An Introduction to Disability Insurance For Veterinarians

Although income may not be the driving influence for most Veterinarians, a person’s ability to earn an income is his/her greatest financial asset. For this reason, it is critical that as a Veterinarian you consider the importance of protecting your income, your family and future with a quality disability insurance policy. In order to facilitate and assist you in making the most appropriate and educated decision, this article provides basic insight for Veterinarians interested in disability insurance.

Begin by looking for a disability insurance policy that is noncancelable and guaranteed renewable. This type of policy renewability guarantees that the insurance company cannot cancel your policy, increase the pricing or change the provisions until after age 65, so long as you continue to pay your premiums in a timely manner.

Next, you should look for a disability insurance policy that provides benefits specific to your veterinary specialty. To do this, you must understand and review the policy’s definition of total disability, which describes the circumstances in which an insured will receive benefits for total disability. The best definition a Veterinarian can obtain is the true own-occupation definition of total disability, which defines disability as the inability, solely due to illness or injury, to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, even if you are able and/or working in a different occupation. It is this definition that allows you to continue receiving benefits, even if you decide to work in some other capacity.

To expand on the definition of total disability that your disability insurance policy provides, you also need to include residual disability benefits, which provide benefits for partial disabilities. The standard definition of disability included in your policy only pays benefits for TOTAL disability claims. If an illness or injury causes a 15% or greater loss of income, the residual disability benefit may provide you a partial benefit to cover some of the loss experienced. Every insurance company has a different qualification requirement and method of paying this type of benefit. The differences between these options could be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars at claim time, so be sure to evaluate these details closely.

Depending on your age and specific circumstances, there are other riders that you may want to consider as well. Younger Veterinarians should consider the future increase option, which guarantees your eligibility to increase your policy’s monthly benefit as your earnings increase. This rider eliminates the risk of your health impacting your ability to purchase additional disability insurance in the future. For a young Veterinarian whose income is likely to increase throughout his/her career, this rider makes perfect sense.

The cost of living adjustment rider is also a policy rider worth considering and for Veterinarians of all ages. The cost of living adjustment rider increases your monthly benefit after every 12-month period that you remain on claim receiving benefits. For anyone considering a long-term disability policy, this maybe an essential piece to properly protecting your future and maintaining the purchasing power of your policy’s monthly benefit. If you are considering a policy with a 5-year benefit or less, this rider may not be so critical.

I recommend that any Veterinarian interested in obtaining disability insurance work with a financial professional who is experienced with disability insurance. Although it is important for you to have a solid understanding of the various definitions and provisions, an experienced professional can assist you in better understanding your options and ultimately selected the best disability insurance policy for your circumstances.

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Affordable Disability Insurance For Young Professionals

At some point in every person’s career, he or she will consider the option of purchasing Disability insurance. Unfortunately, most people will only become interested in purchasing Disability insurance after experiencing a health condition or witnessing a relative or friend who has experienced the financial and emotional impact of a disability. Aside from the difficulty most people have in believing that a disability will ever affect them, the cost of coverage also plays a role in why many people decide against purchasing coverage.

Luckily there are many alternatives available to help young professionals keep the cost of coverage affordable and allow them to put coverage in force while they are young and healthy. One of the best strategies for young professionals to use is the Graded premium schedule.

A Graded premium schedule can be found in many policies offered by the top Disability insurance carriers in today’s market. As its name implies, a Graded premium is structured to start with a low premium that will gradually increase every year. The idea behind purchasing a Graded premium policy is to keep premiums as affordable as possible for the first 2-7 years of a professional being in the work force. The savings is often substantial during the years it is needed most. Since the premium continues to increase each year, it is recommended that a person convert the Graded premium schedule to a Level premium schedule within the first 5-8 years of owning the policy – hopefully enough time to get established within one’s career and be capable of handling the higher premium.

The true benefit of purchasing a policy using the Graded premium, is to allow young adults with low to moderate incomes to obtain coverage at a time when they are likely to be the healthiest they will ever be. Generally a person is the healthiest between the ages of 25-35, which therefore allows purchasing Disability insurance to be much easier. A person in excellent health will have a much better chance of obtaining coverage without any exclusions or limitations for preexisting conditions.

Exclusions are a tool used by insurance companies which enable them to provide coverage to people who have existing medical conditions. Once you have already been diagnosed or treated for a specific condition by a health care professional, it is likely that the specific condition will be excluded from your Disability insurance contract. In other words, the policy will not pay benefits for a loss of income caused by the specific condition being excluded. Certainly a policy with one exclusion is better than not having a policy at all, but a policy that does not have any exclusions is clearly ideal.

By purchasing a Disability insurance policy using a Graded premium, a young adult can purchase a policy that normally may cost $100/month for only $20 or $30/month. This is substantially more affordable and therefore allows for more young professionals to put a policy in place to protect their future earnings.

One of the smartest things a person can do when purchasing Disability insurance, is find an insurance professional that specializes in Disability Insurance. Often referred to as Disability Income Specialists, advisors that focus on Disability insurance are more likely to be capable of helping you find the most appropriate coverage for your specific circumstances. Whether you are a young physician, accountant, engineer, sales professional or any other type of professional, it is important you think about your future and consider protecting your income with Disability insurance.

Specific to the Graded premium schedule option – ask your Disability insurance advisor whether the premiums are guaranteed. As this article has explained, there is great merit to using the Graded premium schedule but you do not want a policy that can increase by too much in any single year, as it would defeat the purpose. Guaranteed Graded premium schedules do exist and your Disability Income Specialist should be able to find one for you.

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