Buying insurance is more complicated than buying a loaf of bread or a new pair of shoes. For starters, neither bread nor shoes are meant to last a lifetime, nor do they come with a fine print policy or instruction manual explaining what they’re all about. There’s no fine print when it comes to bread or shoes (other than perhaps the list of ingredients contained in the bread).
What you see with bread or shoes, is what you get.
The same can’t be said for purchasing insurance. There are thousands of twists, turns, bobs and weaves contained in each different policy of insurance; regardless of what the insurance is being purchased for. Often what you think you’re purchasing isn’t exactly so; or the insurance product doesn’t work the way you expect it to to work.
Case in point, let’s take the example of long term disability insurance. Here are some common misconceptions:
- My long term disability benefits will cover 100% of my income: WRONG! Most policies only cover around 60-80%. Some lesser policies only cover 50% of your pre-disability income.
- My long term disability benefits will last for the rest of my life: WRONG! Most policies terminate benefits at the age of 65, despite the fact you may have intended to work until the age of 70. Other less policies only cover benefits for a maximum duration of 5 years, or up to the age of 65; whichever period comes first.
- I don’t have to pay any tax on my long term disability benefits. WRONG! Whether or not you pay income tax on your long term disability benefits depends on the wording contained in your policy. Rule of thumb: If your employer pays your premiums, then your long term disability benefits are taxable. Rule of thumb #2: If you lump out your long term disability claim with your insurer; only past benefits are taxable. Future benefits are not.
- My long term disability benefits are paid in addition to my CPP Disability benefits and other collateral disability benefits so that I can double dip and make just as much money disabled (or more) than I made while I worked. WRONG! Nearly every Long Term Disability policy our lawyer have seen contains a set of provision whereby to long term disability insurer is entitled to a dollar for dollar set off for any disability income you are receiving; thereby reducing the amount of long term disability benefits owing to you.