In the medical profession, you witness firsthand how a person’s life can change in an instant due to a medical condition. Even with this knowledge, some physicians are hesitant to purchase disability insurance. According to PolicyGenius, one in four people will face a long-term disability that will compromise their ability to work. Without a steady paycheck, you may be putting yourself and your family in serious financial peril.
Many financial planners point out that people are far better at planning for their deaths than planning for a disability. In other words, many people buy adequate life insurance without giving a second thought to disability insurance. The following are some objections to purchasing disability insurance that you may need to rethink.
I already have disability insurance. This is true. If you are paying your taxes, you have access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Social Security Administration does provide information and steps to complete their application process if you are eligible. You should, however, research how much you will have access to as part of your benefit. For many doctors, the payout is nowhere near sufficient to support their current lifestyle.
It is expensive. Again, this is true. According to The White Coat Investor you can expect to pay around $2,000-$7,000 per year for coverage—depending on the policy and level of coverage. Although this may seem a steep price to pay, the alternative is to risk the hemorrhaging of your savings.
Speaking of savings, I have an emergency fund that should cover me. A disability follows its own timetable. Even if you have a 6-month buffer through an emergency savings account, this may not be enough. Your disability may extend far longer than 6 months. Furthermore, you may need that emergency fund to supplement medical bills or handle any other unexpected financial issues that pop up.
I’m a doctor. I’m sure there is something else I can do if I’m disabled. The White Coat Investor cautions doctors who think they can reclaim their salary elsewhere should a disability befall them. The nature of the disability may prohibit them from any kind of physical or mental exertion. And, even if they do find a sedentary position such as consulting or writing, the salary may not be comparable.
Talk to an insurance advisor that you trust, line up your income with your spending, and determine what disability policy is right for you. Like all insurance, disability insurance is about mitigating risk. It is not an investment, it is a safety net.