The irony of life insurance is that the benefit is realized at the death of the policy holder. It is really “death insurance” but that would be a hard idea to sell. Today, the world of insurance has expanded to also provide benefits while the policy holders are alive – a living benefit. Living benefit plans are insurance policies that provide financial benefits to survivors who face issues due to aging, illness, accidents and dependency.
There are 5 common types of living benefit insurance policies:
Disability insurance (sometimes called DI) is an insurance policy that pays out a stream of monthly income in case you get disabled and cannot work. The injury or disability does not have to have happened at work but it must severe enough to prevent you from working and earning an income. Many people have both short term disability and long term disability coverage through work but you can buy personal disability policies if there is not coverage like in the case of some self-employed individuals.
Health and Dental coverage
Like disability insurance, health and dental plans are often covered through workplace benefits. These plans are designed to help with the unexpected cost of healthcare needs when you need it. There is a growing concern that governments will have significant cut backs in the health care industry and as a result, the financial burden of prescription drugs, visits to the dentist, eye exams, and paramedical services may increase in the future. Individual Health and Dental insurance policies can be purchased through insurance companies as well as provincial Blue Cross organizations.
Travel insurance is something you can buy when you travel outside of Canada in case you get sick or have an accident while you are away. Travel insurance can cover the cost of your medical emergencies. Travel insurance may or may not include trip cancellation coverage. Most travel agencies will offer travel insurance coverage. However, you can also choose to purchase from a third party. If you're planning your trip online or on your own, you'll have to research which insurance companies are best for your needs.
Critical Illness insurance
Critical illness insurance is a type of insurance that helps you if you become critically ill. There are many different conditions that might be covered under a critical illness policy but the most common are heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
Typically, critical illness insurance provides a lump sum payment when a specific condition is diagnosed. The money can then be used for any purpose. Some examples include finding alternative medical treatments anywhere in the world, hiring a caregiver, paying debts, covering expenses that are not covered under government health care, paying for private nursing homes, or providing income support.
Long term care insurance
Long-term care insurance is another coverage that is rapidly growing in popularity. It pays a daily or monthly benefit for medical or custodial care received in a nursing facility, in a hospital, or at home if you are unable to carry out some of the common activities of daily living (ADLs). Some examples include:
· Dressing and undressing
· Transferring from bed to chair, and back
· Voluntarily controlling urinary and fecal discharge
· Using the toilet
· Walking (not bedridden)
Few people plan to get injured or ill. Getting insurance of any kind is a form of risk management . . . preparing for unfortunate circumstances in life. Be sure to include a review of living benefits when you review other types of insurance.
Can you think of other types of living benefits? Have you looked into these policies? If so, what do you think?