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Finder.com.au Guest Blog by Elizabeth Barry

Medical procedures are costly and often unexpected. They’re so costly, in fact, that 41% of us will avoid seeing a medical specialist because of the cost, according to finder.com.au research.

Because of this cost barrier, many people choose to take out an unsecured personal loan to pay for their medical procedure. But is this a good idea? Let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks.

A way to pay

The main argument for using an unsecured personal loan for a medical procedure is that it offers you a way to pay for it. If you are unable to come up with tens of thousands of dollars in a few weeks but you still need the procedure, a personal loan can offer a way to get you the medical help you need.

If you’re using an unsecured loan, you won’t need to attach an asset to the loan and you can still borrow a large amount if you need to.

Add in additional costs

As the loan is unsecured, you can apply for a higher amount to cover additional expenses associated with your medical procedure. For example, if you need to travel a long way for your procedure, you can apply for funds to cover the cost of your trip as well as the procedure itself.

Just make sure you’ve worked out what your repayments will be and ensure that you’re not applying for more than you can afford. Use a personal loan calculator to see how the repayments will work with your budget. Remember to take into account a reduced income from any time you need to take off work.

No guarantee of approval

Putting all of your medical procedure eggs into one personal loan basket means that you’re banking on not only being approved for the loan but also being approved for the full amount that you’ve applied for. Remember that neither of these things are guaranteed.

You may be approved for a lower amount, meaning that you can’t afford the procedure, or you may not be approved at all. The latter will leave you with a mark on your credit file that could affect your next loan application.

It’s important to check the eligibility criteria for the loan that you’re applying for to ensure that you meet at least the minimum requirements. If you’re unsure, contact the lender directly to find out. While the lender decides if you can afford the loan, it’s ultimately your responsibility as well.

A change in circumstances

Depending on how serious the procedure is, you may have to take an extended period of leave from work. It’s important to take this into account when you’re considering your loan options. Will your income be affected during this period? Will your expenses change? It won’t help your recovery to default on your loan repayments.

There are some clear pros and cons to using an unsecured personal loan to cover the cost of a medical procedure. Make sure you take all factors into account when you’re deciding on whether it’s the right option for you.

Elizabeth is the personal loans editor at finder.com.au. She has a passion for smart spending, saving and investing and enjoys reading the T&Cs so that you don’t have to.

Important information

Information on this website is general and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this information is suitable for your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on the information provided.