By Olga Ryjkova, Insurance Broker, Ontario
It’s nice to be your own boss! No orders from the superior manager, no wages limits, no worries about career, no excuses of being late, no asking for a day off for personal reasons, no people around that you don’t like to work with. Those days are gone. But (there is always a “but”) all huge responsibilities are also yours; generally, you have nobody to delegate authority to. And very often there is something that drilling your brain – What if I get sick? What if I get injured? What if I have to take care of my disable mom? What if I want to have a baby? What if I cannot repay my business loan?
Relax! Whether you work from your home or from business premises, there are great insurance solutions that work for you and give you peace of mind.
According to the latest figures from the Labour Force Survey, the number of employees in Canada has decreased and the number of self-employed individuals has increased during the last years. Ontario has the highest number of self-employed individuals – over one million. That is why protection of the self-employed has become a governmental concern.
Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst
Self-Employed Health Insurance
If you are your own boss running your own business, more likely your health is your most important asset. Of course, OHIP covers lots of health care related issues. But what about prescription drugs, dental care, vision care or physiotherapy costs? Are you able to address health care issues promptly, so you can get back to work as quickly as possible?
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of health insurance plans to avoid the stress of not having the financial resources to cover the cost of health care and to help you maintain your good health. Also, minimizing your out-of-pocket health care expenses by having appropriate health insurance is just a wise business solution. Majority of health insurance plans offer coverage that can include but not limited to the following:
- prescription drugs
- dental care
- vision care: routine eye exam (for individuals 19 to 64 years of age), eyeglasses and contact lenses
- hospital accommodation
- ambulance transportation
- hearing aids
- special equipment or appliances
- services provided by medical professionals such as physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, osteopathy, podiatry services and other
The plans and coverage levels makes it easy to select the right health insurance for your needs and budget. Some of health insurance plans don’t require a medical examination, some offer coverage for pre-existing health conditions.
Employment Insurance Special Benefits for Self-Employed People
Good news! If you are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits, you can expect to receive 55% of your average weekly earnings up to a defined annual limit. In 2013, you can receive up to $501 per week, based on the maximum insurable earnings of $47,400 for that year.
Service Canada, on behalf of the Government of Canada, is pleased to be able to offer Employment Insurance special benefits to self-employed people. Until recently, only employees – those who work for others – who qualified for benefits through the Employment Insurance program could receive financial support when they got sick, gave birth, adopted a child, cared for a newborn or newly adopted child, or took care of a family member who was seriously ill. Under the Employment Insurance Act, as amended by the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act, self-employed Canadians and permanent residents – those who work for themselves – will be able to apply for EI special benefits if they are registered for access to the EI program.
There are four types of EI special benefits:
- Maternity benefits are for mothers who give birth. These benefits cover the period surrounding the child’s birth (up to 15 weeks).
- Parental benefits are for any parent (mother or father) to care for their newborn or newly adopted child or children. Either parent can receive benefits, or they can share benefits between them (up to 35 weeks).
- Sickness benefits are for people who cannot work due to injury, illness, or the need to be isolated in quarantine because they may be carrying a disease (up to 15 weeks).
- Compassionate care benefits are for people who must be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death (up to 6 weeks). The 6 weeks of benefits can be shared between different family members who applied and are eligible to receive them.
You can register if you are either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and you operate your own business, or if you work for a corporation but cannot access EI benefits because you control more than 40% of the corporation’s voting shares
Group Insurance for Self-Employed
Often happens that group insurance is your best insurance solutions because the average price per policy is often lower. Some of the benefits available are: preferred group rates, flexible payment options, 24/7 claims response, as well as other valuable advantages.
Group coverage can help reduce the problem of adverse selection by creating a pool of people eligible to purchase insurance. Eligible people must belong to the group for reasons other than for the purposes of obtaining insurance. In other words, people belong to the group not because they possess some high-risk factor which makes them more apt to purchase insurance; instead they are in the group for reasons unrelated to insurance, such as all working for a particular employer.
Group insurance plan can be specially designed in accordance with your group’s nature of business and functionality. Plans may include:
- group life insurance
- extended health care benefits
- dental care benefits
- vision care benefits
- prescription drugs benefits
- disability benefits
- critical illness benefits
- long term care
- accidental death and dismemberment benefits
- basic and optional life insurance benefits
- travel medical insurance and more.
Business Loan Insurance
It’s a normal situation when to start their own business or develop the existing business people borrow money. But what if a self-employed person for the health reasons is not anymore able to work and earn an income? Who will cover their loans? Loan insurance is a perfect choice for the self-employed, the key to their financial security.
If you are self-employed, you should give loan insurance some serious thought, especially if you don’t have disability insurance. Loan insurance covers your debts if you are unable to work due to illness or accident. The benefits are not taxable and can be used to cover all sorts of debts made for business purposes:
- Lines of credit
- RRSP loans
- Personal loans
- Car loans and leases
- Any other long-term loans with regular payments
In the event of disability, a cancer diagnosis or death, loan insurance helps pay off any loans that a self-employed person has made. Moreover, getting the insurance is easy: in most cases, you simply have to answer only a few questions
With business overhead expense insurance you can be there even if you are actually not
Business Overhead Insurance for Self-Employed
If you are self-employed, more likely your business depends on your ability to generate income to help pay the bills. Your long- or short-term absence due to a disability can affect your business big time. Business overhead expense insurance is a necessity for anyone running a business with regular monthly expenses.
Business overhead expense insurance designed for self-employed business owners who generate all their companies sales and revenues, and who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and covers your business fixed expenses (like rent, property taxes and utilities, salaries etc.) if you are away for an extended period of time due to disability. It is wise to consider how your absence would impact your business and make sure you are prepared for unpleasant circumstances. Business overhead expense benefits can let you recover, worry-free, while your business continues to run as smoothly as possible. This plan doesn’t just protect your business; it gives you peace of mind.