There are plenty of reasons why working for yourself is great. There’s better work-life balance and more time with your family, no limit on PTO days, setting up your workspace wherever you’d like, and the whole “working in your pajamas” cliché.
So is it any surprise that so many people are eager to be their own boss? In 2019, over 57 million Americans freelanced (that’s more than 35% of the workforce), either as a side hustle or as their full-time gig. 65% of Americans admit that they dream of opening their own small business. More small businesses filed their formation paperwork in 2020 than ever before.
There’s no doubt that self-employment has opened up a world of opportunities for workers around the nation. But, with the highs also come the inevitable lows.
Need proof? One in three of us will be unable to work at some point in our professional careers due to a health and wellness issue. That statistic is scary enough on its own. But, where does that leave you when your income is completely dependent on your ability to provide a service or skill for your customers? If you’re out of commission, how will you earn a living? How will your business keep going?
If the road bumps (okay, more like insurmountable speed bumps) of 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we should be as prepared as we can be for the unexpected. That’s why setting yourself up with income insurance (also referred to as disability insurance) is a smart move for everyone—but especially if you’re self-employed.
Cue the nervous eye twitching. We get it—wading through insurance jargon and paperwork is enough to make you lay your head on your desk.
Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way. We’re here to walk you through the process of how to get disability without a doctor, regardless of your gender, age, income, or type of work. That’s right–no needles, no month-long wait for a doctor’s appointment, and no frustrating phone calls that get you nowhere. It’s possible, and we’re here to show you just how easy it can be.
But first...what exactly is disability insurance?
Let’s lay the groundwork first. Essentially, disability insurance (you also may have heard it referred to as “disability income insurance”) helps to replace some of your income if you were in a serious accident or suddenly unable to work due to a health or wellness condition. It’s a safety net for you and your dependents (the people who rely on you to provide for them) if you’re forced to stop working unexpectedly.
You might have some savings tucked away (that’s a smart move, by the way), but you can quickly blow through that as medical bills start adding up and you’re trying to pay your regular bills without any actual earnings coming in.
Having income insurance offers added peace of mind. You’ll be paid out the benefits directly if you claim against your policy, and there are no restrictions on how you can spend that once it’s in your bank account.
Short-term vs. long-term disability insurance
You may have seen information about different types of disability insurance policies in the past and, while there are plenty of options, they’re usually broken down into either short-term or long-term coverage.
The main difference between the two is the benefit period, or the amount of time you’ll receive benefits if you’re not able to work. Short-term disability insurance usually covers you for around three to six months–think short illnesses or injuries that have a relatively quick recovery period, such as a surgery that requires a few weeks or recovery.
Long-term insurance policies can be anywhere from two years all the way up until retirement age, depending on how your plan is structured.
When you’re thinking about how to get disability without a doctor or medical exam, it’s important to consider the type of insurance you think you might need. While it’s impossible to predict the future, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself that can be helpful:
- Do I have emergency savings that could support me and my family if I was out of work for three to six months?
- If the answer is no, short-term disability insurance is likely a good option.
- Short-term disability insurance can also be helpful for planned medical needs like scheduled surgeries or the birth of a child.
- If I became permanently disabled, would I have enough in savings to look after my loved ones?
- This is probably not a situation that many people are in, so long-term disability insurance that can cover you until retirement may be best.
While short-term disability insurance might seem like a more pressing need (especially if you’re young and healthy), long-term insurance is an incredibly smart safety net to have in place for when the unthinkable happens.
How do you apply for disability insurance?
Now that you have a better understanding of the options out there, you’re probably wondering how you can apply for disability insurance. No matter who your provider is, all disability insurance policies have five key features:
- Premium amount: What you pay for the policy.
- Benefit amount: What you collect per month if you’re unable to work.
- Benefit period: The length of time you receive benefits.
- Waiting period: The length of time between when you’re unable to work and when you start receiving benefits.
- Definition of disability: What it means to be “disabled” according to your specific policy.
These criteria vary with every policy, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Typically, younger and healthier people are the least likely to think about getting disability insurance as they don’t think it applies to them. Spoiler alert: That couldn’t be more wrong. 90% of disability insurance claims are for health and wellness conditions that could strike at any time (like cancer, heart problems, mental health issues, etc.), which means having no backup could be a dangerous mistake.
On the other hand, it’s less likely that younger and healthier people will experience these problems, which is why disability insurance is often cheaper when you’re younger (aka your premium amount will usually be lower). It’s much easier to apply now rather than waiting until you think you might need it as an older business owner. This is especially important to remember if you’re trying to figure out how to get disability without a doctor.
Most insurance providers have new applicants go through a process called medical underwriting, where they determine how risky of an applicant you are and what they should charge you each month as a result.
It’s a little bit like taking out a mortgage on your own body. We can assume that, for the most part, if you’re young then you’re probably fairly healthy and less likely to claim against your policy (aka your body “credit score” is at its peak). For that reason, you’re a less risky candidate so it’s much easier for you to avoid the medical exam that many disability insurance companies require before accepting your application.
So, how is “no exam” disability insurance different?
“No exam” disability insurance is exactly what it sounds like: You can get disability insurance coverage without needing to complete a doctor’s exam. It’s faster, easier, and all-around less nerve-wracking.
With providers like Asteya, there are no doctor's appointments or blood tests needed before you’re provided with coverage—regardless of your age. We determine everything based on the questions you answer in your application. Yes, it really is that simple.
But it’s not just the young and healthy who can benefit from this. If you have existing health conditions, many of these can prevent you from getting traditional disability insurance, even with a medical exam.
A “no exam” disability insurance policy lets you bypass this requirement completely, with a much faster approval process (which means you’ll be covered more quickly in case something happens) and fewer checkboxes you’ll need to meet for approval. All-in-all, it’s the best way to get disability coverage without a doctor being involved.
Why should freelancers and small business owners get disability insurance?
If you’re still on the fence about whether disability insurance is for you, here are a couple of convincing benefits to keep in mind.
Disability insurance protects your income
As a freelancer or business owner, you don’t have the relative luxury of paid sick days. If you’re not working, you’re not making money. Ouch.
Disability insurance, no matter which policy length you choose, will help to protect your income for a given benefit period so that all you need to worry about is getting back on your feet.
It’s important to remember that disability insurance won’t cover all of your income. While a traditional employer would likely help you with an allocation of paid time off if something were to happen to you, that’s not the case for you. But with most policies, around 60-80% of your income can be covered and paid out to you should an unexpected medical event happen.
It’s still a whole lot better than searching your old pockets and couch cushions for spare change, right?
Disability insurance is surprisingly affordable
Everyone’s insurance policy rates will vary, but “no exam” disability insurance is often the most affordable way to guarantee a claim payout when you’re thinking about how to get disability without a doctor.
Once your application has been accepted, you’re covered. If you need to make a claim at any point in your coverage, we’re here to help you get the money you need for basic living needs as quickly as possible, without any more medical hoops to jump through.
You might be wondering, since this all relates to your business, if you can expense your insurance premiums (what you pay each month to the insurance company) at the end of the tax year. Unfortunately, you can’t write off your premium as a business expense. But, since you’re paying for your coverage out of post-tax income, your payout will be tax-free if you ever need to claim against your policy—so all of that money goes straight to you.
Expect (and prepare) for the unexpected
Working for yourself is a rollercoaster ride, and you never quite know what’s around the corner. Sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised. And other times? Well, not so much.
That’s why it’s smart to be proactive—and disability insurance is an important step. With that in place, you’ll know you’re ready to make it over the road bumps (okay, cavernous potholes) of self-employment with your wheels intact.
Are you ready to protect your business from the unexpected? Apply now for no exam disability insurance and get your policy details straight to your inbox.