Enlisting in National Service is a confusing and stressful time, whether it’s you yourself or a loved one who is about to become a recruit. It’s a momentous life change for pretty much every Singaporean guy. You’re about to get catapulted from the safety of your cushy life straight into all kinds of dangerous and physically demanding situations as an NSF.
So one of the questions that come to mind is: what if something bad happens during NS?
Here’s a primer to how much insurance coverage you will get during NS, after NS (during reservist, for example) and how you can extend that coverage.
What are the risks involved in NS?
First of all, given the extremely low number of deaths during NS training, know that the chances of the worst happening are really, really low. Yes the government wants you to give 2 years of your life, but they don’t want to actually claim your life. Safety is absolutely paramount in National Service.
That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, though. And there’s always the chance of a non-fatal (but still highly damaging) accident happening.
While we acknowledge that no amount of money can make up for the loss of life or limb, insurance coverage can at least provide bereaved parents with some financial support. Just how much though?
During NS: MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance Core Scheme
Who is covered, and when? Under what they call the Core Scheme, as long as you are serving NS, you are covered for the entire enlistment period. After you ORD, you’ll still be covered automatically when you go back for reservist.
(In addition, MINDEF/SAF/SPF/SCDF regulars and volunteers are also covered.)
|Who is covered?||When are you covered?|
|NSFs||National Service (full period)|
|NSmen (after ORD)||During reservist (ORNS activities, call-ups)|
|MINDEF/SAF regulars (military and DXOs)||Entire term of service|
|Home Team regulars (uniformed officers)||Entire term of service|
|Volunteers||During official volunteer activities|
How much do you pay? Not a cent. Coverage under the Core Scheme is absolutely free; premiums are paid for by MINDEF/MHA.
How much coverage do you get? The sum assured is $150,000 under both life insurance and personal accident policies. So if anything terrible happens (whether death or disability from an accident) Aviva will pay at least $150,000 to you/your family.
Note that this insurance also covers pre-existing medical conditions. That means Aviva will still pay out the sum assured even if it’s related to a condition you’ve always had, like asthma.
After ORD: MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance Voluntary Scheme
After you complete National Service, you will naturally no longer be automatically covered by free insurance (unless you sign on as a regular).
But you can easily choose to opt in to continue being insured by Aviva under the Voluntary Scheme. You’ll have to pay the premiums yourself – but the good news is, they’re really low (more on that in a bit).
As you will likely move on to further stages of adulthood and have more dependents in the future, you can also customise your coverage by paying more for higher coverage.
Who is eligible? NSmen and their dependants (i.e. spouse and kids).
Actually, anyone who’s covered by the Core Scheme can also opt into the Voluntary Scheme. For example, if you’re an SCDF volunteer you can buy this insurance to get coverage outside of your volunteer activities.
Public officers working in MINDEF and MHA, employees of DSTA, and all their dependants can also apply.
How much are the premiums & coverage? Now this is where things get complicated. There are 2 components to this insurance programme and you can customise each part, so basically you get what you pay for.
Here’s a table to help you find out how much you’ll need to pay (excluding GST). These premiums are valid up to age 65. After you turn 65, the premiums rise sharply.
|Coverage amount||Monthly premium (term life)||Monthly premium (personal accident)|
What does the “term life” component mean? “Term life” insurance basically means life insurance that only covers you for a period, NOT your entire lifetime. As mentioned, these rates are valid until you’re 65, after which you’ll have be reassessed and charged a whole lot more.
The coverage amount shows how much Aviva will pay in the event of (a) death or (b) total permanent disability (loss of sight or limbs).
What does the “personal accident” component mean? Since term life insurance doesn’t cover incidents that don’t lead to death or disability, you might want to supplement it with insurance for accidents.
So, if you opt for personal accident coverage, Aviva will pay out a percentage of the coverage you opted for should something happen. The percentage depends on the severity of the accident. For example, if you lose your smallest toe, you get only 3% of the coverage amount, but if the accident results in total eyesight loss you get 100%.
The insurer will also compensate you (smaller amounts) for fractures, burns and other costs e.g. ambulance cost.
Should you opt in for MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance Voluntary Scheme?
Yes. If you’re looking to get life and/or personal accident insurance, and you qualify for MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance – you should definitely consider! Here’s why.
Premiums are really cheap: At least up to age 65, the coverage-to-premium ratio is really hard to beat. No other insurer will give you a $1million payout for just $41 a month.
But why is it so darn cheap? Well, think of how much you save when you do a bulk or group purchase. Then think about how huge this pool of insurance buyers is. That makes MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance pretty much the world’s biggest Groupon.
No medical check-up needed: Regardless of the current state of your body and whatever unhealthy vices you indulge in, you can actually get life insurance coverage up to $250,000 without having to undergo any medical check-up.
Whereas you’ll have to go for a check-up if you buy life insurance with most other insurers, which might jack up the price of your premiums.
Perks for Voluntary Scheme opt-ins: There are various perks if you choose to “sign on”, the key one being that your dependents can enjoy the same low rates on insurance too. You can also get big discounts on car, home and travel insurance plans.
However, there are a couple of things you need to note…
NOT a health insurance plan: Note that this is NOT a health insurance plan! If you’re hospitalised, Aviva will not pay for your medical bills. However you will get a $30 daily allowance if you’re hospitalised for more than 10 days.
NOT a Medisave-approved policy: You can’t use Medisave to pay your premiums. You need to pay them out of your own pocket.
It gets expensive after age 65: As with all term life insurance plans, premiums get expensive after the term is over. Aviva raises the price sharply after age 65 and simply ceases to cover you after age 70. So you’ll need to bear that in mind as you get older – eventually you might choose to opt for whole life insurance instead.
Is MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance sufficient for NSFs and NSmen? Let us know what you think in the comments.