When insuring your house, it is common practice to examine the features against likely scenarios for your situation. You may choose to forgo the flood optional extra if you live inland, but check the box for fires.

When it comes to health insurance, it makes sense to do the same thing. Given that medicine is advancing rapidly, it is important to look into the details of which illnesses and treatments your insurer will recognise.

It would only compound a difficult situation to find out when you are diagnosed with a serious illness that you are not covered for it. You may fall outside your insurer’s definition of the condition and therefore be ineligible for compensation. They may even acknowledge your illness, but not cover the treatments you wish to undergo.

Prostate cancer, for example, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, according to the Cancer Council of Australia has seen recent breakthroughs. In Prostate News (Issue 48, Dec 2011), released by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, a treatment is described that greatly improves the outlook for men with advanced prostate cancer. At the time the newsletter was published, the treatment was not available in Australia and would cost nearly $100,000. Having picked the right health insurance a few years before could mean the difference between having the treatment and not.

It is not always possible to predict what is around the corner, but you can be smart about trying to. Pick an insurer with good general cover, and talk to an adviser you trust about what extras and funds offer the cover you may need. And be sure to look into the fine-print.

Disclaimer: The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the views or opinions of Total Financial Solutions Australia (AFSL# 224954)

This information does not take into account the reader’s objectives, financial situation or needs. For this reason, before you act on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice taking into account your own objectives, financial situation and needs. Before you make a decision about whether to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the product disclosure statement.

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