Disability insurance for the self-employed – Protection for entrepreneurs

Being your own boss has a number of advantages. The freedom to set your own schedule, control over customer and business relationships along with a sense of liberation are some of the key reasons why more and more Canadians are embarking on the path of self-employment. Being self-employed has its list of challenges, including health insurance and more specifically… disability insurance.

Losing the safety net of an employee benefit program offered by large employers is challenging and sometimes costly. Buying disability insurance through a group plan has lower rates, no medical exams, and no financial insurance, but once you leave the group plan to become self-employed, the rules change! Rates are higher, acceptance wants more details, and you may need to undergo a medical. This new set of hoops to jump through is often why most self-employed people shy away from getting any kind of comprehensive health care.

An estimated 15% of Canada’s workforce is self-employed. A recent survey showed that more than 500,000 Canadians said they had started their own businesses in the past two years, which is a record number. (CIBC study, Globe & Mail). Failure to set up proper disability coverage to protect one’s ability to earn an income can have consequences. Disability insurance helps protect your business (overheads) and family in the event you can’t go to work, an important building block to consider if you’re self-employed.

You may earn more than you would work for someone else, but what if you get sick? Or do you have an accident that temporarily or permanently prevents you from earning income? You will likely have some medical expenses and personal expenses and your accounts payable may not be as patient as you hoped. This is where a well-structured disability insurance plan can create a safety net so you can focus on getting back to good health and take the time you need from work.

While most entrepreneurs in their 40s and 50s are more aware of their own mortality, there has been a marked increase in the number of entrepreneurs starting their own businesses in their 20s or 30s. While encouraging for the economy, it’s important not to forget the benefits and importance of a well-structured disability plan.

A simple question to ask yourself is, how do you plan to live if you can’t earn an income? Or rather, how are you going to support your dependents, pay your staff or pay your operating costs if you can no longer earn an income?