Disability income insurance isn’t like major medical insurance, post Affordable Care Act. There’s no guaranteed issue if you apply within some open enrollment period. But it’s critically important coverage for young doctors to own. For the vast majority of physicians in their 20s, 30s and 40s, their most valuable asset by far is their ability to earn a living as a doctor. This alone is worth several million dollars over the years for almost any of them, and well worth the medical school investment. But it’s all for naught if you lose that ability to practice medicine, whether from illness or injury, and you have no provision in place to protect yourself and replace that income.
That’s the whole point of owning a disability income insurance policy.
Here are five important keys to bear in mind when you are doing your basic insurance and financial planning:
1. Buy it when you’re healthy, not when you’re sick
Disability is like any other form of insurance: It protects you against risks. No homeowner’s insurance plan is going to sell you windstorm insurance when there’s a hurricane warning issued for your county. No life insurance company is going to sell you a policy while you’re waiting for a heart transplant. Nobody waits until after the plane takes off to pack a parachute. You don’t wait until after a collision to fasten your seatbelt. Noah didn’t wait for it to start raining before he built the Ark. And so on.
The time to buy disability insurance is when you are in peak health. The healthier you are, the better your rates are likely to be, and the more protection you’ll be able to buy for any given dollar.
2. Review your coverage as your income increases
Many doctors receive a big salary hike when they get out of residency, for example. Well, the average resident earns about $55,000 per year, according to data from medical industry research firm Medscape. If you buy a disability insurance plan as a resident, without any riders or other features that provide for an increase in available protection, then that would not provide an adequate disability income for your new salary. You will need enough to provide for your family now, without making some serious compromises concerning your housing, lifestyle, education plans for the children, etc.,”
If you are still in good health, you can still purchase the protection you really need at this stage of your career very affordably. Don’t delay, because as every doctor knows all too well, your health can change abruptly and unexpectedly at any time.
3. Work with a disability specialist
Many times a captive life insurance agent who focuses on life and annuities will sell disability insurance as a sideline. However, these individuals can often only sell for one or two different carriers. But because disability insurance underwriting depends on so many different circumstances that are unique to different carriers, someone who doesn’t specialize in disability insurance is unlikely to be able to find you the best plan to suit your specific situation.
4. Think in terms of value, not price
Companies that charge rock-bottom premiums must also provide rock-bottom protection. The lower the premium, the more restrictive the company’s definition of a qualifying disability will be. What counts isn’t so much the premium, which you can control. The real issue is going to be your experience when it comes to actually filing a claim.
5. Own your own disability insurance
Workplace plans are fine. But what happens when your employer decides to lay you off or cancel the disability insurance plan after you’ve already become uninsurable because of a health problem? Or what if you develop a chronic illness, such as multiple sclerosis, that makes it quite likely you will have to file a claim in the future, but for now you can still work? It will close the door to private practice, since you’ll be tied to your employer for the sake of the company disability insurance.
If you own your own individual disability income insurance policy, that protection will follow you wherever you go – whether you remain with your employer, or you elect to go into private practice.
Getting started is very easy. Use the quote request button below and take a few minutes to fill in some information and we’ll get a free premium quote for you from a variety of carriers. You’ll still need to medically qualify for the coverage, but that’s not a problem if you are currently in good health.
Alternatively, call us at 866-899-7318 for a free no obligation consultation and needs analysis.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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