As a chiropractor, you have put yourself in a uniquely comfortable and potentially volatile financial state. Assuming you are a business owner with your own practice and plenty of clients, you’ve worked extremely hard to find financial freedom and build your work-life the way you want it while performing meaningful services.
However, if you’re not protecting that lifestyle via various insurance policies, it can come crashing down very quickly.
One of the forms of insurance you should be interested in is disability insurance.
With an occupation in a health-focused industry and a sizeable income, you might think that something like disability insurance isn’t likely to be necessary for you, but in reality, it may be the difference between maintaining the life you’ve built and suddenly being impoverished.
Here’s an in-depth guide showing you what disability insurance really is, why you need it, and how it works to help you protect your hard-earned lifestyle.
What is Disability Insurance?
In the simplest terms, disability insurance is there to protect you from income loss if a disability renders you unable to work for a period of time.
Upon first hearing that, you probably think of serious health problems that aren’t as likely to affect you due to your focus on health and wellness. However, not only is that the most basic use for a much more flexible form of insurance, but you’re also just as likely as the average person to experience one of the disabilities or an accidental injury that’s covered by disability insurance for chiropractors.
While disability insurance is often thought of as a safety net for very serious events, it has many more uses, and it’s split into two forms of policies that will be covered shortly.
Why do You Need Disability Insurance for Chiropractors?
Again, you’re a medical professional who makes more than the average person via your chiropractic practice, and you worked hard to earn that. This may give you a false sense of financial security, though.
If you’re uninsured or don’t have adequate disability insurance, the sudden loss of your income will have multiple effects. Especially considering a disability comes with massive medical bills and added costs.
First, while you may have played it smart and built an impressive savings account, one major surgery that’s not covered by insurance can wipe out your savings and then some.
Then, you must also consider the lifestyle you’ve built around the comfort of financial freedom. That’s only made possible via a steady income and potentially any valuable assets you’ve acquired. When the income stops coming in, the business overheads, office staff salaries and bills you’ve acquired don’t stop, and the liquidation of assets doesn’t maintain your lifestyle forever.
In short, while you may be able to financially withstand a couple of months of lost income, an incapacitating type of disability can consume everything you’ve worked for, and unfortunately, there are many destructive disabilities or medical conditions that you’re just as likely to be affected by as the average person regardless of your focus on health and wellness.
How Does Disability Insurance Work?
Disability insurance for chiropractors is split into two different policies. The two are very similar in how they work, but they’re each designed to cover different situations.
Luckily, both of the disability insurance policies cost about the same amount, and purchasing both is unlikely to be a massive investment for you. Disability insurance prices vary but, on average, each of the individual disability policies cost between 1% and 4% of your annual income ((1)).
Most insurance companies that offer one of the disability plan options will also offer the other form. So, you can at least purchase both policies from the same insurance provider and lower the number of disability insurance carriers you’re writing checks to.
What are the Two Policy Types Available?
When you purchase disability insurance to protect your income, you have two types of policies available, as mentioned earlier. These are purchased separately, and it’s highly recommended that you purchase one of each policy type with the best coverage terms possible to ensure you’re protected thoroughly, whatever your claim for disability may be.
You have the option to purchase short-term disability insurance and/or long-term disability insurance. You should know this when applying for disability insurance.
Here are in-depth guides to what each one is for and what protection they provide.
Short-Term Disability Insurance for Chiropractors
Short-term disability insurance is the most basic form of disability insurance. It’s designed to help protect you from income loss over the course of two to six months.
With this being a short period and you likely having a fairly substantial amount of savings, you may feel it’s smart to forego this type of insurance policy. However, that’s not optimal due to the costly nature of medical treatments and the long waiting period that affects disability claimants making long-term disability insurance claims.
It’s extremely fast to get a short-term disability insurance claim approved, and you typically won’t have to wait more than 14 days ((2)). Since you can get a short-term claim accepted so quickly, it can help protect your income while you wait for a long-term claim, and it can offset the increased costs you’re likely to experience even if you only suffer from a short-term disability.
Also, while this insurance only protects you against loss of income for six months in normal situations, it can be extended to 52 weeks, or one year, in the event you’re waiting for a long-term claim to be approved.
Short-term disability insurance also has some unique features that can benefit you even in more positive situations.
Here are the main disabilities you can expect to be covered for by short-term disability insurance when making a claim for benefits.
Sudden Debilitating Injuries:
Injuries affect everyone, and it doesn’t matter how healthy you are. You can get into a wreck while commuting to work, fall while carrying your groceries up the steps of your home, or even be the victim of a malicious attack.
In any of those situations or more, you may be suddenly injured and unable to work for months.
A common cold isn’t likely to disrupt your work life for more than a few days or a week, but something such as Covid-19 can easily derail your practice for months. What’s worse is that, even if you take every precaution possible, these types of illnesses can still pop up at random. Short-term disability insurance is perfect for protecting against this.
Psychological conditions are also covered by short-term disability. For example, let’s say you’re part of a major catastrophe and are facing severe trauma such as a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, a deadly pileup on the highway, or any other situation that makes it so you mentally cannot get up and go to work in the morning. You can use short-term disability insurance to take time off to mentally recover and seek any help you may need to repair your mental condition.
If you run your own practice, you can’t rely on paid maternity leave to protect your income while you focus on having a healthy and safe pregnancy. That responsibility falls on you.
However, with a disability policy, you can make a claim and get six months of income protection while you focus on your pregnancy. While that doesn’t cover the entirety of the pregnancy, it will cover the bulk of it. This means that you can wait until you’re through your first trimester and use your claim to cover the really hard months when it’s just not practical to work.
If you’re planning on building a family, or if you’re sexually active and may get pregnant unexpectedly, short-term disability can save your finances and give you the time you need to get through it in the healthiest way possible.
Is Short-Term Disability Worth it for Chiropractors?
As you can probably tell, short-term disability is not only worth it to protect your income in an emergency, but it can also be used in more predictable and positive ways. This makes the 1% to 4% price of it more than worth it, and no chiropractor should go without it.
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Long-Term Disability Insurance for Chiropractors
Long-term disability insurance is a little different. There are also different types depending on what you need, like long term care insurance for veterans. Instead of focusing on short-term disabilities, you’re likely to heal under the right circumstances, it focuses on the disabilities that take you away from work for years, decades, or even permanently.
Long-term disability is designed to cover disabilities that will last longer than one year, and they don’t have a benefit cut-off date unless you become able to work again or reach retirement age; at which point you’re expected to switch to your retirement plan or social security ((3)).
Long-term disability insurance benefit payments also take much longer to be approved than short-term disability claims, as outlined in the previous section, and it’s recommended to have a short-term plan in place to cover the year you’re likely to spend waiting for approval.
Here are the disabilities that are usually included in long-term disability insurance coverage.
Cancer is a deadly illness that is on the rise, and between the ways it ravages the body on its own and the harsh treatments necessary to attempt to cure it, it can easily be debilitating.
Whether you suffer from lung cancer, brain tumors, skin cancer, stomach cancer, or any other form of cancer, you can make a long-term disability claim to protect your income and focus on your health.
Loss of Sight or Hearing:
If you lose your sight or hearing as a chiropractor, you can’t perform your job duties. Both blindness and deafness are covered by long-term disability insurance, and unless you receive medical treatment that can correct the condition, you will likely receive your benefits until retirement.
Some conditions such as heart failure and heart attacks can crop up even if you have a good bill of health. Job stress, eating decisions, and genetics can all pile up and suddenly cause a catastrophe.
In this event, you may be out of work for more than a year and qualify for a long-term claim.
Like your cardiovascular system, your pulmonary system can also develop problems over time due to circumstances out of your control, and disability insurance will protect your income.
Mental health issues may present themselves after years of lying dormant, or they may develop due to events that occur throughout your life. If these issues affect your ability to work, your insurance policy can cover you until the illness is resolved or you retire.
Permanent or Long-Lasting Injuries and Pain:
If you have a career ending injury such as a serious auto accident or otherwise get injured in a way that simply isn’t going to heal enough for you to return to normal life and work, you can make a claim and receive your long-term disability benefits.
This can also apply to more common things such as chronic debilitating pain requiring frequent treatments.
Is Long-Term Disability Insurance Worth it?
While many of the conditions covered by long-term disability insurance may not seem too likely for you, some of them are completely unavoidable such as permanent injuries, and even if you focus on your health as much as humanly possible, you can still be affected by one of the other conditions with zero warning.
So, while long-term disability doesn’t have some of the utility of short-term disability, it is the difference between maintaining the high-quality life you’ve built and quickly spiraling into life-long poverty.
This alone makes long-term disability worth it for chiropractors.
How to Properly Purchase Both Disability Policies
You now know that you need both forms of disability insurance, but it’s not enough to simply buy the most affordable option and consider yourself covered. Being underinsured is just as dangerous as foregoing insurance entirely.
You need disability insurance options that will protect ample coverage regardless of the situations you find yourself in.
To do this, you will need the expert help of an established disability insurance company to guide you throughout the buying process.
At Policy Solver, we have a full team of insurance consultants and a massive network of the highest quality insurers to ensure we can guide you towards the perfect insurance policies for your needs.
If you’re looking for disability insurance, contact Policy Solver, today.
1: Taken from MeetBreeze, 2/24/2022, https://www.meetbreeze.com/disability-insurance/how-much-does-disability-insurance-cost/
2: Taken from MeetBreeze, 2/24/2022, https://www.meetbreeze.com/disability-insurance/short-term-disability-insurance/
3: Taken from Brian So Insurance, 2/24/2022, https://briansoinsurance.com/how-long-does-long-term-disability-insurance-last/