I was skiing on new snow, light but not deep, excited to be out finally after a few days of poor conditions. Warming up on a relatively gentle run, on piste and not the steep forested back-country hazards that you almost expect to bring you down. Then without warning, literally from nowhere, I felt an unrelenting twisting that I couldn’t stop in my right leg and over I went as I felt something deep inside my flesh and bone of the lower leg give way.
I landed and lay there stunned. I thought “I just broke my leg”, but I couldn’t actually believe it even thought I knew it to be true, like the two sides of my brain were arguing against each other. Sometime later, after a dramatic snow rescue as the medics tried to remove my ski boot and I experienced pain beyond what I had imagined existed, any doubts about the prognosis were erased – I had broken my leg in two places.
I now get the meaning of “accident”. I have skied in many more complex, dangerous and difficult conditions always to emerge unscathed. A hidden rock though, under light snow cover on a gentle warm up run was my undoing. Four months later, I am doing extensive rehab: physio each week, hydrotherapy twice a week and gym classes twice a week. The bones still haven’t knitted and my surgeon won’t yet let me do anything more than try to walk without too much of a limp.
I am the lucky one.
Think of Michael Schumacher – the other guy who did much more dangerous things day to day and also came unstuck because of an “accident” in the snow. I really mean that, I’m the lucky one. It could have been a lot worse; neck or back for example, or surgical complication, which for the type of surgery I had, occasionally happens and leads to amputation (I don’t want to think about it).
Accidents are everywhere, sadly and they are so purely because they are so unexpected.
My health insurance was a godsend. The $12,000 of hospital and ambulance bills were all paid for except for the $250 excess. Most people have health insurance and don’t give it much thought, thankfully. My travel insurance was also fantastic: $4,400 of additional medical and flight costs covered, with no excess. I also have Income Protection Insurance that will pay me up to 75% of my income in the event that I can’t work, due to illness or injury. I am so glad that my injury didn’t prevent me from working. A more severe accident or perhaps if I had landed differently, the outcome could have been very different. My income protection would pay me all the way up to age 65 and I wouldn’t be without it.
The bottom line is nobody ever plans on getting a major illness, having a bad accident or being severely injured. These things just hit you like a lightning bolt. Protection from the financial consequences though is relatively simple and I would argue, necessary, for most people.
Contact us today to review your insurances and to set up a plan that is right for you.
Greg Major is an authorised representative and credit representative of AMP Financial Planning.
Blueprint Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 78 097 264 554), trading as Blueprint Wealth, is an authorised representative and credit representative of AMP Financial Planning, Australian Financial Services Licensee and Australian Credit Licensee.
This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider you financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.