As a physician, you’ve spent years honing your skills, investing in your education, developing your practice and building a reputation for excellence in your field. You work tirelessly to care for your patients, but are you doing all you can to care for your financial future? What would happen to your family, your patients and your practice if you were unable to work due to an accident or sickness?
Disability insurance provides financial support should you be unable to work due to an accident or sickness. It is important for nearly everyone, but it’s especially vital for physicians to have disability insurance coverage in place for the following reasons.
1. To protect your income – Disability insurance provides income replacement in the event you are unable to work due to a covered accident or sickness. This means that if you become disabled, you will still receive a portion of your income to help pay bills and support your family.
The income replacement provided by disability insurance is vitally important for physicians and other medical professionals, as your income is often tied to your ability to work. Unlike other professions where employees may be able to take time off and use sick days, physicians must be able to see patients in order to earn a living.
2. To protect your practice – If you own your own practice, disability insurance can help cover the expense of running your practice while you’re out of work. A business overhead expense (BOE) policy can provide reimbursement for expenses such as staff salaries, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, professional liability insurance premiums and other costs associated with the operation of your practice.
3. To protect your reputation – Physicians often work in high-pressure, competitive environments where even a short absence from work can have long-term consequences for their careers. Disability insurance can help protect your professional reputation by allowing you to take time off to recover without worrying that a financial setback will jeopardize your career trajectory.
4. To protect your retirement savings – Physicians are often bear significant responsibility to save for retirement. If you become unable to work without a disability policy in place, you may need to dip into your retirement savings. This can have a devastating impact on your long-term financial security. A disability policy can help cover your expenses and protect your retirement security.
5. To keep creditors at bay – Physicians often carry significant student loan debt following many years of higher education. Disability insurance can allow you to continue making debt payments while you’re unable to work.
6. Because you face higher risks – Physicians often face a higher risk of disability due to the physical demands of their work, exposure to illness and the potential for workplace accidents. Disability insurance can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that you have a safety net in place to protect yourself and your family.
What to Look for in a Policy
When choosing a disability policy, it’s important to carefully consider the terms of coverage. Some policies have limitations on the types of disabilities they cover, while others may require you to wait a certain amount of time before benefits kick in. You should also consider the amount of coverage you’ll need, which may depend on your income, debt, financial goals and other obligations.
You’ll likely want to choose an “own occupant” policy to ensure you receive benefits if you can no longer perform the functions of your job, even if you’re capable of working in another field. It’s also important to have specialty-specific coverage in place. For example, say a transplant surgeon becomes disabled and is unable to perform transplants; however, he can still perform other types of general surgeries. Without specialty-specific coverage, he may be ineligible to receive benefits since he’s technically still able to operate.
Many physicians assume group disability insurance will take care of them, but it’s important to have an individual policy in place. Group disability coverage is generally only occupation specific for two years. Also, through a group policy, in order to receive partial disability benefits for the job tasks you are unable to perform, you typically need to be completely disabled. For example, say you’re a surgeon and can only perform surgeries 50% of the time due to an accident. A group policy probably won’t make up the difference, but a properly structured individual policy will pay out the missing 50% to cover your shortfall.
Insurance, much like estate planning, is not a topic many of us like to consider. No one wants to think about a potential career-ending accident or sickness, especially physicians who have worked so hard to get to where they are today. However, there’s no better time than now to ensure you’re properly covered. Unfortunately, once you have been involved in an accident or become seriously ill, it’s often too late to implement coverage. Don’t wait to protect yourself, your family and your practice with a disability insurance policy that meets your needs.
Could you use some help getting started? Contact me to schedule a complementary consultation. I look forward to helping you implement disability insurance coverage to protect your future.