Your health is your wealth
For many, the most valuable financial asset is their ability to earn an income. Any unforeseen injury or illness halting this income can significantly impact one’s financial stability. Both disability and critical illness insurance provide solutions to protect against these common, yet unpredictable life events.
Disability insurance and critical insurance do compliment each other well, but neither one acts as a replacement to the other. They both play very integral roles as part of proper insurance and financial planning.
Life Insurance addresses the financial impact associated with the risk of death, whereas these two coverages address the risk of living with an unexpected illness, injury, or disability.
It’s important to understand the differences between each of these policies.
Sometimes referred to as “cancer insurance”, pays a lump sum benefit after the diagnosis and survival of one of the covered conditions in the contract.
Sometimes referred to as “income protection”, pays an ongoing monthly benefit, that allows you to continue to meet your ongoing financial obligations during a period of injury or sickness.
From a risk management perspective, disability insurance is often considered more important than critical illness insurance. This is particularly true when income replacement is necessary to maintain a current lifestyle and protect future earnings.
Disability insurance provides ongoing monthly income replacement if you are unable to work, whereas critical illness insurance pays a one-time lump sum amount after the diagnosis and survival of one of the covered conditions.
For instance, if you were 40 years old and earning $150,000 a year, your income potential up to age 65 would be $3,750,000, even without factoring in pay increases. Future income is often people’s largest asset, yet many fail to insure it adequately.
Consider this scenario: if you had a machine in your basement capable of printing $3.75M, wouldn’t you ensure it was properly insured against breakdowns?
Critical Illness Insurance pays a lump sum benefit after the diagnosis and survival of one of the covered conditions in the contract. The typical survival period required for payment is 30 days. Many plans include coverage for the following list of conditions:
- Heart Attack
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Bypass Surgery
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Kidney Failure
- Aortic Surgery
- Benign Brain Tumour
- Heart Valve Replacement
- Loss of Limbs
- Loss of Speech
- Major Organ Transplantation
- Major Organ Transplantation Waiting List
- Motor Neuron Disease (ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Occupational HIV injury
- Severe Burns
- Coronary Angioplasty
- Ductal Carcinoma in Situ of the Breast
- Early Stage Prostate Cancer
Cancer accounts for approximately 70% of all paid claims, and 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer at some point in their life, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
There are several reasons why you might consider investing in an individual long-term disability policy, even if you already have coverage through your employer:
Income Replacement Percentage: Employer-provided disability coverage often covers only a portion of your salary (commonly around 60%-66.67%), and up to a maximum. If the employer is paying the cost of the insurance, this would further reduce the replacement percentage of income that you would receive if you were unable to work.
Own Occupation versus Any Occupation: Some employer-provided plans may have limitations, such as only covering you in your “own occupation” for the first two years of a claim.
Partially versus Fully Disabled: Many group benefit plans exclude claims where you may be able to work part time, based on your health condition.
Dividend versus T4 Income: Many groups benefit plans do not include “dividend income” defined as insurable earnings.
Job Changes: Employer-provided disability coverage typically ends when your employment ends.
Customization & Control: An individual policy allows you to customize your coverage based on your specific needs. By owning your own policy, you remain in control of the coverage. Disability coverage on a group benefits plan can be altered or removed at any time by your employer.
It’s important to discuss your specific situation with your insurance professional before deciding.
Many policies include a built-in feature that allows for access to a second medical opinion from a renowned network of the world’s top medical specialist. This feature can be utilized at your discretion if you are experiencing a medical condition and would like to gather more information. It can help confirm your diagnosis and ensure you have the right information when you need it most.
The money received from a critical illness claim is tax-free, and you can use it as you please. Common uses of claim payouts include:
· Replacing lost income.
· Paying for regular monthly expenses.
· Replacing your partner’s income from lost work time, if applicable.
· Allowing for quick testing and/or better treatment options outside the Canadian healthcare system.
The benefit truly allows you and your family to focus entirely on recovery – both physically and emotionally – alleviating worries about immediate financial obligations.
Your Health is your Wealth
Group Benefits I Life Insurance I Group Retirement
All plans in the marketplace are not created equally. It is important to work with with an experienced advisor who can educate you on the differences, and ensure that the coverage will be there for when you need it most.