Do veterinarians need short-term disability coverage?

Short-term disability is a way to provide protection in the event that someone becomes temporarily disabled. The coverage replaces some or most of your income in the event that you are unable to work due to illness or injury. The amount of coverage you get and the amount that you’re able to receive as a portion of your income will all depend on the coverage that you receive. Short-term disability is incredibly helpful for veterinarians who may be more at risk for illness and injury as a result of their job.

Understanding Short Term Disability Insurance

Veterinarians — especially those who own their own practices — may consider short-term disability insurance as a way to protect themselves if they get hurt. While there are other types of insurance such as business continuity coverage to protect the business if they are unable to work, these coverages do not provide income. If you are injured or become ill to the point that you cannot work, you may not receive any income without short-term disability insurance.

When selecting your coverage, it’s important to find a policy that will provide you with enough money to cover your expenses. Even though short-term disability only provides a portion of your missing income, it’s wise to get as close to your income amount as possible. Your disability coverage can be used for things like:

  • Your personal rent or mortgage payment
  • Medications and treatments not covered by health insurance
  • Any other living or personal expenses

Short-term disability does not cover business expenses if you are the owner of your practice. It will only replace your income and not lost business revenue as a result of your disability. The United States’ Disability Services division offers a more detailed look at short-term disability coverage in general.

Group Coverage

Group coverage allows you to offer short-term disability coverage to your employees. Depending on your practice size and the state you live in, you may be required to provide coverage to employees. If you live in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island, your state laws may have requirements for employers to provide short-term disability. Aside from required coverage, offering it is a perk that you can work into your benefits package and is an attractive option for potential employees.

Risks for Veterinarians

As a veterinarian, you put yourself at risk each day that you go into your practice. While the majority of your patients are harmless (if not a little disgruntled at a trip to the vet), there’s always the chance that you will get an aggressive dog, a cat with a transmissible disease, or a variety of one-off situations. These all put you at risk for disability in your day-to-day career and can increase the risks that are associated with your job. A disease can be difficult to recover from. An injury may have a very long healing process. Or, you may suffer from complications of either one. If you have to be off of work as a result of either illness or injury just from doing your job and you don’t have the right coverage, you can put yourself in a bad financial position.

In addition to the risks that you face in your veterinarian practice each day, there are also additional risks that could happen outside of work. Unlike worker’s compensation that only covers job-related injuries, short-term disability provides coverage for illness or injuries acquired outside of your work as a veterinarian.

Reviewing Your Short-Term Disability Coverage

If you have purchased short-term disability coverage in the past, it can be easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that you’re covered. While your short-term disability policy may have provided sufficient coverage in the past, it might not be the right coverage for you if you have continued to expand your career and grow your income. Ensuring you have coverage that adequately matches your income can help prevent you from losing money just because of an illness or injury.

The first thing to look at when reviewing your coverage is what your plan covers. Every policy can vary and the type of illness and injury that it covers can have an impact on your protection in the event that something happens. Break down your policy and find out what it is going to cover if you are hurt or become sick. If your policy is not adequate, it may be time to make changes to ensure you’re covered.

In addition to what your policy covers, you may want to also find out how much it covers. While short-term disability will typically provide a percentage of your income if you are not able to work, it may not be enough to protect you. This is especially true if you purchased coverage as a new veterinarian and then advanced your career to the point where you’re making more money. You should adjust your policy to meet your needs as you change and grow in your career, and purchase additional coverage if necessary.

Whether you need to upgrade your policy, purchase a new plan, or get group coverage for your veterinary practice, choosing the right coverage is essential. Don’t leave anything up to chance and work with Loyall Group to get the custom policy that’s tailored to your situation. Get a free short-term disability quote.