Disability Insurance for Veterinarians: Protecting Your Practice From Unexpected Events

If you just started your career in veterinary medicine, you want to protect your income in case you are unable to work due to an injury or illness. Disability insurance is the safety net you need to protect your income-earning prospects. Here is everything you need to know about disability insurance for recently graduated veterinarians:

Types of Disability Insurance

There are two broad categories of disability insurance: short-term and long-term. Short-term disability insurance provides coverage for a short period, usually a few weeks to a few months after disability. This coverage is helpful if you must take a temporary leave of absence from work due to a disability. Long-term disability insurance provides coverage for a more extended period. This insurance policy kicks in after the period covered by short-term insurance ends, and coverage may last several years or up to retirement. This insurance policy can be helpful for veterinarians with chronic conditions or a long-term disability. 

How Disability Insurance Works

Disability insurance for recently graduated veterinarians protects your income if you cannot work due to an illness or injury. Your disability insurance coverage pays a percentage of your income enough to cover your bills and medical expenses. The compensation you get from your insurance provider is untaxed unless paid in part by your employer. Disability insurance providers require you to pay monthly or yearly premiums based on your health, the length of coverage, and the benefit amount. 

Every disability insurance provider has a definition for what classifies as disability. Generally, an own-occupation definition qualifies you for compensation if a disability prevents you from working in careers related to veterinary care. An any-occupation definition allows coverage if a disability keeps you from working in any occupation, including non-veterinarian jobs. 

There is a waiting period between when you are disabled and when you start getting your disability insurance benefits. The waiting period is usually shorter with short-term disability insurance and longer with long-term insurance.  

Disability Insurance Considerations 

There are many disability insurance providers with different policies and requirements. Consider the following factors to get a disability insurance policy that meets your needs:

Group or Individual Coverage

If you are employed, you can have a group policy provided by your employer. With this policy, you and your employer pay a portion of the insurance premiums, which may help save on costs. Since your employer covers group insurance, it is only valid for the period you work for them. 

Individual coverage is ideal for recently graduated veterinarians who work independently. An individual insurance policy remains valid even if you stop working independently. Individual policy premiums may vary depending on a person’s health, age, and risk of injury. 

Definition of Disability 

Consider whether insurance providers sell own-occupation or any-occupation policies before purchasing insurance. An own-occupation policy works well for short-term coverage as you get compensation based on your job at the time of disability. After a defined period, insurance providers consider whether a disability prevents you from working under any occupation before awarding benefits. Under the any-occupation policy, you may be able to get compensation for your former salary, even when working another job. 

Riders and Add-ons

Before purchasing insurance, ask your providers about additional benefits or provisions that enhance your policy. Consider factors like cost-of-living adjustments to account for inflation and future coverage increase as your income grows. Residual disability coverage is also beneficial for partial disability. If you are a recent graduate, you can benefit from a student loan protection provision. This provision extends your benefit amount to cover student debt payments for a specified period. 

Coverage Percentage of Income 

The monthly benefits offered vary depending on the insurance provider. Ask what percentage of your income a disability insurance policy covers to determine if it would be enough to cover your needs. Individual insurance policies have higher premiums, usually covering a larger percentage of your income than group policies.

Get Disability Insurance for Recently Graduated Veterinarians

Disability insurance is a valuable financial planning tool when starting your career in veterinary medicine. Understanding the available insurance policies and options helps you get insurance covering your present and future income. Consult a disability insurance expert for more guidance on disability insurance options for veterinarians. 

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