As a consultant, you’re probably used to long days in a home office or rented office space contacting clients, managing your workflow, and trying to grow your business. You’re not exactly putting yourself in harm’s way on a daily basis. So, you don’t need disability insurance, right?
Well, while it may not seem obvious, consultants are one of the main groups that need to focus on receiving a private disability insurance policy the most.
There are a number of underlying reasons for this, but a proper disability insurance policy should be incorporated into your insurance portfolio as soon as possible.
Let’s look at why you need disability insurance for consultants.
What is Disability Insurance?
When you think of disability insurance, you probably think of insurance covering a major injury such as losing a limb, breaking bones, or suffering a heart attack or stroke that keeps you from going to work for an extended period of time.
Those things are all covered by disability insurance policies, but did you know that the majority of disability claims are made due to illness instead of freak accidents? In fact, 90% of them are claimed due to illness; not a work-related accident ((1)).
Disability insurance can be used for much more than simply work-related injuries, but we’ll cover each instance a claim can be made for later on.
Why Do Consultants Need Disability Insurance?
As a consultant, you most likely work in more alone or as a sub-contractor, and you make your money from each client engagement. This offers you a remarkable amount of space to grow, but it has its downsides, too.
First, while you can have an extremely high earning potential free of the limitations of hourly work, you must work to receive that wage. If you get sick for an extended period, which is getting more common in 2023, your income can suddenly stop. However, your bills and basic needs will not, and you may have medical bills or other expenses accruing as part of your attempts to get back to work. This can quickly spiral out of control regardless of what you have in savings.
Then, you have to consider that you are not eligible for the group insurance policies that traditional employers provide. You don’t have coverage unless you pay for it, and taking on the full burden of a sudden illness can be financially devastating.
Finally, you aren’t likely to put yourself in physical danger at your consulting job, you are just as likely to experience a serious illness as anyone else. The Covid-19 pandemic has been known to have long-term effects that leave people out of work for months ((2)), the flu can cause weeks of profit losses, and other common things may keep you out of work for an extended period. While you’re unlikely to get injured on the job, you can get sick, and disability insurance can provide much-needed relief in that event.
How Much Does Disability Insurance for Consultants Cost?
Disability insurance is another form of insurance that gets more expensive with age. After all, a 60-year-old is more likely to develop a disabling injury or illness than a 25-year-old. So, if you’re a fairly young consultant between the ages of 24 and 50, you can expect to pay slightly more than $1000 per year. Between the ages of 50 and 60, that rate is likely to double, and after 60, you may be paying triple or more for the same quality of policy ((3)). Of course, everyone’s situation varies, and you’ll want to consult with a good insurance agent to help you understand your specific costs based on your individual needs.
You’ll want disability insurance regardless of your age as a consultant to protect your income, but it’s a lot cheaper to get sooner rather than later. However, keep in mind that most policies can be adjusted to match your age over the years.
How Does Disability Insurance Work?
Different disability policies will have their own requirements, but in general, they all include annual premiums, and you have to make a claim before you will be entitled to benefits. Luckily, disability insurance tends to kick in quickly. Short-term disability insurance, which you’re most likely to need before long-term disability insurance becomes a necessity. It typically only requires a couple of weeks to a month to be reviewed and approved upon you making a claim.
After your claim is approved, if you have a short-term disability policy, you will usually get between two weeks to six months of coverage. Beyond that, it becomes more appropriate to use a long-term disability policy or a different form of insurance altogether given your unique circumstances ((4)).
Differences Between Long-Term Disability and Short-Term Disability Insurance:
There are actually two types of disability insurance for you to consider as a consultant. Both can be useful and cover many of the same types of things, but the difference is how long they’re able to sustain you.
Short-Term Disability Insurance:
Short-term disability insurance is easily the main policy type that you want to hold as a consultant. While long-term disabilities are possible, short-term disability insurance covers a fairly substantial amount of time, and it’s more than enough to cover the illnesses you should expect in your life.
For short-term disability, you can expect to get coverage for up to six months. This is usually enough for the most common ailments you’re likely to suffer.
Long-Term Disability Insurance:
Long-term disability is much more comprehensive, and it’s meant to provide with up to 80% of your normal income for anywhere from six months to several years ((5)).
Long-term disability insurance covers a few more conditions and provides some extra benefits, but it’s also the less-likely form of disability insurance to become necessary. This is for when you develop a serious disability that can keep you from performing your consulting duties for years at a time. It’s also more expensive to maintain in comparison to a short-term policy.
What Does Disability Insurance Cover?
Both long-term and short-term disability insurance policies can cover a large variety of conditions. We’ll note all of them here.
Short-Term Disability Insurance Benefits:
Short-term disability policies cover things that you can typically recover from within six months, but they can also be useful while you wait on the much long approval process of a long-term disability policy.
50% to 100% of your normal income may be covered by a short-term disability policy.
14 days to 6 months, but up to 52 weeks is possible if waiting for long-term disability coverage.
- Heart attacks
- Car accidents
- Extreme flu
- At-home recovery period
- Extreme illness
Long-Term Disability Insurance Coverage:
Long-term disability insurance is much more comprehensive, and it tends to cover more circumstances. If something is unlikely to go away for an extended period and prevents you from working, it’s likely covered by your long-term disability policy.
Up to 80% of normal income.
6 months to several years.
- Lung diseases
- Chronic pain
- Neurological disorders
- Degenerative back conditions
- Parkinson’s Diseases
- Autoimmune disorders
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
As you can see, the disabilities covered by long-term policies tend to be far more life-changing, and they can even lead to death; whereas short-term policies tend to cover things that are serious but not likely to go on for years at a time. You should know what does disability insurance cover.
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Who is Short-Term Disability Ideal for?
Short-term disability for consultants is basically a must-have part of your portfolio. Without a traditional employer covering your insurance needs, you can lose massive amounts of income due to something that only takes a month or two to heal from, and a short-term insurance policy can prevent that.
While some of the long-term disability conditions are riskier for older adults, almost all of the things covered by a short-term policy are valid concerns for just about anyone.
Not to mention, pregnancy is covered by short-term disability policies; making it possible for child-bearing consultants to take the time off necessary for proper prenatal or post-natal care without losing out on income that is more necessary than ever before.
Because of this, a short-term disability policy is recommended for any consultant regardless of their age, and if you’re young, it’s not a major investment, anyways.
Who is Long-Term Disability Ideal for?
Long-term disability isn’t as much of a necessity if you’re a fairly young consultant. Most of the issues you’re likely to be affected by are covered by a short-term disability policy.
However, as you age, the chances of you suffering one of the illnesses covered by long-term disability insurance will increase. This makes it a more attractive option as each year passes, and it can be ideal to search for long-term disability insurance as you are near the age when your health is likely to take a downturn on the flip of a dime.
This gives you a bit of room to reasonably forego long-term disability insurance if you’re at the beginning of your career, young, and in great health, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely safe from suffering a long-term disability condition. So, if you can afford it based on your income, it’s good practice to purchase a policy as soon as possible. You can even purchase a lower quality and cheaper long-term disability policy if you’re unlikely to use it, and then increase your coverage as time goes on and your chances of needing it are increased.
Who Doesn’t Need Disability Insurance?
Disability insurance is meant to reimburse you for lost income due to illnesses and injuries that put you out of work. If you’re no longer working thanks to retirement, there’s no need to get a disability insurance policy. However, that is the perfect time to look into other types of insurance such as Long term care insurance which will cover the cost of the treatment you’re likely to need at that age.
Is Disability Insurance for Consultants Worth it?
It should be obvious from the information you’ve read here so far that disability insurance for consultants isn’t just worth it, but it’s practically a necessity.
You don’t have the fail-safes in place that conventional employees have, and you must protect your income. While the average consultant will pay the $1000+ annual premium we highlighted earlier, that premium is far outweighed by the potential for lost income if you become horribly ill without coverage.
However, while a short-term disability policy is worth it for any consultant regardless of income level or age, the same cannot be said about a long-term disability insurance policy. It’s worth it if you’re capable of paying the higher premiums comfortably and may end up needing it, but for younger consultants who are just beginning to build wealth, it’s a large annual investment for something they are far less likely to use for the time being.
How to Purchase Disability Insurance for Consultants
Purchasing disability insurance forces you to take a lot of personal factors into account and heavily research the various policies available from different providers. This is all a lot to consider, and one inappropriate decision may leave you with undesirable coverage.
This is where consulting services such as Policy Solver come into play.
You can speak to a qualified insurance specialist with the tools, software, and knowledge necessary to guide you through the complicated insurance industry with ease, and we can work with you to find the exact policies that suit your needs while keeping you from paying for things you won’t use or things that simply aren’t worth the expense.
For these reasons, before you go to purchase a disability insurance policy, make sure you contact Policy Solver and consult a qualified specialist. You’ll get better coverage at a lower cost, and it’ll pay off when it counts the most.
1: Taken from Simply Insurance, 02/10/2022, https://www.simplyinsurance.com/disability-statistics/
2: Taken from Very Well Health, 02/10/2022, https://www.verywellhealth.com/long-covid-unable-to-return-to-work-after-six-months-5095372
3: Taken from Rebecca Shoenthal at PolicyGenius, 02/10/2022, https://www.policygenius.com/disability-insurance/disability-insurance-rates-by-age/
4: Taken from Disability Can Happen, 02/10/2022, https://blog.disabilitycanhappen.org/short-term-vs-long-term-disability/
5: Taken from Newsweek, 02/10/2022, https://www.newsweek.com/amplify/everything-you-need-know-about-long-term-disability-insurance