The Family Talk You Need To Have

talk to your family about insurance

Today we’re going to tell you a story. Not that it could happen to you. These things always happen to other people.

This story is fictional but based on real events. It’s a great example of why we need to ask the none of your business questions and talk to your family about insurance.

Paul and Mary Robson are 60-years-old and still paying off the mortgage on their family home. They both still work so that they can retire mortgage-free and, hopefully, with a little extra cash. They’re running low on savings but still hope they can take a trip somewhere warm next Spring. 

Paul and Mary get a phone call from their son, Mike: his two-year-old, Andrew -their grandson- has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

Treatments are to begin immediately – at a hospital that’s hours away from home.

Panic has set in. Mike is beside himself. His wife and other two children are packing right now. 

Paul and Mary are frozen. They get off the phone, hug each other, and cry. 

After long trips to the hospital, food, and accommodation, loss of income for Mike and his wife, childcare costs for the other kids, medication, and comfort items for Andrew, the bills add up fast. Even with help from family and friends, the costs were staggering.

A bank friend asks Mike if he has critical illness coverage on his spouse or children. He doesn’t. But he remembers his parents getting some sort of coverage on their grandkids, last year.

He calls Paul and Mary who call their financial advisor. It turns out that yes, The Robsons had gotten coverage on all three grandkids: Critical Illness Insurance

Thirty days after Andrew’s diagnosis, the paperwork is off. His condition qualifies under the definitions and The Robsons receive a cheque for $100,000.

The Robsons consider themselves extremely blessed. Mike cannot imagine the stress other families feel when their costs are not covered. His marriage was at the breaking point and money wasn’t even an issue.

We couldn’t write this post without crying. Although the story above is fictional, it is based on real-life and it happens. Take the time to help your loved ones realize the importance of covering their bases.

It may not happen to you, but it will happen to someone.

 We need to ask the none of your business question and talk to our family – parents, siblings, and kids – about insurance.

Getting Your First Life Insurance Policy

life insurance

Getting your first Life Insurance policy can seem like a daunting task. There are so many options and, of course, you want to make sure you’re prepared for it all and at the right price.

Let us start you on the first step.

Watch the video below to learn about the two types of Life Insurance and how to combine them for a better price!

When getting your first Life Insurance Policy, you first need to pick between Term and Permanent Insurance.

Term Insurance is like your car – you pay into it when you need it and when you don’t, you cancel. These policies are very affordable but aren’t worth anything and the prices will go up when you renew. Common terms are ten or twenty years.

A 35-year-old couple buying Term Insurance for a 20-year term and a $500,000 benefit, would pay roughly $70 /month together.

Permanent Insurance is a more robust option. You have a policy as long as you’re paying the premium and the price won’t go up. These policies can also accumulate a cash value that you can withdraw, invest, or use to pay for the policy itself. As you can imagine, these policies are much more expensive.

A 35-year-old couple buying Permanent insurance with a $500,000 benefit would pay roughly $400 /month together.

Here’s the trick to getting a better price: COMBINE THEM

Most of the expenses we have today, we won’t have in retirement. Because term insurance increases in price so significantly as you age, it’s generally not a good long term solution. And permanent insurance is out of many peoples’ price range.

BUT if you buy term insurance that will cover your 35-year mortgage and a permanent insurance policy that will pay a small sum of money when you pass away (to cover funeral expenses, etc.), your price will be much lower. It’s called stacking. 

In the example below, you can see that our sample couple bought insurance at age 35. They bought term coverage that they will keep until they’re 65 and don’t expect to have the same expenses. They also bought a small permanent insurance policy to cover their end-of-life expenses.

If our example couple above chose to do that, they would pay roughly $170 /month together.

Working with a Life Insurance Broker is the best way to view your options from many different insurance companies and find one that works for your lifestyle and values.

Should I Name A Beneficiary?

should I name a beneficiary

Let’s say that you’re filling out a financial form and get to the part where they ask for a Beneficiary name. Why not just leave it to your estate? It can seem like an extra piece of information to give until you understand WHY you need a Beneficiary.

You need a beneficiary to ensure that your money, whether from investments or an insurance policy, goes to the right person or entity.

Unless your lawyer advises otherwise, most people should avoid naming their Estate as the beneficiary (the default).

Funds left to the Estate may be subject to probate or other fees and could get held up. This generally takes over a year to complete. It’s not worth the headache if your loved ones would need the funds sooner than that.

As the owner of the policy or account, you choose who the beneficiary is and can make changes at any time.

Your beneficiary will not have access to your accounts or information. They will simply be given the money once you pass. This is called a Revocable Beneficiary.

The exception to this is to name an Irrevocable Beneficiary. They still cannot make changes to your account or see your information. BUT you cannot make certain changes to your own account, including changing the beneficiary, without their permission. 

Beneficiaries should always be identified by name.

Generics like “my spouse” or “my children” can be ambiguous in the future if, at death, you are in a new relationship or have step-children.

Depending on your personal situation, you may choose to name your partner, parents, or other loved ones as your beneficiary. You can name more than one beneficiary but will need to choose what percentage each party will receive.

As this article is for general information only, be sure to talk to a professional about your specific situation before making any decisions.

And remember, your beneficiary should be updated as required! Checking your policies every two years to ensure your information is up to date is a good habit.

Can I Get Insurance If I Smoke Marijuana in Canada

We’re a few days away from what cannabis culture calls an “international counterculture holiday”. Where peaceful protests are held internationally every April 20th to smoke the herb and advocate for legalization. A year and a half ago, recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada. It’s had many people asking – can you get insurance if you smoke marijuana in Canada? Yes, you can.

First, cannabis smokers generally don’t get smoker’s rates anymore.

If you’re not familiar, smoker’s rates double your insurance bill (or more). So, this is a big one.

You can also smoke more often and still get insurance. If you use it more than 2-3x per week, you’ll be limited in what companies you can apply for and it may cost more.

One of the things we haven’t figured out as an industry is how to phrase the question.

Some applications ask how many “times per week” others ask about “joints per week”. The discrepancy comes into play when you have a low tolerance or are micro-dosing. A standard sized joint can be finished in one sitting for some people but would take 2-3 sittings for another. Your Advisor will be able to walk you through this when the time comes.

If you answer ‘yes’ to the marijuana use question on an insurance application, your advisor needs to know if it’s recreational or medicinal use.

If you want to know more about medicinal use, watch this video. And you may need to fill out a ‘drug questionnaire form’, or answer additional questions about usage.

It really is quite easy to get insurance if you smoke marijuana in Canada

Why Mom-preneurs Need Life Insurance the Most

why mom-preneurs need life insurance the most

As a busy business owner, do you feel like you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Holding client meetings, being a parent taxi in between, meal planning, running the house and being the glue that holds everything together. Who would do all of that if you couldn’t? That’s exactly why mom-preneurs need life insurance the most.

If working from home allows you to chauffeur your kids, run errands, do chores or be a homemaker, your family would be lost if you weren’t there.

Even if you don’t work from home, hired help and put systems in place so that certain things can run smoothly without you there, your family will still be scrambling to do those little things that often get overlooked. Not to mention how much they’d miss you.

Your business may also be an asset.

Having a plan to cover your business expenses until it can be sold would be a tremendous help to your family. Or, maybe your kids are a bit older and one of them would like to run your business. Giving them or your business (if it’s incorporated) a set portion of your life insurance benefit would afford them what they need to transition your company.

For example:

  • Cost of closing your business
  • Covering outstanding debts
  • Capital Gains
  • Ensuring your employees/subcontractors are paid for their work
  • Legal fees
  • Taxes
  • Financial obligations, especially if you personally guaranteed your debts against your home/investments/etc.

Of course, that’s not an exhaustive list – just a starting point. Talk to your Financial Planner/Accountant and Lawyer to determine exactly what you need.

Especially if you’re a sole proprietor, consider your personal taxes as well.

We want to prevent your family from getting any unexpected, large bills. Sitting down with your Insurance Broker or Financial Advisor is the first step in ensuring your personal and business finances are in order if anything does happen.

Mom-preneurs need life insurance the most because they often juggle two important roles – a business and a home.

You have a very important role and play a detrimental part in caring for both your business and your family. Having a life insurance policy and talking about a plan with your partner can ensure that they’ll be taken care of, even if you’re not there.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put plans like this in place, but it’s worth it to know that your family is taken care of.

If you could use weekly reminders about taking a holistic approach to caring for your finances, join our newsletter!

What Is Disability Insurance?

what's disability insurance

There is a type of insurance that’s painfully underrated. I’ve never understood why. It can save your life – or at least your lifestyle. It’s Disability Insurance. What is Disability Insurance? Well, we’re going to cover that in the short video below!

Disability Insurance replaces a portion of your income if you’re too hurt or sick to work.

It gives you the ability to keep paying your bills so you can focus on your recovery. Maybe you’re able to use WorkSafe or Employment Insurance. Just remember, they only pay in certain circumstances and/or for certain periods of time. If you’re self-employed or working a side hustle and not sure what you qualify for, read these 2 blog posts: What If I Get Hurt At My Side Hustle? | Government Benefits for Self-Employed Canadians

EI Insurable Earnings

With a plan like the one we walked through in the video above, Sam was able to fully recover and didn’t have to stress about paying her bills or have increased debt. Having an emergency fund to supplement her Employment Insurance and extending her personal disability insurance waiting period, so that the benefit starts later, made the insurance premium much more affordable.

Disability Insurance is a very flexible product. You can customize when it starts paying you, for how long, and how much.

You can also choose whether you’re covered for accidents, sicknesses or both.

Accident coverage is a simple concept – it will pay you if you can’t work because of an accident. Sickness coverage, on the other hand, is more robust.

Sickness coverage can replace your income from serious illnesses like cancer or other internal pains like muscle wear-and-tear.

Getting both accident and sickness coverage can cover you from *almost all angles.

What Disability Insurance doesn’t cover is medical expenses and long-term care. Those are 2 separate types of insurance.

The benefits of disability insurance shouldn’t be underestimated.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say Sam is 30 years old and makes $50,000 a year as a bookkeeper. The accident was much worse than a concussion and Sam will never be able to work again.

We’re going to make this fair and compare her after-tax income of $39,586.

Assuming Sam works the same job until she’s 65 years old and never gets a raise:

$39,586  X  35 years  =  $1,385,510

If Sam qualified for the CPP Disability benefit (permanently disabled or likely to die from the condition) and received the average $1001.15 per month benefit:

$1001.15  X  12 months  =  $12,013.80    X  35 years  =  $420,483

Let’s minus her CPP benefit from the income she’s missing out on:

$1,385,510 lost wages    $420,483 CPP Benefit = $965,027.00

That means that in the BEST CASE SCENARIO, Sam would lose $965,027.00 in income. And that’s if she never made more than she does right now.

If Sam doesn’t qualify for CPP disability and again, never gets a raise, she’ll lose out on

0
CAD $

But Sam still needs to pay for her living expenses and might need to pay for medications or disability support now, too.

That’s why we believe that disability insurance is painfully underrated.

Remember, you are in control of your financial future. Plans like this can play a crucial role in securing your family’s lifestyle.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this, but it’s worth it to know your family will be taken care of.

*Each policy is different. There are exclusions in all insurance policies.

.

What If I Get Hurt At My Side Hustle in Canada?

what if I get hurt at my side hustle?

Getting a side hustle is an awesome way to make a bit of extra cash. They can offer a lot of flexibility and, for some people, might even turn into a full-time gig. But what if you get hurt at your side hustle? You might not have all the comforts that you get with your 9-5.

There are all kinds of side hustles you can get! From driving for companies like Uber and Skip the Dishes, to using your handy(wo)man skills on a paid gig or becoming a tutor. What we’re talking about here are independent side jobs that you do on top of your j.o.b. – no boss or employee benefits and you don’t get a T-4.

As an employee, you’re automatically enrolled in WorkSafe BC (WCB) and Employment Insurance (E.I.).

If you’re hurt at your job and can’t work because of it, WCB can help and you’ll still have a paycheck. When you work for yourself, those benefits change.

You’ll still have your WCB coverage, but it’s only in effect while you’re at work as an employee. Once you’re on your own time – whether you’re using that time for a side gig or not – you’re not covered by WorkSafe.

For example, maybe you build decks for a living and your neighbor asks you to build a deck for them. But they want you to do it, not the company you work for. In that case, WCB wouldn’t cover you if you got hurt working at your neighbor’s house.

Employment Insurance (E.I.) on the other hand, might still help you.

As long as you’re an employee for a company, E.I. will still be an option whether you’re hurt on or off the job. They can help if you’re hurt, sick, or unemployed. However, they pay 55% of your income (as declared on your paystubs or T4 earnings) up to a maximum of $573/week and only for 15 weeks. If you decide to quit the company you were working for to do this side gig, E.I. goes away. 

For any side job you get that requires driving – deliveries, picking up supplies, meeting clients – you need to make sure your car is insured for business use. If you work with clients or could be liable in any business situation, you also need Liability Insurance.

Those aren’t the kind of insurance we work with at Iron & Pearl Financial, so we’ll leave you with DO NOT skip looking into this.

As a Canadian who pays into Canada Pension Plan (CPP), their disability program may be a last resort.

If you’re hurt at your side hustle, it’s best to not qualify for this. You must be permanently disabled and likely to die from your conditions.

What’s your Plan B if you get hurt and don’t have coverage?

Maybe you could sell something or ask family for help. Remember to consider how long it’ll take to sell your assets.

To make sure that you’re covered at all times, get disability insurance.

It’s the best way to have the peace of mind that you’re covered all the time.

Curious about how disability insurance works and what your options are? Book a free quick call with us. We’ll answer your questions and point you in the right direction. We’re focused on giving you the tools and education to build financial security in your life.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this, but it’s worth it to know your family will be taken care of.

Can I Get Insurance If I Use Marijuana Medicinally?

can i get insurance if i use medical marijuana

Can I get insurance if I use marijuana medicinally? Yes. The biggest concern will be about the condition you’re using it to treat. However, the more you use, the more your insurance may cost.

I thought this was an easy question until a medical marijuana company asked me to look into options for their patients. Legalization made some changes around insurance and medicinal marijuana and the industry is divided.

When you’re filling out an insurance application,  they’ll ask if you use marijuana in any capacity. The first thing the insurance company is trying to figure out is if it’s medical or recreational use.

They’ll be more concerned if it’s for medicinal use because of the underlying factor. But, in specific to the medicinal marijuana that you’re using, you’ll just have to fill out a Drug Questionnaire Form.

They’ll ask how many grams you use, your method of use – smoke, oils, edibles, etc. – and why you chose this method of treatment.

The insurance industry has changed in that regular marijuana users – or in any capacity, really – got smokers rates.

If you’re not familiar, people who get smoker’s rates on their insurance policy generally pay double what everyone else pays. Now, we’ve found a number of companies that may charge you extra for heavy use but won’t call you a smoker. The fact that marijuana users aren’t always getting classified as smokers is a big deal in the industry!

One of the things that haven’t been figured out yet is ‘times’ vs ‘joints’ per week.

When we say ‘times’ per week we’re asking literally, how many times you smoke/spray/etc. When we say ‘joints’ we’re talking about a standard size joint – the size of a cigarette.

It gets confusing because, if you’re not a heavy user or you’re only using a little bit at a time, it’s a hard question to answer.

Because of that, I always tell clients to be upfront with their agents and tell them from the beginning. Then, your agent can look into the companies that know marijuana is a medicine and will accommodate.

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting insurance FOR medicinal marijuana, I don’t have great news.

Medical marijuana can’t be put under the ‘prescription drug’ section of your health plan because it doesn’t have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). I haven’t (yet!) found a health plan that offers coverage specifically for medical marijuana.

I did reach out to MSP to see if they had any plans to help and unfortunately they don’t have any plans to help anytime soon.

I’d encourage you to continue looking into these options. It’s not looking great today but we’re hoping to see more and more changes.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future. It takes time and money to put in plans like this, but it’s worth it to know your family will be taken care of.

What are My Life and Health Insurance Options?

Trying to figure out what your life and health insurance options are? You have so many choices when it comes to insurance, so this question can spark some confusion. But you’re not alone!

It’s not uncommon to sit down with a new client and they tell us they’re not sure what kind of insurance they need. They just know what they want to prevent.

You can get just about anything covered by insurance nowadays. Kylie Minogue even has her tooshie covered for an easy $3M.

Getting your THINGS covered is fairly straight forward but it gets a bit more tricky when we talk about covering your PERSON.

There’s an endless list of situations you’ll want to cover but only 6 types of insurance. 

your insurance options

Life Insurance

Pick your benefit amount (within reason) and this plan will pay a sum of money to your loved ones when you pass away. That includes Mortgage Insurance, Term Life Insurance, Whole Life and Universal Life Insurance.

If you have debt or a growing family, this is a must!

Disability Insurance

It replaces your income if you can’t work while recovering from an accident or illness. Without an income, how would you pay your bills?

48% of Canadians have disability insurance and almost all of those people are covered through employee benefits, not because they bought it themselves. The other 52% only has E.I. to financially help in this situation – and that stops after 15 weeks – that’s a scary statistic!

Critical Illness

Pick your benefit amount and this plan would pay you a sum of money if you survive a critical illness like cancer, heart attack, etc. If you need to make changes around your home because your abilities have changed, this plan is a lifesaver. Use it to replace your income while you take time off work or celebrate the fact that you survived!

Health Insurance

Health Insurance can help or cover the cost of prescription drugs, dentist visits, physiotherapy and more. Getting hurt or sick can be more than losing your income; there are expenses that come with it. This coverage, as with all insurance, must be purchased before you need to use it.

There are a couple of health insurance options if you know you’ll need to use the plan immediately. But, those plans cost more and cover a lot less.

Travel Insurance

Canadians are pretty lucky to have the health coverage that we do. But, once we’re outside the border, we’re on our own! Make sure you’re covered wherever you go with travel insurance.

From surprise dental surgery to changing your flights last minute, travel insurance is super affordable for how much it can save you.

Business Insurance

Your life and health insurance options can be set up so that your small business gets the benefit. Having your business as the beneficiary will allow it to keep operating, even if you can’t. Make sure your business is covered! 

From covering the financial loss of your right-hand-worker has to take a leave to offering employee benefits, you have a lot of options!

Remember, YOU’RE in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put plans like this in place but it’s worth it to know that your family is taken care of.

Have some follow up questions? Book a Quick Call with us! We’re here to help 💪

Government Benefits for Self-Employed Canadians

government benefits for self employed canadians

When you leave the 9-5 world, you leave behind a lot of securities that come with it. One of those securities for self-employed Canadians is Government Benefits. I’m talking about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), WorkSafe BC (WCB), and Employment Insurance (EI). There are several important things to know about what you qualify for if you’re hurt as a small business owner in Canada and we’re going to cover them today.

Being a tricky subject to understand, we broke this blog post down. You can read the "I'm totally new to this" or scroll down for the "I'm looking for specifics".

The "I'm totally new to this" version

This information is current as of December 2019. All policies and Government programs are subject to change, so please click on the links provided to ensure the information you’re receiving is up to date.

When you leave the 9-5 world, you leave behind a lot of securities that come with it. One of those securities is Government Benefits. I’m talking about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), WorkSafe BC (WCB), and Employment Insurance (EI). There are several important things to know about Government Benefits as a self-employed Canadian and we’re going to cover them today.

Assuming that, at some point in your life you’ve worked for a legitimate company in Canada for a length of time, you probably qualify for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability.

You don’t want to qualify for this benefit. Those who qualify are permanently disabled and likely to die from their condition. Plus, the benefit is pretty well equal to half the rent of a 1 bedroom apartment in Vancouver… it’s not enough to live off of.

If you pass away and qualify for CPP, your family can get up to $2,500 for it. These benefits aren’t designed to be enough to help a family get by. They’re meant to take the edge off, but not to solve the problem. Making a proper plan is up to you.

You’re also responsible for paying your full CCP bill yourself. When you’re an employee, your boss would’ve paid for half the bill and taken it off your paycheque. As a self-employed person, you must pay the full amount yourself, up to a max of $5,497.80 a year. For more information on this, please contact your accountant or visit the CPP info page. 

WorkSafe BC (WCB) isn’t automatic when you’re self-employed.

It’s optional for self-employed people but mandatory once you have an employee.

If you qualify, WorkSafe BC would cover 90% of your wages up to a maximum of $1,151.50 per week that you’re on the claim ($1,122.48/week updated Feb 25, 2020).

For the first 10 weeks you’re getting a benefit, the benefit amount will be based on your average income from the last 3 months. If you’ve just had a slow season, it could be a small benefit.

If you’re still on the claim after the 10 weeks, your benefit will change to 90% of what your income was last year. That’ll be based on your last tax return.

The 3rd Government benefit that automatically goes away when you’re a self-employed Canadian is Employee Insurance (EI).

This one is a little bit tricky because you have the option to pay into it but, once you start, you can’t stop. You must pay into it as long as you’re self-employed, even if you make a change to the nature of your self-employment. If you’ve never received a benefit from E.I., you might be able to cancel but under very specific criteria. For self-employed women who are expecting to take maternity leave more than once, this may be a good option.

The benefit is about 55% of your income with a $573 per week maximum benefit ($547 Updated Feb 25, 2020).  If you’re disabled, they will pay you for a maximum of 15 weeks but then you’re on your own.

These benefits will depend on how you’ve structured your company.

If you’ve set it up so that you’re an employee of your company, you’d have the same access to WCB, EI and other employment benefits that your employees have.

Look at what your benefit would be and talk to a professional to see if that’d be enough for you.

.

 

At this point, you might be thinking, “With CPP, I’ll only get a benefit if things are really bad. WCB will only cover me if I’m hurt at work. And E.I. pays half my income and only for a short amount of time. What am I supposed to do?”

The answer is self-financing or get disability insurance.

Self-financing is what it sounds. If you have enough income and don’t plan to become disabled for a long period of time, you can save like a squirrel and use that money if something happens.

Disability Insurance is another great option. It’ll cover you whether you’re at work or not and you can customize it as specific as you’d like. You might be surprised by how affordable it is. For more information on that, book a quick call with us.

The bottom line, self-employed people have a lot of flexibility in what kind of coverage they get if they become disabled, but they’re responsible for setting it up themselves.

Remember, plans like this need to be set up BEFORE you become disabled.

Government benefits are not automatic as a self-employed Canadian, so be sure to do your research and talk to a professional.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of.

The "I'm looking for specifics" version

This information is current as of December 2019. All policies and Government programs are subject to change, so please click on the links provided to ensure the information you’re receiving is up to date.

When you leave the 9-5 world, you leave behind a lot of securities that come with it. One of those securities is Government Benefits. I’m talking about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), WorkSafe BC (WCB), and Employment Insurance (EI). There are several important things to know about Government Benefits as a self-employed Canadian and we’re going to cover them today.

Assuming that, at some point in your life you’ve worked for a legitimate company in Canada for a length of time, you probably qualify for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability.

You don’t want to qualify for this benefit. Those who qualify are permanently disabled and likely to die from their condition. Plus, the benefit is pretty well equal to half the rent of a 1 bedroom apartment in Vancouver… it’s not enough to live off.

If you pass away and qualify for CPP, your family can receive a maximum $2,500 death benefit. Your partner and children might also get survivor benefits and special education grants as well. These benefits aren’t designed to be enough for a family to get by. They’re meant to help, but not to solve the problem. Making a proper plan is up to you.

You’re also responsible for paying your full CPP bill yourself. At tax season, CPP will bill you for what, in an employee position, your boss would’ve taken off each paycheque. If you make more than $3,500, you must pay into CPP. That bill is 10.2% of your NET income. As an employee, your boss paid for half and you paid for the other half. As a self-employed person, you must pay the full 10.2% on your own, up to a max of $5,497.80. For more information on this, please contact your accountant or visit the CPP Information Page. 

WorkSafe BC (WCB) isn’t automatic when you’re self-employed.

It’s optional for self-employed people but mandatory once you have an employee. Depending on how big you anticipate your company growing and the way you’ve structured your own employment – whether you’re an employee of your company, sole-proprietor, etc. – it might make more sense to get disability insurance for yourself.

If you qualify, WBC would cover 90% of your wages up to a GROSS income of $87,417.00 ($84,800 updated Feb 25. 2020). It works out to a maximum of $1,150.50 per week benefit that you could receive while on the claim ($1,122.48/week updated Feb 25, 2020)

For the first 10 weeks, your benefit amount will depend on the average income you made in the last 3 months. If you’ve just had a slow season, it’ll be reflected in your benefit. If you’re still on the claim after the 10 weeks, the amount will change to 90% of your NET annual income. They’ll base that number off of what income you claimed during tax season last year and you must be able to prove it.

The 3rd Government benefit that automatically goes away when you’re a self-employed Canadian is Employee Insurance (EI).

This one is a little bit tricky because you have the option to pay into it but, once you set it up, you can’t stop. You must keep paying your E.I. premium as long as you’re self-employed, regardless of if you make a change to the nature of your self-employment. If you’ve never received a benefit from it while being self-employed, you might be able to cancel but under very specific criteria. For self-employed women who are expecting to take maternity leave more than once, this may be a good option.

The benefit is 55% of your income to a maximum of $54,200 annual income ($51,700 updated Feb 25, 2020). That works out to be $573 per week maximum benefit ($547 updated Feb 25, 2020). With disability or unemployment claims, they’ll pay you for a maximum of 15 weeks. After that, you will stop receiving a benefit.

Again, these benefits will depend on how you’ve structured your company.

If you set it up so that you’re an employee of your company, you’d have the same access to WCB, EI and other employment benefits that your employees have.

Talk to a professional to see what your maximum benefit would be with each of these programs to determine whether it’d be enough for you.

.

Here’s what you might be thinking at this point, “With CPP, I’ll only get a benefit if things are really bad. WCB will only cover me if I’m hurt at work. And E.I. is a short-term solution. What am I supposed to do?”

The answer is self-financing or getting disability insurance.

Self-financing is what it sounds. If you have enough income and don’t plan to become disabled for a long period of time, you can save like a squirrel and use that money if something happens.

Disability Insurance is another great option. It’ll cover you whether you’re at work or not and you can customize it as specific as you’d like. You might be surprised by how affordable it is. For more information on that, book a quick call with us.

The bottom line, self-employed people have a lot of flexibility in what kind of coverage they can get if they become disabled, but they’re responsible for setting it up themselves.

Remember, plans like this need to be set up BEFORE you become disabled.

Government benefits are not automatic as a self-employed Canadian, so be sure to do your research and talk to a professional.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of.

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

what is criticall illness

It always surprises me how few people know about Critical Illness Insurance. Especially with half of Canadians expected to develop cancer and heart disease claiming 33,600 lives each year in this country. Do you think getting a cheque for $50,000 would help if you were diagnoses with one of these, or other serious illnesses? On that note, we’re going to talk about what critical illness is.

Critical Illness Insurance is a type of insurance policy that will pay you a lump sum of money if you survive a heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other diseases.

It’s meant to help cover the time you’ll have to take off of work, making changes in your home to adapt to your new lifestyle, or even going on vacation to celebrate the fact that you survived!

Many companies offer Critical Illness, but not all plans are created equally. For example, one company might cover 5 types of diseases where another company may cover 50 different diseases. As per usual, you’ll get what you pay for.

One of the most important things you need to know about these plans are the definitions of each condition.

That’s how the insurance company determines when they’ll pay you. For example, where one company may pay a benefit after you’ve survived a stroke, another company may require the stroke to have been life threatening to pay a benefit  And, again, it’ll be different by company.

There’s somewhat of a standard definition for each disease, but you don’t want to overlook it. This is something that your insurance agent will help you with, so make sure you ask the question.

It is, however, standard that you must survive 30 days after the diagnosis (or event in the case of heart attack, etc.) in order to qualify for the benefit. Typically, after a cancer diagnosis you must survive 90 days before qualifying. 

Can you get critical illness if you’ve had cancer or a heart attack before?

Generally speaking, if you’ve had a critical illness before, as long as you’ve made a full recover, you’ll be able to get this coverage. Just not for the illness you’ve already had. Some companies will even take the risk of covering you for that illness anyways, after a set amount of time of you being healthy (and some proof).

It’s generally a simple kind of insurance, but it gets more complicated if you have a medical condition when you apply.

We’ll use diabetes as an example. Greg had diabetes when he applied for critical illness coverage. Years down the road, Greg suffered a heart attack. Because diabetes can cause heart disease, Greg may need to go for extra tests to see whether the diabetes CAUSED the heart attack. If it did, Greg might be denied because his existing medical condition caused it. If the diabetes didn’t cause it, Greg gets his benefit to use how he’d like.

Please don’t let that detour you from looking into this coverage. You always want to be honest with your insurance agent, ask questions, and communicate with them if you do have to make a claim. But you should be aware of how the coverage works.

Can kids get covered?

They sure can! And it’s crazy how cheap it is.

You can get family coverage before you have kids and those kids could be covered for diseases or disorders they could be born with. It’s an awful thing to think of, but we’re all aware of the reality. Keep the coverage on them and they can be covered into their adult life for quite cheap.

Who is coverage like this good for?

It’s perfect for self-employed people who can’t afford getting personal disability coverage but want to have something if they were critically ill.

For families, like mine, who have had a family member suffer from a disease and worry that it’s genetic, this coverage can bring a lot of peace of mind.

It’s also good for stay-at-home parents, homemakers, and caretakers who may not qualify for disability insurance because they don’t make an income.

And it’s for people who have, in some way, experienced the devastating effects of a critical illness and the lack of financial support available to those who are suffering. Once you’ve seen that happen, you know how important it is to have a plan in place.

Do I have to pay tax on the money?

Nope! It’s treated the same way that a life insurance benefit is. It’s not taxable so you get to use all the money.

How much critical insurance should I have?

That’ll depend on a lot. When you sit down with your insurance agent, they’ll do a Needs Analysis. It goes over how much money you make, how much you spend, and what kinds of benefits you’ll already be able to get if something happened to you. From there, they can help you pick an amount that would be right for you. It’ll also depend on your budget – the higher the benefit, the more expensive.

I always suggest getting a little bit more than you think – having been in this situation myself – because there are a lot of surprise expenses. If you were sick, your partner probably wouldn’t be working – so that’s 2 lost incomes. Making changes to your home if your physical ability changes can also be very expensive. Again, the Needs Analysis form will help.

How do I buy Critical Illness Insurance?

Life Insurance agents sell this kind of coverage. That includes us! We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you find the right plan.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of.

What You Need to Know About Life Insurance

Today, we’re going to give you a summary of what you need to know about life insurance. We’re going over a lot of information here, so buckle up!

We’ll talk about:

  • What life insurance is
  • The 3 different kinds
  • Who needs this
  • The cost of insurance
  • How your agent gets paid
  • What happens when you pass away
  • Who can’t get life insurance

Life Insurance is really just a contract. It’s a contract between you and an insurance company saying that, so long as you pay your bill, they’ll give your family a benefit when you pass away. It’s a simple a concept as that!

Of course, there’s more to the contract. But the terms of the contract are for your Insurance Agent to walk you through. Each Insurance Company’s terms will be different.

There are 3 kinds of Life Insurance:

    1. Term Life Insurance
      Think of it like renting a policy. It’s cheap and for a set amount of time, but it’s not worth anything at the end.
    2. Whole Life Insurance
      This policy is more expensive but will cover you for your whole life. It also builds up a cash value that you can withdraw or use as collateral over time.
    3. Universal Life Insurance
      This policy is a combination between a life insurance policy and an investment portfolio. It’s the most expensive option but can be a great option for someone who’s investment savvy.

Insurance isn’t for everyone.

If you have debt, are self-employed, or have someone who relies on you or your income, then it’s definitely something to look into.

If you’re not quite sure or have more questions, book a Quick Call with us and we’ll do our best to answer! Please keep in mind we are only authorized to talk about Canadian Insurance options.

How much does Life Insurance cost?

Honestly, it depends on too many things to give you a straight answer. I’ve seen policies that are $10 a month and others are thousands of dollars a month. It depends on the insurance company you choose, the benefit amount (how much you’d be paid), your health, which of the 3 types of insurance policies you chose, and a laundry list of other factors.

What I’d suggest is, regardless of your budget, sit down with an insurance broker that you trust. Having a policy should never take food off of the table, but it’s better to have a policy that you can afford than nothing at all.

When do I pay my insurance agent?

You don’t! Insurance agents are paid by the insurance company.

We’re paid by commission and bonuses. It doesn’t matter what insurance company, agency or broker that you choose, it’s entirely a back end deal. You will not get a bill for your insurance agent’s time.

When you pass away a process of things will happen.

This process is one of the top things you need to know about life insurance. First, the insurance company will look into the cause of death. As long as you weren’t doing anything suspicious or illegal when you passed, and the reason falls under the contract terms, your family will be paid the death benefit.

It’s as simple as that! However, it’s not as fast as that. Make sure that you always have an emergency fund set up that your family can access to help them financially until the insurance benefit is paid to them.

If you want to make sure the benefit is paid as quick as possible, put your loved ones as the beneficiaries on your insurance policy. If you leave this portion blank, the money will go to your estate. In that case, the benefit will get locked up in probate and not released until that process is finished. And it can be a long process.

Life Insurance benefits are TAX-FREE. Your family will not need to pay tax on the money they receive from your policy.

Who can’t get life insurance?

Honestly, very few people! The industry has really evolved in the past few years. But each company is willing to take on a different amount of risk. For example, one company might not have a problem with your health concern while another sees it as a red flag and refuses to cover you.

That’s why I always suggest sitting down with a broker. We’re able to look at plans from multiple companies and can find one that’s willing to take on whatever risk you might have… the insurance might just cost a bit more.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of, even if you’re not there.

This isn’t everything you need to know about life insurance. But now you’re ready to call your agent and look into options. 

We would love to be those people for you.

Curious about what happens when you apply for insurance? Click here to learn more!

what happens when you apply for life insurance

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Whether it’s for work or fun, travel insurance often gets brought up when you’re going away. Not sure if you even need to get it? Visit our blog post on that on that first. If you’re sure you need it but are wondering what does travel insurance cover and are confused about the situation, you’re in the right spot! 

Travel Insurance covers you for extra expenses you might have if something bad happens on your trip.  

You’ll have the option to cover everything from cancelling your trip after you’ve paid for non-refundable hotel and airfare, to ending up in the hospital after an accident or catching a serious bug. You can even get coverage if the airline loses your luggage and leaves you with one pair of underwear. 

Now, I make light of it with the one pair of underwear thing, but people’s lives have been ruined over an out of country hospital bill forcing them to declare bankruptcy. 

However, you may already have travel insurance! 

Take a look at your Work Group Benefits plan and see if that offers anything. Your credit card or other member benefits plans that you’re a part of could also be used in this situation. Make sure you take a look at what you’re actually covered for and how much before you leave. 

For example, some credit card companies offer travel insurance, but only if you booked your trip using that credit card. Others will only cover you in certain, extreme situations and all plans have a maximum amount of money they’ll pay 

If you have multiple plans that cover you – for example, coverage through your credit card AND you’ve bought separate travel insurance – the contracts will tell you who the “First Payer is. That’s the Insurance Policy that has to pay you first. You’ll submit your bill/receipt to that company and they’ll pay you based off of what the contract says. If they pay the whole thing, your second policy WILL NOT pay you. If the First Payer doesn’t cover your whole bill, THEN you can send the remainder to the next insurance company. You cannot have one bill paid by 2 companies. 

Keep in mind, most plans WILL NOT cover you if you’re intoxicated when you get hurt. 

For Canadians, each province has their own health plan. Just because you’re a Canadian resident does not mean you’ll be as covered in other provinces as you are by your own Province’s health plan. Provincial health care coverage is required for these individual plans, so make sure your account is up to date. Plan accordingly.  

Travel Insurance is there to cover the expenses of getting hurt in another Country or Province. You don’t pay into other Country’s medical system like you do in Canada through MSP (or equivalent) and taxes, so you have to pay that Country’s full price. And it can be very expensive. 

Ending up in the Hospital or passing away and needing to transport your body home are the most expensive things you’ll want to cover. Like I said, you’ll have to pay full price for any hospital and medical attention you require.  

Travel insurance covers a number of things. Here are a few you might want offered in your plan: 

  • Emergency MedicalEvents or sickness that could land you in the hospital, Doctor’s office, etc. 
  • Trip cancellation and InterruptionGetting your money back if you have to unexpectedly cancel your trip or having to book a hotel if you flight is delayed.
  • Baggage loss, damage, or delayTo keep clothes on your back if your baggage is delayed or to replace items if it gets lost
  • Travel accident including death and dismembermentpassing away in another country is VERY expensive. Your body needs to be processed and specially transported back home. 

Travel Insurance is certainly worth it, but it’s not mandatory. The chances of having to use your insurance is quite low. The risk you’re taking on however, is MUCH greater than if you were at home and put in the same situation. 

There are 2 MOST IMPORTANT things you need to know about Travel Insurance: 

  1. How to claim: know before you go. Your policy might require you get certain Doctor’s notes or Xray photos that will be hard to get once you’re back home. 
  2. You’ll probably have to pay the cost up front. Most often, you’ll have to pay the Dentist/Doctor/ Pharmacy bill before you leave their office. You’ll submit the receipt to the Travel Insurance company when you’re back home to be reimbursed. Make sure you have some emergency cash! 

 

Looking for a travel insurance? Give us a call!

Happy Travels 💃🕺 

More Posts Like This...

Looking for a guide to figuring out how much your next adventure will cost?

WITH THIS SIMPLE TOOL, I’ll walk you through creating a budget and other important things to remember when planning a trip.

Should I buy travel insurance if I’m just visiting family?

We’d been planning this trip since we first started dating. My husband is a Can-Aussie (that’s half Canadian, half Australian) and hadn’t been back to Australia since his early teens. So, at this point, it’d been about 10 years. He was pretty disappointed his Canadian wife didn’t know what a ‘real wave’ was 😆 

We found a crazy deal on plane tickets and, after 6 years together, finally booked our trip Down Under! We were incredibly excited. The bikinis were bought, bags were packed, pets were taken care of. But we hadn’t bought Travel Insurance. 

Our trip wasn’t going to be dangerous in any way – the main goal was visiting Family and jumping in waves. 

Australia is home to him and everything would be in English anyways. Plus, the trip was really expensive to bookWe didn’t want to waste our money on insurance because, honestly, it’s not like we’d have to use it. It’s not a dangerous country and we’d be with Family the entire time. 

But I was terrified of the snakes and spiders (the only ones we ended up seeing were in a zoo 😎) so I bought it just in case. 

5 days into our 3 week long trip, we were staying in this dingy hotel downtown and I wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I’m in a horror movie. My face felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. I’d never had this before but was bawling from the sharp, throbbing pain in my jaw. 

First thing the next morning, we went to a walk-in clinic. They weren’t sure what was wrong ($150.00). So, thesent me to a Dentist ($300.00). This pain in my jaw would not go away. 

After plenty of xrays and questionnaires, the Dentist tells me my wisdom tooth was badly infected from a weird kind of cavity. My only option was to have it pulled on the spot ($215.00) and continue the trip on antibiotics ($80.00). 

She had me in and out of that chair in 5 minutes – seriously, this Dentist was incredible. 

Our emergency Dental coverage was $500 this cost $515. 

The emergency medical part of our plan covered the walk-in-clinic and the prescription drugs. 

This $20 travel insurance plan saved me a $730.00 bill from a surprise wisdom tooth infection. 

From the Dentist, we left on our 6hour journey to visit more Family.

Now, wherever I’m going, I will buy travel insurance.

I really hope you do too. 

More Like This...

With THIS SIMPLE TOOL, I’ll walk you through creating a budget and other important things to remember when planning a trip.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Holy Toledo, traveling is expensive!! The planes, hotels, food, entertainment… it adds up so fast. We both know you worked REALLY hard to go on this vacation. So it can be super temping to try and save a few bucks however you can – even on a $20 travel insurance bill. That could be the cost for an entire experience! Do you really need to buy travel insurance? 

Well, that depends! I’m a huge advocate of buying it after that time I almost didn’t. But you don’t want to buy it if you don’t NEED to. 

Surprise! You may already have travel insurance! 

Take a look at your Work Group Benefits plan and see if that offers anything. Your credit card or other member benefits plans could also be helpful. Just take a look at what it actually covers you for before you leave; they likely won’t cover you in countries currently on the Canadian travel advisory list and there may be other limitations that surprise you. Learn more in our article on What to Know Before Buying Travel Insurance.

No one wants to be pressured into buying something. So, rather than telling you why I think it’s important, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. How safe is the Country you’re going to? Check out the BC Gov Travel Advisory. Keep in mind, many travel insurance plans exclude certain countries and have other limitations.
  2. What’s your plan if you get sick while you’re there? Plan for anything from a cold to critical illnesses (heart attack, picking up a disease, etc.)
  3. If you break your leg, can your trip continue?
  4. What if your body decides now is the time to tell you you have a health concern? It happened to me!
  5. If you were in a car accident and ended up in the hospital, could you afford the bill?
  6. If you die while you’re there, your body will need to be processed and transported back. That costs thousands of dollars even for neighboring countries. Could your family afford that? 
  7. What’s your plan if you get sick and the airline won’t let you on the plane until you’re healthy? 

Now, of course, none of this is going to happen to you 😉 

But, if you’re concerned that it could, go ahead and get travel insurance. You can’t get it once you need it!  

If you’re under 60, it’s quite affordable. You’ll be offered a lot of options from coverage for the concerns above (Emergency Medical Coverage) to trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance, and many more. 

Looking for a travel insurance? Give us a call!

Happy Travels 💃🕺 

More Like This...

 
WITH THIS SIMPLE TOOL, I’LL WALK YOU THROUGH CREATING A BUDGET AND OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PLANNING A TRIP.

 

What to Know Before Buying Travel Insurance

So, your Wanderlust got the better of you and you’re off on a new adventure! But adventure has a chance to go sideways, and that’s what you’re here to prepare for. It’s not super complicated, but there are a few things to know before buying travel insurance.

First, how often do you travel?

You’ll get to pick if you want to buy travel insurance for the one trip or coverage for the whole year. Buying by the year costs a bit more up front but if you’re going away a couple times in a year, you can save a lot!

When it comes to buying travel insurance, there are a number of things you may want to insure. The most important being accidents and emergencies (including death).

Driving back through the boarder with a broken leg after a day of shopping is one thing, but if you passed away unexpectedly, your body needs to be properly processed through the boarder – a surprisingly expensive event!

For short trips, what would happen if you ended up in the hospital from a serious accident?

For longer trips, add getting hurt or sick and needing to see a doctor before you can fly home to your list of concerns. There are plenty of other emergencies that could land you with a Doctor’s bill! (link to my travel story)

Less serious things to think of are trip cancellation insurance if you have to cancel unexpectedly, baggage insurance in case yours gets lost (to help buy fresh clothes/toiletries/etc.), and rental car protection.

Keep in mind, there are certain countries that Insurance companies will not cover you in. Specifically, countries with civil unrest or on the Canadian Government’s Travel Advisory.

There are exclusions to almost all Travel Insurance policies. You won’t be covered if you are intoxicated by liquor or drugs, skydiving, professional racing and other sports.

Traveling with medical conditions?

Make sure you disclose it to your insurance agent. There are companies that will cover you EVEN IF you have a health concern. Make sure that you look at what you policy’s “Stability Period” is. That’s the amount of time your condition needs to be stable for, before you can apply for insurance. It’s typically a 90-180 day period BEFORE YOU APPLY. This includes ANY changes to medication. If in doubt, ask to fill out a health declaration and get written approval from the insurer – your Insurance Broker can help with this.

 Whether the company looks at your medical history when you apply for the coverage or when you make a claim, they will find out if you have an existing condition. Honesty is the best way to make sure you receive the benefit if you need it.

Here’s where you can buy travel insurance:

  • An Insurance Agent/Broker: Some may sell travel policies.
  • Travel Agency: These professionals are not licensed in insurance but can still sell travel insurance.
  • Online: It can be much more difficult to make sure you get the right travel plan this way.

There are 2 IMPORTANT things you need to know about Travel Insurance:

  1. How to claim: Know before you go. Your policy might require you get certain Doctor’s notes or Xray photos that you won’t be able to get once you’re back home.
  2. You’ll likely have to pay the cost up front. Most often, you’ll have to pay the Dentist/Doctor/ Pharmacy bill before you leave their office. You’ll submit the receipt to the Travel Insurance company when you’re back home to be reimbursed. Make sure you have some emergency cash!

Whenever possible, call the Insurance Company’s Emergency number for assistance. This can help with choosing a hospital, accessing translation, and getting help with or arranging bill payment.

There can always be unexpected situations that we didn’t cover here. The best way to make sure you get the help you need, is to know what your contract says!

And that’s what to know before buying travel insurance! Hopefully you don’t have to use it, but it’s important to have just in case.

Happy Travels! 💃🕺

More Like This...

 
WITH THIS SIMPLE TOOL, I’LL WALK YOU THROUGH CREATING A BUDGET AND OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PLANNING A TRIP.

When Should You Get Life Insurance?

when should you get life insurance

Have you ever had a genuine question for a sales person but didn’t ask to avoid the sales pitch? That’s what we’re addressing here. “When should you get life insurance” is a REALLY good question. One that more of us should ask.

I don’t believe that everyone needs life insurance. I DO believe that MOST people need it. Why? Dying is really expensive!

There are so many angles you can look at it from, but asking yourself these 4 questions is a great start to finding your answer. Ultimately, you should get life insurance if your passing means the ones you love would lose more than You.

After asking yourself the 4 questions to whether you should get life insurance, there’s a good chance you know you need it.

It’s pretty rare to be working and have responsibilities and NOT need Life Insurance – unless you have access to a lot of cash.

Life Insurance isn’t that expensive. Like everything else, you get what you pay for! If you want basic coverage in the rare chance you have to use it, you may be pleasantly surprised.

So, Here are the 4 questions to ask yourself:

  1. Who depends on me and what will they need?
  2. How much debt do I have and who’s going to pay it?
  3. Do I know what my end-of-life tax bill will be? A Financial Planner can help with that.
  4. How much will a funeral and other misc. expenses cost?

We’ve all heard the horror stories of people who weren’t prepared to pass. 

It’s an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends who are left behind.

From the time they’ll need to take off of work, to going through your belongings, planning a funeral, and a lot of other transitions. Make sure that you have a Will and finances in place to make it easier on them. 

A Will gives direction, prevents some awkward conversations, and can give your loved ones a bit of peace of mind in their devastation.

Insurance can help finance the transitions they’ll go through. From covering expenses while they grieve, prevent financial stress in the future, funeral expenses, end of life taxes, and a lot more.

Your Will and plan is your final love letter ❤

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Claim

I’ve had to file a few Insurance and Government Benefit claims in the last few years. There are a number of common mistakes to avoid when making a claim!

I’ve been through this process 8+ times in the last 4 years (it was a chaotic season 😆) and have learned many lessons. I made a few mistakes that you can learn from when claiming benefits from a personally-owned policy, work group plan, and Government Programs like WCB/ICBC/E.I. It’s a big part of WHY I chose to work in this field. 

Making a claim – using your insurance policy or Government program – involves A LOT of paperwork and there’s room for error.

There are a lot of common mistakes to avoid when making a claim. Here are some tips that may help!

First, don’t wait to say you’re hurt!

Injuries can take a few days to develop. Document what happened either by going to the Doctor or filling out an incident report. I had an issue when I didn’t think a work accident was a big deal until a few days later. By that time, I couldn’t prove it happened at work. It’s especially important with a muscle injury which can be considered wear and tear of your body.

Next, keep a paper trail.

This is important! Carriers cannot and will not take your word that there was an accident or that you’re sick. You MUST document it properly. This could be an incident report at work, going to your Doctor, walk-in clinic or emergency room. Some companies may accept a report from a professional such as a massage therapist, chiropodist or chiropractor.

Continue to keep a paper-trail of your injury. Some people keep a journal of their pain, appointments, phone calls, etc. We found it really helpful when my husband was thrown from a ladder and we had a hard time getting coverage for the tissue damage he suffered. Journaling isn’t required, but it can save you some big headaches. Again, the companies will not take your word for it, so you need to continue to follow up with your Doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor, or other licensed professional – Carrier will accept documentation from specific professionals, so check first.

Even while my husband was working after that ladder fall, he went to go to the Doctor every 2 weeks to get proper documentation on his pain because it didn’t feel right. It was his saving grace when, what we thought to be an easy-to-prove injury, was still denied. If he’d stopped going to the Doctor (even while his claims papers were being processed), we couldn’t have proved the extent of his injury to have the decision appealed. One more time for the people in the back: Claims Adjusters will not accept your word for it!

Specific to Disability insurance: You will not be covered for your full wage so make sure you have enough insurance AND an emergency fund!

Canada has an All Sources Maximum. That’s the total amount of money you can get from disability insurance, Government Benefits, and any other source COMBINED. Its 85% of your NET income. For example, if you’re getting a disability benefit from ICBC and you have accident insurance, together they can pay you a maximum of 85% of your income (after-tax).

You’re still out 15% of your income. Think about the extra expenses you’ll have because of your injury too – extra take-out, child-care, your partner taking time off work to help you, etc. We all know someone who’s been on disability – what were they worried about? This is why Emergency Funds are so important.

The 3rd mistake to avoid when making a claim is not asking for direction from the claim’s adjuster.

Adjusters have a lot of cases on the go. To make YOUR life easier, ask how long it’ll take when you’re waiting on an answer from them. They’ll probably be able to tell you it’ll be at least a few days/2 weeks/etc.
The process will be smoother if you’re on the same page.

I’ve also had adjusters that wouldn’t return my calls.
One time, I was almost cut off my benefit because my contact person wasn’t responding and the company thought they hadn’t received an update from me in weeks. That’s not a slam against adjusters – they have an incredible amount of work on their plates.

My rule of thumb is, if I can’t get a hold of them in over 2 weeks (not including how long they had told me I’d be waiting), I call in and ask to be transferred to a new adjuster. 

The last mistake I made was not knowing the contract.

You need to know your contract! Many points are standard through insurance contracts and Government disability benefit programs. Each source will have specific requirements when you make a claim. For example, when we went to Australia, I got traveler’s insurance. Being a realist (and having made this mistake already), I read the contract first. AND I’M GLAD I DID! I had a very painful, infected wisdom tooth 6 days into our 21-day trip and had to go to the dentist. I knew the contract and that I’d need a note from my dentist, including pictures, proving it was unexpected, emergency dental surgery. It would’ve been hard to get when I made the claim a month later! The tooth was pulled on the spot and getting reimbursed for my expenses was easy.

Contracts can be hard to understand. It’s why I’m such an advocate of having an Insurance Agent. Whether it’s an agent or a broker, having someone that you can call, rather than a 1-800 number, when you are in situations like this will make all the difference.

Remember, this is in no way legal advice or counsel and is based on my experience in these situations. The information is of my opinion and experience and does not reflect the industry as a whole. Please click on the links provided and talk to your Insurance Adviser with any specific questions.

Being injured can be a stressful time. I hope that this article will help you avoid some of the common mistakes that I made while going through the claims process!

What Happens When You Apply for Life Insurance?

what happens when you apply for life insurance

The Insurance process can seem intimidating when you’re not sure what to expect. From questions about your finances to very personal health questions and tests. What happens when you apply for Life Insurance?

It can be overwhelming to start the process if you don’t know how it works!

Here, we know that Education is Power.

This short cartoon will walk you through what happens when you apply for life insurance.

What happens when you apply for life insurance?

Depending on a number of factors, getting an insurance plan can be almost instant or take a few months. There isn’t much you can do to effect the timeline – it’ll depend on the Insurance Company you apply with, the type of insurance plan you get (or more accurately, how big of a plan you get), and your medical history, as well as a number of other factors.

Getting Insurance is meant to be a simple process but, when dealing with anything health related, there can always be complications. So, let’s walk through the steps of how the situation will ideally pan out. Remember, it may not work out exactly like this, but this is the typical process:

1. Meet your Adviser

In the first meeting with your Adviser, they’ll ask you about your goals, finances and figure out what you need.

2. Adviser finds options for you

Your Adviser will take the information you gave them and go to the drawing board. If you’re working with a Broker (like myself), they’ll be looking different plans from multiple companies. They may have a plan in mind already and be able to start the process in the same meeting, but they’ll likely have to come back for a second appointment.

3. Pick the Plan

Your agent will show you the plans they have in mind (they should be giving you a couple of options) and help you pick a plan that works just right for you.

4. Apply

Then, you’ll apply! You’ll be asked questions abut your health, habits, job and income. Be honest with your Adviser! The questions will be very personal about your current and past health, (likely) as well as the health of your close family members. Your job and income will determine how much you can have coverage for – this is by law and not necessarily dependent on the Insurance Company.

5. Medical

Whether it’s life or disability insurance, you’ll likely have to go through a medical. How that works will depend on many factors including the Insurance Company you’re applying with, health history, habits, etc. It can range from a phone interview to blood and urine samples or even special scans and tests. The Company needs to determine what they’re willing to cover you for with all the ‘information on the table’ so to speak.

6. Pay your First Bill

Once you’re approved, you’ll have to pay your first bill (or premium) to start the coverage. You might give them a credit card to charge when you first apply or wait until they’ve accepted your application to pay – again, this is determined by a number of factors including the Insurance Company that you’re applying with and personal preference.

And that’s all there is to it! Your agent should walk you through the process and help with any hiccups along the way, making the process easier for you.

Insurance is an incredibly important step towards financial independence and preparing for the emergency situations that life can bring. You won’t know how valuable a plan is until you need it. But,  it won’t happen to you, right? These things always seem to happen to other people, so make sure your friends and family sit down with an Insurance Agent or Broker! 

What Should I Know About Mortgage Insurance?

This post was made in September 2019 and is specific to Canadian policies and information. It is intended solely for the personal non-commercial use of the user who accepts full responsibility for its use. While I have taken precaution to ensure that the content of this site is both current and accurate, errors can occur.
The information contained in this site is general in nature and should not be considered to be legal, tax, accounting, consulting or any other professional advice. In all cases you should consult with professional advisors familiar with your particular factual situation for advice concerning specific matters before making any decisions.

Let’s go ahead and start this from the very beginning. What IS mortgage insurance?

Mortgage Insurance helps you pay off your mortgage if you pass away. It could also pay your monthly mortgage fee if you’re not able to work for a period of time. It’s an optional coverage that you’d buy either through the bank when you get your mortgage or through an Insurance agent. If you’re familiar, Mortgage Insurance is like Term Insurance.

No one wants to think about it but, if you pass away, who will pay your mortgage?

If you’re single, the bill will probably go to a family member who would, likely, have to cover your mortgage payments until they’re able to sell your home. If you’re married, will your spouse be able to cover the mortgage and all other expenses without your income? Will they need to take time off of work after you pass? In that case, your family would lose both incomes until your spouse is ready to go back to work. Keep in mind, your payments will still be required if you’re not able to bring home a paycheck! 

And that, my friends, is what mortgage insurance covers. 

So, what’s the difference in buying from the bank vs. and insurance agent? First, look over the info-graphic above.

You’ll notice that insurance from the bank is more convenient. It (typically) gets taken out of your account with the mortgage so you don’t have to think of an extra bill payment. Also, you can sign up for it as you’re dealing with the mortgage approval.

While personal insurance doesn’t offer those conveniences, it has plenty of other benefits you need to consider. To start, you’ll know what you’re covered for before you make a claim. When you buy an insurance policy, it goes through Underwriting. That’s a process where a professional looks at your application, medical history, etc. and decides if the company will issue you a policy. You can be approved or denied. Or, you could be approved except for XYZ – meaning you’re covered, UNLESS you pass away from a returning illness, hereditary health conditions, etc.
You want them to do this when you apply to give yourself options before you need to use the insurance.

On the contrary, Mortgage Insurance offered through a bank is, generally speaking, a simple questionnaire approving most people on the spot. However, they’ll wait until you make a claim before they send it to the underwriter. That means you won’t know if there’s an exception to what you’re covered for until it’s too late.

With personal insurance, you own the policy. You keep it even when you move or pay off your mortgage. It’ll pay the Life Insurance Benefit directly to your family (or estate) if you pass away. Your family can use the money to pay off the mortgage or chose to split it between the mortgage and another unforeseen expense.

Life Insurance through the bank will be paid directly to the bank and used to pay off your mortgage.

You’ll typically get comparable rates for an Insurance Policy from the Bank as an Insurance Agent.

There are plenty of other things to know about mortgage insurance (good and bad) so I suggest sitting down with a professional to ask questions before you chose a policy. Always make sure you understand what the contract says. If your situation doesn’t match the criteria and definitions in the contract, you will not be paid out.

These are some good questions to ask:

  • If/When I pass away, who will the money go to?
  • Does the benefit ever change?
  • If I’m too hurt or sick to go to work (make an income) for a period of time, will this plan offer me any benefits?
    • If the answer is yes, ask what the “Definition of Disability” is. You’re essentially asking, “How badly do I have to be hurt before they’ll pay me?”
    • Ask how long you’ll have to be off work before they start to pay you.
  • Who is covered under this plan? If you and your partner buy a home, it may be only the Primary Applicant who’s covered. But what if something happened to the other partner?
  • If I make changes to my mortgage, will this policy be canceled, or will it move with me even if I change lenders?
  • When will they decide if I qualify for the insurance policy I’ve chosen?
    I realize that question sounds redundant but many policies, especially the ones with few questions and approve you right away, aren’t looked at by the Underwriter (the person who decides if you qualify and what the insurance company will cover you for) until you’re asking for the money i.e. making a claim. This is a very important question.

If you still have a question we didn’t answer, post it in the comments below!

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get all of our updates and tips.

Why I Want You To Get Disability Insurance

Man with a bicycle

Let’s get right to the point – I want you to get disability insurance. And here’s why.

I was 9 years old when it happened. I remember my Aunt picking us up from school and saying that Dad wasn’t feeling well and we’d go home with her so Mom could take care of him.

It wasn’t until later that night, when we still hadn’t heard anything, that I started to worry. And it was when I was told I couldn’t see him until he felt a bit better that I realized something was really wrong.

Dad was in and out of intensive care for months and it took the Doctors about a year to stabilize him in the hospital. From there, it was another 6 months in a rehabilitation center for stroke victims…Downtown Vancouver. It was almost 2 years before he came home.

My Dad had had a massive stroke at 39 years old.

I’m telling you about it because, right away, we think of how scary it would be to have a parent almost taken away so young. And it was. But what made it really hard was Mom still having to work while she drove over an hour each way, every day from the hospital and take care of us kids.

We had an insurance plan that we thought would cover us, but it didn’t.

Yet, I still believe we all need an insurance plan. But we need better education around it.

Money wouldn’t have made my Dad’s stroke any less severe nor would it have brought him home sooner. But it would’ve made the situation easier to handle. 

It would have helped with the burden of planning childcare, it would’ve given us more resources to run my Dad’s business while he was recovering, and it would have given my Mom time off of work to manage this all.

Our family and friends were incredibly generous in how many ways they helped, but there’s only so much they can do.

This story has no request for sympathy but I hope it’s a reality check to look into your own family emergency plan.

Stats Canada says “Among working-age adults, 28% of those with more severe disabilities were living below Canada’s official poverty line (based on the Market Basket Measure), compared with 14% of those with milder disabilities and 10% of those without disabilities.”

Get Disability Insurance. It’s a flexible product and a lifesaver.

Regardless of your situation, please contact an insurance agent or broker to look over your options. 

You won’t know how badly you need it until it’s too late.

How to Know if You’re Talking to the Right Insurance Agent

There’s one simple mistake that a lot of us make when we start looking into an insurance policy – we think each insurance agent sells all kinds of insurance. And us agent aren’t great at clearing this up from the beginning. So, here’s a very basic explanation on how it works!

There are 2 categories of insurance: People (Personal) and Things (General).

General Insurance Agents can cover you for much more than just things, but the concept makes it easy to understand. They sell car insurance, house insurance, liability coverage, prepare for expensive emergencies, etc. They’ll help you cover things you can touch, expensive emergency situations (like hotel expenses after a house fire), and situations where you could be liable. There are levels of Insurance licenses the agent will be in depending on how many programs they choose to take. The more programs they take, the more coverage they can offer you.

Personal Insurance Agents can help you protect your ability to make money. If you’re too hurt or sick to work, or if you pass away, you’re not bringing in an income. Taking care of yourself while you’re disabled or paying for funeral expenses will also COST money. Personal Insurance Agents look at what you already qualify for – from Government Benefits to Employee Benefit Plans –  and find an insurance plan that works for you.

Insurance agents want to help. So if you’re ever confused on whether you’re talking to the right ‘type’ of agent, just ask them!

What Is Insurance For?

Today we’re talking about what Insurance is for.

Insurance covers a loss.

To keep this simple, there are 2 kinds of insurance: one covers people and the other covers things. Today, we’re going to talk about people.

Life Insurance is usually brought up when you buy your first house or start to grow your family. It’s the most common kind of personal insurance. When you pass away, it helps your family cover funeral expenses, end of life taxes, the mortgage, or just the fact that you won’t be bringing in money.

The lesser known personal insurance is Disability Insurance. I’m most passionate about this type because of my own experience(s) not having it. But, again, it helps with the loss of a paycheck. It’s used when you’re too sick or hurt to be able to go to work and pays a percentage of the money you would’ve received from a paycheck. It helps with bills that come up because you’ve been hurt, like medical expenses or child care. Disability Insurance is for covering your missed income because, most likely, your spouse isn’t going to be able to cover both their income and your missing income.

Of course, this isn’t everything you need to think about, but sitting down with a Life Insurance Broker will help with that. They’ll be able to help you make a plan and can’t charge for that time, so it’s FREE!

I hope this helps in some way. If you still have a question, please feel free to reach out!