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Understanding the illness or injury

No one plans or chooses to become unwell. Despite your best efforts, your health can become compromised to an extent that it significantly affects your wellbeing, finances and quality of life. Having the right support and taking appropriate actions early can minimise the adverse effects on your life and the lives of those close to you.

A serious illness or injury is any condition or event that negatively affects your quality of life and your daily functions for an extended period. Depending on the injury or illness, you may fully recover, have life-limiting effects or be told that death is a likely outcome.

Common examples of serious illnesses and injuries include:

  • A new diagnosis of cancer.
  • A stroke or heart attack.
  • Multiple, displaced fractures.
  • Loss of a limb.

It is helpful to gather and group the information you need by focusing on three key areas - your diagnosis, your treatment options and your prognosis or likely outcome.


A diagnosis is a short, medical description of your illness or injury. Ask your doctor to write down the diagnosis, preferably on a letterhead, and for a fact sheet about your illness or injury or for reliable online resources.

Practical example

Gary, a 24 year old electrician, seriously injures his ankle during a ski holiday. He explains his diagnosis to his work colleagues: ‘I broke the bones in my ankle in several places and it was sticking through the skin. It needed surgery to fix it’. The medical diagnosis ‘Left comminuted, open tibiofibular fracture requiring ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation)’ helps his physiotherapist to prepare an individualised rehabilitation plan for Gary and his general practitioner includes it in the successful insurance claim.

Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.