Karin can’t get insurance for her artificial limb: “Living without an artificial limb would be like another amputation all over again”
“My prosthetic arm is a pricey piece of technology. If it were to break out of warranty, I’d have a problem. How can I protect myself? I enjoy hiking, biking, driving, dog sports and gardening. Would I have to pay for any damage out of pocket?”
In 2018, blogger Karin (46) opted to have her arm amputated after suffering a workplace accident in a bid to improve her quality of life. She has had a hand prosthesis since February 2020, becoming one of the first wearers of an artificial limb with the Myo-plus control system in the Netherlands. Step by step, she has learned to use it and takes us with her on that adventure.
It’s a good question that’s worth exploring in a bit more detail. First stop? My own insurer.
Home contents insurance?
My insurer initially told me that my artificial limb is covered under my home contents insurance, but when I asked them a bit more, they told me that they’d only reimburse me up to a certain point, far below the actual cost of my artificial limb.
Perhaps supplementary insurance is the way forward? Unfortunately, my insurer was quick to tell me that there were no options for me here. What’s next? Living without an artificial limb would be like getting another amputation all over again. I don’t want to live without one and I shouldn’t have to.
Why is it not possible to insure your artificial limb against fire, theft, accidents, damage or anything else for that matter? Why doctors and insurance companies don’t make clear-cut agreements about this is completely beyond me. I understand that health insurance can’t cover everything, but the warranty is limited and doesn’t cover everything either. Surely something has to change!
I was forced to get an amputation after an accident, which means that, for me, there’s a "counterparty" (i.e. the insurer of my former employer) who is responsible for consequential damages. This counterparty is by no means a small fry - besides, they deal in insurance themselves -, but even they couldn’t find a way to cover my hand prosthesis with supplementary insurance. Instead, they made me a formal promise: they would bear any costs not covered by the warranty or my insurance under normal use. (So not, for example, if I light the barbecue with my hand prosthesis or take a dip in the pool with it...)
Personal injury case?
Still, it gave me some pause for thought. Just imagine if something happened to your artificial limb and you had no personal injury case to fall back on. How would you live your life without it, knowing that you wouldn’t be eligible for a new limb for years to come?