation, exhilaration, joy and fear, among many other emotions.
As parents, one can't help but want to protect their children to the best of their abilities. While insurance is one of the best ways to lifeproof the clumsy little youngins, it's easy to get lost in the sea of insurance plans, no thanks to the variety available and sometimes difficult jargon.
We speak with several parents to find out what they believe are the four most important areas parents should consider when looking at insurance.
Health comes first
It was unanimous across the parents we interviewed that children would require health insurance, at the very least to cover personal accidents, hospitalisation and early critical illness, as soon as possible.
Of the five parents we spoke to, four had children who were admitted to hospital at the age of two or younger.
While his first two children were as fit as a fiddle, 40-year-old Melvin Ng's third child suffered from severe respiratory issues that saw his weight drop despite being just a month old. Though MediShield Life automatically covers every Singaporean newborn, the basic plan meant that most of his hospitalisation and treatment bills came out of Ng's own pocket.
He shared: "On the day he was born, I should have gotten something, but I didn't."
At such a young age, children might not completely understand what their parents are doing for them by lifeproofing them with health insurance, but it's what mother-of-three Maybel Heng calls delayed gratification.
Her son was 11 when he had to undergo an emergency appendicitis surgery. The bill would have cost the 43-year-old nearly $10,000 had her son not been fully covered by insurance, something the young boy was grateful for.
"You don't get to see a physical, tangible thing like a toy, but this is something your child can feel."
Parents can enhance their children's basic health coverage with Great Eastern's GREAT SupremeHeath insurance — a private integrated shield plan that provides higher coverage against medical bills. Along with the optional GREAT Total Care rider that covers up to 95 per cent of hospitalisation bills, the final medical bills are kept to a minimum.
And with insurance, the earlier is always better.
Financial head start
Lifeproofing children with a good financial head start is important too, especially when it comes to education.
Rather than see her children bogged down by student loans, Heng took up an endowment plan that would eventually pay for their education — a move mirrored by fellow mother Jessica Swa.
Worried by the rising cost of education, the 30-year-old bought an endowment plan that would issue a payout at the end of 10 years, ensuring that by the time her daughter turned 21, she would have the adequate funds to enter university "in the event she can't get any scholarship".
If it turns out that her daughter doesn't require the additional funding, the money can go into Swa's retirement kitty.
Most parents don't wish to be a burden on their children, which is why Amanda Ou, 36, said it was important to start planning for retirement as early as possible.
The mother-of-one shared that by choosing a life insurance with a limited pay period, you are entitled to a lifetime's coverage, or at least until you choose to surrender the policy. This ensures that even in retirement, you can continue to receive regular payouts, overall reducing the need to depend on their children.
Apart from being a form of guaranteed income for retirees, it also doubles as financial support for children in the event something were to happen to their parents.
Take care of yourself first
More importantly, Ou went on to say, before insuring your child, it is important that parents themselves are insured.
"When you're on a flight and there's decompression, the mask drops. It's always advisable for parents to grab the mask first," she quipped.
After all, children depend on their parents to lifeproof their future.
Everyone we spoke to changed, upgraded or added plans to provide themselves with more coverage when they realised they were going to become parents.
As one advertisement tagline goes, "Having a baby changes everything."
Ng, who previously only had a savings plan, bought a life plan after marriage.
"I'm just worried that if I'm not around, [my children] should have something to survive on," he added.
But rather than worry about having to purchase new plans, which would have higher premiums - considering age - or require you to undergo medical underwriting, Great Eastern's GREAT Life Advantage offers flexible coverage with none of that hassle.
Not only do parents get to increase their personal coverage at any time, their children are also granted a Child Cover Benefit of $20,000 at no additional cost.
Chelsea Lam, a 34-year-old mother of two daughters, had a piece of comprehensive advice for parents: "Good to plan early and have an insurance plan for [your children] to ensure that their future is secured."
As Heng put it, parents have many gifts they can give their children, but perhaps the best gift of all is the gift of life.
As parents, our needs are always changing. Great Eastern gives you the peace of mind and helps to #lifeproof you and your family at every stage in life with their flexible coverage.
If you're an expectant parent or a parent with young children, click here to find out more on how to #lifeproof your health and your family, and how to live #lifeproof.
This article was brought to you in partnership with Great Eastern Singapore. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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