Life Shield - Your Life, Your Protection, Personal Insurance

Income Protection for Doctors

You have a specialist occupation and your Income Protection needs to reflect this.

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After many years of study and hard work to get where you are, one of the most important assets as a Doctor that you have is your income – and it is worth taking the time (and speaking to someone who understands the marketplace) to ensure that you have the best possible cover and at the best price.

Income Protection provides you with an ongoing income stream in the event of not being able to work due to illness or injury. There are many possible variations within the policy and it is importnat to ensure your policy has features that are relevant to your occupation and lifestyle to ensure that you have maximum ability to make a claim in the event of something stopping you from working. We have covered some of the relevant variations regarding Income Protection for Doctors below:

How much can you insure?
Usually you can insure up to 75% of your current income which can be increased as your income increases. There are however Income Protection policies in the Australian marketplace that allow you to insure up to 100% of your income, at least for a portion of the benefit period.
The amount that you are able to insure is capped by some insurance companies at $20,000 per month, though there are insurance companies that will allow up to $60,000 per month benefit for Doctors.

Contract type – Agreed or Indemnity?
Are you receiving at least a portion of your income due to working as a sole trader or as self employed? If so, your income will fluctuate from year to year. An agreed contract ensures your whole benefit will be payable in the event of a claim even if you have earned less over the preceding 12 months to claim. An indemnity option means that at the time of claim you will need to provide recent financials to support your benefit amount which may eventually result in a lower benefit payable.

Waiting Period / Benefit Period
Choosing the right waiting and benefit period on your policy is paramount. This can be the difference between receiving benefit or not and it makes a large difference to the cost of your policy.

For example, if you can afford (through savings or other liquid funds) to be able to manage for the first 3 months of not being able to work and therefore have a policy with a waiting period of 90 days, this will reduce the cost by approximately one-third. If you already have some Income Protection within your superannuation fund that you are happy with (Hesta or Health Super for example) with a benefit period of 2 years, an additional policy may be purchased with a waiting period of 2 years in order to further reduce costs. This will ensure that you will be protected for more serious illnesses and accidents that keep you away from work for longer periods of time or even for the rest of your life.

Stepped or Level Premiums?
Stepped premiums are great in the short term, however will cost you much more in the longer term as your premium will increase each year due to your increasing age. If you are expecting to keep your policy in place up to retirement, reviewing the level premium option (which does not increase in cost up to age 65 or to age 70) could save you half of your premiums over your lifetime. This will ensure that your Income Protection premiums remain cost effective and affordable.

Blood Borne Diseases
In your occupation as a Doctor, if you were to become infected with HIV, Hep B or C you may be forced to cease working even though technically, you have the ability to continue. It is important to ensure that your Income Protection policy will pay a benefit in these events and it is clearly defined in the Product Disclosure Statement.

Needle Stick Cover
Some insurance companies, in addition to the above ‘Blood Borne Disease” clause, offer Needle Stick cover to Doctors that will provide a lump sum in the event of becoming infected with HIV, Hep B or C whilst performing your usual occupation. You are able to apply for cover amounts up to $1,000,000.

Cover against Mental Illness
We note that recent studies show that medical professionals such as doctors, surgeons and dentists are potentially 20% more likely to not be able to work due to mental illness. This has been attributed to the high stress nature of their occupation and also the caring, more emotional nature of their personalities that have drawn them to their occupation in the first place. We are concerned that some policies directed to Medical Professionals have these conditions excluded.

Life Shield is a specialist Personal Insurance brokerage business. We specialise in providing advice for Doctors and we have the experience and knowledge to provide an efficient and professional service. Either call us directly or use our online enquiry form to make an enquiry and we look forward to discussing your Income Protection and other Personal Insurance needs shortly.

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I contacted Life Shield, who were efficient, easily contacted and understood me as a medical practitioner - things were explained well and I was given literature and time to think. Would I recommend for my colleagues - yes. I already have in fact...

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