Finding the right fit: How to compare insurance plans- 08/19/2020
Are you adequately insured? Perhaps this is a question you have never asked yourself. Between work benefits and government insurance, you may feel like you have an adequate financial safety net for all of life’s events – from a routine dentist visit to permanent disability payments.
Unfortunately, the reality is that 77% of Canadians are dramatically under-insured. According to a study conducted by Policy Advisor, the majority of Canadians rely on employer-sponsored benefits that typically only offer minimal coverage equivalent to a year or two of the policyholder’s salary. Overall, the study uncovered that Canadians are using sponsored policies for their benefits that in no way provide both the immediate and long-term financial security they would need in case they were unable to work due to an illness or injury.
While government and employer-sponsored benefits serve as a foundation for coverage in case of an unexpected event, investing in personal insurance is the staple of a balanced, comprehensive financial plan from the time you begin working until after you retire.
Purchasing a benefits plan should not be taken lightly, and similar to other important decisions like buying a home or a car, you should do your due diligence before committing to coverage. Here are our tips for what to look for when crafting your personal insurance plan:
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Not all insurance plans are created equal
First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that there is a wide variety of insurance plans – of all types – available to you. The Government of Canada recommends you always understand what your insurance policy does and doesn’t cover before entering into a binding contract with an insurer. Of course, this is only one question you should be using to compare different plans. Here are a few more factors you should use to differentiate benefits to find your perfect coverage:
Many insurance plans are offered in a one-size-fits-all format. This means that if you need disability coverage, you may also have to sign up and pay for other options that you don’t necessarily require. It may end up feeling like you’re overpaying for coverage that you don’t use.
These uniform plans are typically rigid, difficult to qualify for and are ultimately unattainable for self-employed people or small business owners looking to tailor plans to their unique needs. If you need a flexible plan, you should look for a la carte insurance offerings that allow you to choose and pay for only the coverage you need.
As mentioned, another common misconception about travelling abroad is that your provincial health plan will cover any medical expenses incurred in a different province or country. Most Canadians believe their employee benefits, credit card coverage and provincial insurance is enough to help them with the financial impact of a travel medical emergency, according to Insurance Hotline. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Speaking of qualifying for insurance, many providers make the eligibility process complicated and require rigorous health testing and information on your entire family’s medical history. No one should need to jump through hoops to receive the financial safety net they need, yet many are denied coverage due to their family or personal background, or end up paying more for coverage as they are deemed high risk.
When comparing insurance plans, make sure to review the qualification requirements and the approval process to understand if and when you would receive coverage.
Premiums & Out-of-pocket Expenses
Two of the most important costs you should consider when purchasing insurance are premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. The premium is what you will be paying monthly or annually for your coverage, and out-of-pocket costs are what you pay for certain treatments.
Some insurance companies or policy types will offer lower premiums, but the catch is that you will likely pay more for medical services because your coverage isn’t as comprehensive as it may initially seem. It’s important to choose a plan based on its affordability and value rather than simply choosing the least expensive option. With companies like The Edge Benefits, premiums are stable because they are pooled across our entire block of businesses as opposed to one individual or group.
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Signing up for an insurance plan should be easy and convenient. Instead of sending files back and forth and being tracked down to sign another document, you can do all these things online. The Edge Benefits pioneered the first 100% electronic application and enrollment process in the Canadian disability and special risk market.
Unlike other companies that claim to have completely online application processes but then require in-person meetings, The Edge Benefits provides the ability for clients to meet with an advisor, review their plan, e-sign and retrieve their policy documents entirely on a mobile device or computer.
What’s actually covered by an insurance policy is, undeniably, one of the most important things to consider when comparing plans, but it’s more than just reviewing the limitations and exclusions.
You should also consider how long the coverage lasts, whether it will carry with you if you move from job-to-job or relocate to another province, how much it covers financially and if it can be used for more than one claim. This information should be clearly communicated in your plan, but make sure to ask these questions if you’re still unsure of the different elements of coverage.
You will want your new benefits to interact seamlessly with any existing coverage. Whether it be your spouse’s coverage, workplace compensation or employer-sponsored insurance, new plans should integrate into your existing portfolio for comprehensive financial protection.
Waiting & Benefit Periods
How long will it take to receive your benefit after a claim is approved? Does the coverage offer multiple waiting periods (also known as ‘elimination periods’)? Are there benefit periods to choose from that provide coverage as and when you need it while keeping premiums to a minimum? This, along with termination age and the plan’s maximum benefit, are all important to understanding if your coverage is appropriate for your age and lifestyle.
If you ever need to submit a claim, the claims and customer support teams will likely be your greatest allies. You should consider how easy it is to submit a claim, how accessible customer service representatives are and the level of service they provide every step along the way. Getting answers to your questions should be easy, and submitting a claim should be stress-free. Make sure you partner with a company that will be there to support you when you need it most.
While many companies use call centres that often have long queues and time limits, The Edge Benefits’ Claims and Customer Service teams are ready to stay on the line as long as you need. We work closely with advisors to process claims in a timely manner and advocate for our clients to ensure they receive the financial benefits they need.
Creating a comprehensive insurance plan doesn’t have to be expensive
With all this in mind, you’re on your way to crafting the ideal financial benefits plan for your needs. And when it comes time to look for a company that checks off all the boxes, look no further than The Edge Benefits. Our unique a la carte model means our products are separated into affordable coverage designs to accommodate a broad array of needs. You can receive guaranteed issue Disability Insurance for injuries at an affordable rate – no invasive questions asked. If you need illness coverage as well, you can easily add it to your plan with a simplified underwriting process.
Need just Health & Dental benefits? No problem. Whether you’re in the market for healthcare expense reimbursement, disability income replacement, business protection insurance in the event of a principal’s disability, life insurance or coverage for special risks such as Critical Illness or Travel Medical Accident benefits, the EDGE has you covered.
You never have to sacrifice the quality of your insurance for price. We regularly enhance our coverage to be more inclusive and keep up with the changing consumer landscape. Existing clients also benefit from these plan enhancements automatically without their premium ever being affected.
With The Edge Benefits, you only pay for the coverage you need with affordable, flexible plans from Canada’s leading insurance providers. Begin crafting your ideal insurance package today.