A recent poll conducted by RBC revealed a disturbing fact: 48% of Canadians said that they weren’t prepared to be off work due to a disability.
This stat shows that many Canadians still don’t take the threat of losing their income due to a disability very seriously. Many individuals, especially those from younger age groups, feel like they aren’t at risk from serious disabilities and don’t need to have contingency plans in case they are ever unable to earn an income due to a long-term disability.
Other working individuals assume that their employee health benefits plan and government health plan will take care of all expenses and replace their lost income should they ever be unable to work because of a long-term disability.
These assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Mark Hardy, Director of living benefits at RBC Insurance, nearly one-in-three Canadians will experience a period of disability lasting longer than 90 days during their working lives.
Hardy also explains that many employee health benefits offer limited coverage and do not cover 100% of the disabled worker’s lost income. Meanwhile, the government health plan usually doesn’t cover the cost of most medications and other expenses such as recuperative therapy, dietician consultations, exercise programs, home nursing, prosthetics, home care, child care, meal preparation and moving expenses.
So, what happens when you have to deal with a long-term disability that leaves you unable to work for an extended duration of time?
For starters, there’s the sudden drop off in your total income. If you are financially unprepared to deal with this monetary loss, you could lose the ability to afford the lifestyle you’ve created. This could include being unable to pay for your house, car and other regular expenses. If you are the primary earner in your family, losing or having a reduced income because of a long-term disability could cause financial burdens for the rest of your family as well.
The RBC poll cited above revealed that 78% of Canadians who go on long-term disability report that their finances are tight and they struggle to meet their daily expenses. 67% reported that their lost income causes financial strain on the other members of their household.
In order to cover their expenses, 29% of Canadians on long-term disability said that they needed to dip into their life savings. 34% said they had to take on more debt in the form of loans from banks, family and friends. 9% said that they had to cash in their RRSPs and leave themselves financially unsecured for their retirement years. 31% even said that because of their disability, their partner had to go out and find extra work in order to supplement the family’s lost income.
These figures show that Canadians often end up financially struggling along with the rest of their family if they become unable to work due to a long-term disability and have to deal with lost or reduced income.
This is where having disability insurance could prove to be crucial. In an event of a long-term disability that leaves you without your regular income, having the proper disability coverage could allow you to maintain your lifestyle, cover medical expenses and provide for your family while you recuperate.
Experiencing a long-term disability and recovering from it are stressful enough tasks on their own. Don’t add the financial burden of your lost income to your list of worries as well. Have a proper contingency plan in place and get disability insurance coverage, especially if you are primary earner in your family.