AVMA LIFE Educational Resources

5 Reasons You Don't Have Disability Insurance (And Why You Should Reconsider)

Posted on 11/1/2018 by AVMA LIFE
image

Though 65% of people agree most individuals need disability insurance to protect their income, only 48% believe they need it personally. And an even smaller percentage—20% to be exact—actually have it.1

Why the disconnect? The reasons are far and wide:

I'm young. I'm healthy. I'm not engaged in high-risk activities. The government will bail me out.

But the reality is, no matter your age, gender, or hobbies, a disability can happen. And if it does, it's important to be prepared.

Below are five common reasons people fail to buy disability insurance, and why these excuses are misguided.

Reason 1: You suffer from "it won't happen to me" syndrome.

We like to think of ourselves as rational decision-makers who actively plan for the worst. We install home security systems, keep a spare tire in our cars, and pack a rain coat when the skies turn gray.

But despite these precautions, most of us expect things to turn out great.

This phenomenon—the belief that the future will be better than the past or present—is called optimism bias.2 And according to neuroscience and social science, most people have this tendency.

We overestimate the probability of good things happening to us, and underestimate the likelihood of undesirable experiences.

Take marriage for instance. Over 40% of marriages end in divorce.3 But ask any newlywed the likelihood of their marriage ending in a divorce, and they'll say zero.

It's the same with disabilities. Most don't believe one could ever happen to them. But the reality is, it can. And it does.

In fact, you have a 3 in 10 chance of suffering a disability that keeps you out of work for 90 days or more at some point during your career.4

And if you're young, the likelihood is even greater. The Social Security Administration estimates that 1 in 4 of today's 20-year-olds will suffer a disability before they retire.5

Do you want to bet against those odds?

Reason 2: You think you have a greater chance of being sued than suffering a disability.

Many young veterinarians are concerned with the threat of a lawsuit. And rightly so.

After all, it only takes one complaint against your veterinary license—even if it's frivolous or false—to cause a costly and reputation-damaging legal battle.

As such, it's a smart idea to protect your career with professional liability coverage. But what's just as important as shielding your career from lawsuits? Protecting your paycheck with disability insurance.

Contrary to popular belief, you are much more likely to experience a disability than a lawsuit during your career.

In fact, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) found that approximately 1 out of every 19 practicing veterinarians reported a potential malpractice claim in 2011.6

But as you've already learned, 1 in 4 of today's 20-year-olds will suffer a disability before they retire.

That's a huge difference.

So, do yourself a favor. Get covered for both scenarios.

Reason 3: You think disability insurance is too expensive.

People tend to wildly overestimate the cost of disability insurance. And the truth is, it can be expensive.

But when you purchase your coverage through AVMA LIFE Trust, you'll benefit from the group purchasing power of thousands of veterinarians across the country.

This means you'll experience rates that are competitively priced. What's more, AVMA LIFE hasn't increased rates in over 30 years!

Why? Because we believe whole-heartedly in the importance of this coverage, and want it to be accessible to as many people as possible.

To see what disability insurance may cost for you, contact an AVMA LIFE representative at 800-621-6360.

Reason 4: You don't understand what a disability is.

What do you think of when you hear the word disability?

A debilitating car accident? A paralyzing fall? An animal appointment gone wrong?

Many falsely believe injuries are the most common cause of a disability. But in reality, 90% of disabilities are due to illnesses, not accidents.5

In fact, mental health problems account for nearly 10% of all long-term disabilities.7

And as a veterinarian, this should be cause for concern.

Research shows your line of work makes you more susceptible to mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression.8

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey of more than 10,000 practicing veterinarians, which revealed that 6.8% of male veterinarians have serious psychological distress compared with 3.5% of U.S. male adults.8 That's nearly twice as many!

The numbers are even higher for females. Nearly 2.5 times more female veterinarians suffer from psychological distress than the average female adult.8

A student AVMA task force researched the prevalence of mental health issues among students, specifically. Their survey of nearly 3,900 veterinary students revealed:9

  • • 67% had experienced a period of depression
  • • 37% had experienced a period of depression of longer than two weeks, which meets the clinical definition of depression
  • • 60% had a family history of depression, anxiety, or substance abuse
  • • 47% had a personal history of depression, anxiety, or substance abuse
  • • 25% were taking medication for diagnosed depression or anxiety

Given the prevalence of poor mental health and well-being within the veterinary profession, you should consider purchasing disability insurance.

Plus, mental disorders are just one possible cause of a disability claim. There's also cancer, heart disease, stroke, and a host of other illnesses and injuries that could affect your ability to work.

Reason 5: You believe workers' compensation or Social Security will pay the bills.

Between workers' compensation and Social Security benefits, you may think you're safe from the financial burden of a disability.

But workers' compensation only covers injuries or illnesses that happen at your job. And according to a claims review study conducted by the Council for Disability Awareness, only 5% of disabilities occur in the workplace.5

If you think Social Security benefits will cover the 95% of disabilities that occur outside of the workplace, you'd be wrong.

About 65% of applications for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied, and the average monthly payment for current beneficiaries, $1,111, is barely above the poverty line.5

Next Steps

Have the facts above caused you to reconsider your need for disability insurance?

If so, take a closer look at the disability plans available to you through AVMA LIFE Trust.

And if you're still not convinced or have questions, call an AVMA LIFE representative at 800.621.6360. They're very knowledgeable and are happy to help!

1Andrews, Michelle. “Why A Long-Term-Disability Policy Is More Important Than Pet Insurance.” NPR, National Public Radio, Inc., 11 Oct. 2017.

2Cherry, Kendra. “Understanding the Optimism Bias.” Verywell Mind, Dotdash, 3 November 2018.

3DePaulo, Bella. “What Is the Divorce Rate, Really?” Psychology Today, Psychology Today, 2 Feb. 2017.

4Farm Bureau Financial Services. “4 Types of People Who Need Disability Insurance.” Farm Bureau Financial Services, FBL Financial, 26 Mar. 2018.

5Life Happens. What You Need to Know About Disability Insurance. Arlington: Life Happens, 2017. Life Happens. Life Happens, 2017. Web.

6Kramer, Mary Hope. “Veterinary Malpractice.” The Balance, The Balance, 14 Feb. 2017.

7Council for Disability Awareness. “Disability Statistics.” Council for Disability Awareness, Council for Disability Awareness, 28 March 2018.

8Larkin, Malinda. “Study: 1 in 6 veterinarians have considered suicide.” AVMA, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1 Apr. 2015.

9Larkin, Malinda. “Studies confirm poor well-being in veterinary professionals, students.” AVMA, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1 May 2016.

1825096

Comments

Latest Webinars

Cyber Solutions for Your Practice

Featuring AVMA Trust veterinarian Dr. Nina Mouledous, HUB International Senior Vice President of Cyber Liability Emily Selck and Stratosphere Networks Chief Information Security Officer Jesse Miller, the panel will dive into the latest strategies to shore up your practice's cyber defenses and incident response plan in an increasingly hazardous digital landscape.

View the Recorded Webinar

Employee Health and Safety in Veterinary Practice

Employee Safety is central to a healthy and productive veterinary practice. Scott Simpson, Risk Consultant for the AVMA PLIT, will present a high level overview of Worker’s Compensation data to determine how practices can apply safe handling procedures to reduce their Worker’s Compensation claims while protecting their employee’s wellbeing on the job.

View the Recorded Webinar


Navigating the Complexities of COVID-19 in 2020: a Focus on Veterinary Professional Liability and Other Important Business and Personal Insurance Coverages

This webinar sponsored by the AVMA Trusts, AVMA PLIT and AVMA LIFE will focus on the important aspects of veterinary professional liability during the COVID-19 crisis and will also review other business and personal coverages relevant to protecting your assets during COVID-19.

View the Recorded Webinar

Something to Chew On: A Start to Finish Overview of Foodborne Outbreak Investigations

What do Lettuce, Turkey, and Papayas have in common? They have all been the source of recent foodborne outbreaks! This webinar will provide an overview of how multistate foodborne outbreaks are identified and investigated. It will also provide a detailed review of some recent Salmonella and E. coli outbreak investigations. Come learn how veterinarians are involved in investigating and preventing foodborne outbreaks.

View the Recorded Webinar


Solving the Mystery of Recruiters: Their Role in Your Career and How to Get on Their Radar

For some veterinary professionals, there might be an air of mystery surrounding recruiters and how to work with them. To solve that mystery, we’ve invited Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter to present the next session in the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Life Webinar series!

View the Recorded Webinar

Illness Outbreaks Linked to Enteric Zoonoses and the Interconnectedness of Human and Animal Health

Finding ways for people to interact with animals and enjoy the human-animal bond, while remaining healthy is what veterinarians do best. Attend this webinar and learn more about the tools and resources which provide valuable information to keep pets and pet owners healthy.

View the Recorded Webinar


Sleeping Well Through Shiftwork and Stress

The importance of sleep quality and quantity is often over looked when thinking about our physical and mental well-being. Come learn about the science of sleep and how to achieve consistent, sufficient, and restorative sleep.

View the Recorded Webinar




Past Webinars

How to Buy a Veterinary Hospital

Download Presentation Slides

Healthcare Provider Mental Health: Preventing Suicide and Building Resilience

Download Presentation Slides

Download Presentation Q&A

The Millennial Relationship to Service Brands

Download Presentation Slides


Part I: Mental Health & Wellness

Download Presentation Slides

Part II: Reversing Poor Wellbeing

Download Presentation Slides

Managing Well-being and Rapid Change

Download Presentation Slides