By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor
I received from a call from a physician this week in the mid-stages of his career. The call began with, “I should have listened to you years ago about purchasing personal disability insurance. I realize that it will now be very expensive, but I also realize that I need it. Can you please get some quotes for me?”.
As our member residents graduate, we make great effort to educate them on the importance of having personal disability insurance in place prior to embarking on the next step of their career journey. At no other time will coverage be more affordable and easier to obtain. Our resident physicians are automatically entitled to a base amount of benefits, and substantial discounts are offered by each of the “Big 5” personal disability insurers for physicians. Once coverage is in place, the cost for these base benefits cannot be changed for life.
It makes a world of sense to get this coverage while you are young and healthy, as premiums are based on age and medical health history. We encourage our physicians to add options like the Future Increase Option, which will allow them to increase their coverage to keep up with their rising income, without any additional medical underwriting. We also advise implementing the Cost of Living Adjustment rider on the policy, which will ensure that benefits received keep pace with rates of inflation.
The physician who called me was making a career change and had lost his employer group disability benefits. This is another common occurrence we see on a regular basis. In addition, most employer group benefits coverage have limits, which can be much lower than one’s true current income.
Our resident physicians have worked extremely hard to earn their biggest asset… their income! With all of our other valuable assets, we do not think twice about protecting them. If student loans were incurred for this achievement, we can even design coverage to make these payments in the event of a disability!
We express a heartfelt “CONGRATULATIONS” to our resident graduates! During this time of celebration, take a moment to look back on times when we should have listened to our parents, teachers, or mentors. Pay particular attention to what fellow member physicians communicate to us on a far too common basis. “I should have listened.”