Disability Insurance for Optometrists should cover your exact medical specialty. This type of policy is called “Own-Occupation” Disability Insurance.
But there are other features to look for, especially if you are a business owner. Optional features called “Policy Riders” are vital to ensure Comprehensive Income Protection. Also, separate business-related coverage (called Business Overhead Expense Insurance) is extremely important for those who own a business.
Today’s article will break down everything you need to know about Disability Insurance for Optometrists.
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Own-Occupation Disability Insurance for Optometrists
You have a highly specialized skill set, you need a Disability Policy that covers your exact medical specialty.
There are 2 broad categories for how “Being Disabled” is defined:
- Own-Occupation Definition
- Any-Occupation Definition
As the name implies, Own-Occupation Disability Policies pays benefits if you can’t complete the “day to day activities” of your exact profession.
“Any-Occupation” Policies pay only if you can’t perform “Any Occupation” that you are qualified for. Obviously, this is not ideal for someone with specialized skills which earn them a substantial income.
Take a look at this article for more info on Own-Occupation Disability Insurance.
Own-Occupation Carriers – Disability Insurance for Optometrists
There can be some differences between the various Own-Occupation provisions. Some are better suited for Medical Professionals than others. These are the Main Disability Insurers that an Optometrist should consider.
Others offer Own-Occupation Policies. But in my opinion, these are best suited for an Optometrists needs.
How Much Do I Need? – Disability Insurance for Optometrists
At a minimum, you should cover 70% of your “pre-tax” income. If this amount exceeds $250k per year, you will need to layer a “base policy” with a “high limit policy” to cover any amount over $250k.
There are other considerations too. When Disabled, often Retirement Contributions are put on hold due to added expenses. Some carriers offer a “Retirement Protection Rider”, which pays a set amount into a Qualified Retirement Plan if you become disabled.
But what if you own an Optometry Business? An extended Disability can shutter a previously thriving business. Business Overhead Expense Insurance (BOE for short), will pay the operating expenses of your business if you are disabled. It even provides a “replacement benefit” so you can hire someone of equal skill to replace your job functions.
BOE Insurance is key to ensuring the lights stay on in your Optometry Business.
Key Features You Need – Disability Insurance for Optometrists
Earlier I mentioned the optional “Riders” that must be selected. There are a few core Riders essential for Comprehensive Income Protection.
- Residual Disability Benefit
- Pays partial benefits if you have returned to work, but not on a full-time basis yet
- Partial Disability Benefit
- Pays partial benefits if you are able to work some, but not full-time
- Cost of Living Increase
- Increases benefit payments over time to fight inflation
- Future Income Increase
- Allows an increase of coverage, no questions asked, when income increases
Which Options To Choose? – Disability Insurance for Optometrists
The “Benefit Period” is the length of time a policy will pay benefits while Disabled.
Choices are usually 5 years, 10 years, to Age 65, Age 67, or Age 70.
Obviously, the ideal solution is a policy that covers you until age 65 or 67. But if there are budget related issues, you could choose a 5-year or 10-year policy. Or you can choose a smaller benefit lasting until retirement. Either way, something is better than nothing.
The “Elimination Period” is the length of time you must be disabled before Benefits trigger. Essentially, this is the amount of time you must pay for expenses out of savings.
Common choices are 30, 60, 90, or 180 days. I usually recommend a 60 or 90 day Elimination Period unless you have cash savings well in excess of 6 months living expenses.
Health Considerations & Disability Insurance
If you have a Health Condition, this can affect your chances of being approved for a Disability Policy. The best way to avoid any issues is to be completely open and upfront with your advisor about any medications, chronic conditions, or major medical procedures you may have had in the past 5-10 years. This allows them to pair you with the carrier that is “friendliest” to your specific medical history.
Some health conditions are not a big deal with Disability Insurance and should not affect your decision making when choosing a company. For certain conditions, choosing the right carrier can be a make or break decision.
Disability Insurance Application Process
The Application Process for Disability Insurance is fairly easy. The initial application can be completed and even signed online. All while sitting at your desk or on your couch.
Most policies will require a brief medical exam. A certified nurse will visit your home or office for this. You may also choose to visit their offices.
The insurance company will request your medical records. They will also call you and conduct a brief 15-minute phone interview about your job duties and medical history.
After evaluating all of this, they will decide if you are approved or not. Upon approval, you are assigned a “Health Rating”. This will dictate the final cost of the policy.
That covers the basics when it comes to Disability Insurance for Optometrists. Hopefully, you found this article helpful. If you have questions or need Quotes, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help no matter which state you live in.
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Thanks for reading and have a great day!