You know you need insurance to help protect you from the unexpected. You carry auto insurance because you acknowledge the possibility of an accident, theft, or vandalism. You carry homeowner’s insurance because you know a fire or burglary could happen to anyone. You probably have life insurance because you know that if the worst should happen, your family would need to be provided for and you realize that it could happen at any time. And yet, many people don’t carry long-term disability insurance. You know that you are at as much risk as anyone of an accident or illness sidelining you from working, so why not carry coverage to protect you from this possibility?
With all of the insurance we are required by law to carry or have been told we can’t live without, it can seem like it’s just yet another policy you have to pay for and yet another premium coming out of your bank account, all based on “what if?” Long-term disability insurance is often the policy that falls through the cracks or is simply dropped because people don’t want to pay another premium.
But before you discount disability insurance, consider the reality of what would happen if you were disabled for a long period of time. Your workplace benefits could potentially provide you with some coverage, however, many times it may not be as much coverage as you may think. A long-term disability policy gives you extended coverage for the difficult situation of an illness or injury that you can’t simply get over in a matter of weeks. Without it, you could lose your home, your car, and your entire lifestyle, all while trying to take care of your health.
The Cost of Long-Term Disability
If you don’t have an LTD policy because you feel the premiums are too high or not worth it, take a moment to think about what it will cost you if you do not have the policy and do become disabled. Without your salary, even with whatever benefits you have from work or other sources, your life will change completely. You won’t be able to afford the things you are used to having. Not only will you be facing the difficulty of trying to recover and take care of yourself, you will have to struggle to pay the bill and face the stress of losing things that are dear to you.
How Do You Define a Disability?
You don’t need to be hit by a bus to be considered disabled. In fact, less than 10% of disabilities are caused by accidents. Would you consider depression or anxiety to be a disability? Many policies do. It’s not about the type of illness or injury one may have, it’s how that injury or illness impacts one’s ability to earn a living. Some policies will also pay a proportionate amount of the benefit if your income went down by 20% due to a disability, even if you are still working full time. This is very important for those on commission or fee for service, where they can still work but may not be as effective as they once were.
If It’s So Important, Why Hasn’t my Current Broker Discussed Disability Insurance with Me?
The fact of the matter is that a majority of insurance brokers in Canada do not actively sell disability insurance. The industry has thrown around statistics that only 5-10% of brokers sell disability insurance. Complexity of the product, strict underwriting and lack of knowledge are a few of the reasons why many brokers have chosen not to incorporate this product into their everyday practice. If a client asks for the coverage, of course that broker would be more than happy to oblige. However, if a client is asking for the coverage, there is typically a reason why they want it which may lead to a modified policy that the client won’t accept or the policy could be declined altogether. That experience alone can turn many brokers off selling disability. The few of us that are true specialists in disability insurance can help set proper expectations up front while negotiating with underwriters and different carriers to help secure the best coverage for our clients.
Long-term disability insurance is the one policy too many of us do not have that we absolutely need. Don’t wait until it’s too late; talk to an insurance broker that specializes in disability insurance today.
By Jeff Romansky
CHS, CPCA Principal, SecurePlan Insurance Solutions
Jeff started his insurance career in 2006 by helping hundreds of insurance advisors grow their business by providing them with comprehensive advice, consultation and training. After nine successful years, he decided to take his knowledge and start his own practice to ensure his clients are getting the best advice. His office is based in Grimsby, ON and he serves clients throughout Southwestern Ontario and the GTA.