Although you might have general insurance, it’s still important to consider disability insurance for soon to be veterinarians. Veterinarians spend years of hard work in school to get their DVM — which is not a cheap affair. Should you get sick or get involved in an accident, disability insurance will step in to replace your lost earnings. But do graduating veterinarians need insurance?
It’s essential to choose a disability insurance plan specific to your occupation. That way, should you become too sick or injured to work in your veterinary specialty, you can switch to another specialty or occupation altogether and continue receiving benefits. The common term used for such policies is own occupation, regular occupation, or your occupation.
There are other riders apart from own occupation. Among them is the residual or partial disability benefits. Once you enter into veterinary practice, you might sustain an injury that can be managed but still gets in the way of your day-to-day life. For instance, you might only be able to work for a limited time or forego some duties. In that case, the residual benefits help fill the gap between your pre- and post-illness income.
Should you get on a future increase rider, you can increase your disability policy up to the stated limit without having your health re-examined.
There are several types of disability insurance for veterinarians. Some types will be provided by your employer, while some you have to buy independently. Here’s a breakdown:
With long-term disability insurance, you receive monthly benefits if you become too ill or disabled to continue your veterinary practice. The benefit period can last anywhere from two years to your retirement. You can expect the benefits to be around 60% of your gross monthly income.
As the name suggests, short-term disability insurance doesn’t last as long, rendering it not so appealing to new veterinarians. It usually lasts for up to one year and covers around 60% of your pre-tax income. In most cases, your employer will cover your short-term disability insurance.
Your insurance benefits can fall under two categories: group or individual. You are most likely to get group disability insurance if you land a job with an employer that foots the premiums. These benefits are taxable and are only actionable for as long as you work for that employer. Most group policies require you to be totally disabled to reap the benefits.
An individual cover is a portable policy. It’s also non-cancelable, as long as you pay your premiums on time. However, the insurer can be picky, which can be quite discouraging for up and coming be veterinarians. But that has a good side: once they approve you, you can enjoy more liberal policy provisions.
Another notable benefit of individual disability insurance is that the benefits are usually tax-free if you pay with personal income. Besides, you can use it to supplement your group disability benefits.
There is no easy answer when deciding between group and individual policies. An excellent place to start for emerging veterinarians would be assessing their financial situation to gauge how long they can survive without income.
In the case of disability insurance for veterinarians, you might not have so much money in your savings. You probably don’t have a retirement fund yet. The fact that you still have a long way ahead in your career translates to a more extended period of vulnerability. In that case, you need a long-term cover and one that doesn’t potentially tie you down to one employer. For more information, contact a company that provides the right coverage for soon to be veterinarians.