Cape Town - One does not usually think of the work a housewife does as having a monetary value, but if it's suddenly taken away, the impact is significant from a financial perspective.
"Although it's more common in today's world for women to have careers, there are still many who choose to stay at home and look after children," according to Michelle Human, legal marketing specialist at Liberty.
"Sometimes, that's the case for a few years when the children are still very small, but, in some families, women give up their working lives completely."
She said if one considers the numerous roles that a woman will play in her career as housewife, it involves quite a range.
She is a driver, a nurse, a cook, a housekeeper, a teacher, a secretary and above all a caregiver.
Some career women return to work and are required to pay various individuals to fulfil these roles – but at quite a price.
So in some cases, it may not be financially viable for the mother to return to her old position.
"In a household where the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is at home to look after things domestically, the focus from a life insurance perspective is almost always on the husband," said Human.
The view is that, should the breadwinner at any stage be unable to earn a living, the family will suffer financially. It is therefore crucial to insure the life, health and income of that breadwinner.
"What is not entirely correct is the failure of the breadwinner to consider insuring the life and health of his partner," she said.
"If she falls ill or dies unexpectedly, the important function she has been playing in her domestic role will have to be done by someone else. And that could cost a great deal."
She said one must bear in mind that those costs will quite possibly be compounded by other expenses arising from her illness or death, so the financial ramifications are not insignificant.
"A stay at home mom could be diagnosed with a dreaded disease such as cancer, for instance, and would have to be hospitalised for extended periods," she said.
Even when not in hospital, she may not be strong enough to do everything that has to be done.
"You may have to pay for the services of a domestic worker and a driver, among others, to keep the household running and the children organised in their usual lives. This unexpected additional financial liability you may not be prepared for.”
* Add your voice
to our Women's Wealth Issue and help empower others this Women's Month.
Write a guest post
Share your coping tips Ask