You’ve worked hard to earn your DVM and start a career caring for animals. You probably envision practicing veterinary medicine until it is time to retire, but what if life has other plans? Just as each day working as a vet is unpredictable, the unpredictability of life is exactly why you need disability insurance for practicing veterinarians.
What is the Purpose of Disability Insurance for Practicing Veterinarians?
Everyone understands life insurance, it’s easy. Upon death, the insured person’s benefits get paid out to their beneficiaries. It’s a way to continue providing for loved ones after you are gone. But disability insurance is more difficult to understand. With waiting periods, riders, differing coverages, and meeting qualifications, it can be very confusing.
Simply put, disability insurance protects your income if you should become unable to work due to an unexpected health problem or injury. A permanent disability can be emotionally and financially devastating and can force you into an early retirement you were not prepared for. But permanent disability isn’t the only concern. A temporary injury or illness may disrupt your income stream—and that of your staff—for several weeks or months.
Just a few weeks of missed or reduced appointments could cause you to fall behind financially. Disability insurance can protect you, your practice, and your employees.
Short-Term or Long-Term Disability Insurance Coverage?
The first decision to make is whether you want to purchase a short-term insurance policy or a long-term plan. Short-term disability insurance provides benefits for up to six months. Vets looking for coverage during maternity leave or a debilitating but short-term health crisis might opt for short-term disability insurance. It can make good financial sense if you don’t have enough savings to take you through a planned disability.
In most cases, veterinarians choose long-term disability for the most protection. When planning for long-term coverage, you can customize your policy to meet your personal and professional needs.
Selecting Coverage Options
Exactly what disability insurance covers depends on your individual policy. In general, even a basic policy will replace a large portion of your income, allowing you to cover living expenses like mortgage and car payments and some work-related bills. Riders or “add ons” you might also consider for broader coverage include:
- Future Purchase Option—This rider is typically purchased by students still in veterinarian school or new vets just starting their practice. It enables you to purchase more coverage at a later date without going through the process of underwriting again.
- Business Overhead Expense – If you own or are a partner in your practice, a business overhead expense rider will help you cover monthly business expenses while your illness/injury continues to impede your ability to work.
- Benefit Guarantee – The benefit period for your policy may have a set timeframe of only five or ten years. After that time, the policy is expired unless you select a benefit guarantee to age 65. With this rider, you will be protected throughout your entire career, not just a few years.
- Student Loan Protector — This rider specifically provides money to continue making student loan payments if your income decreases because of disability.
For more information about what disability insurance for veterinarians does and doesn’t cover and how to choose the policy that works best for you, contact us to request a quote or schedule a free consultation.