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Life's a risky business. Can you afford to get sick?

By Elaine Sambugaro |

Jody Hornor, a 48-year old entrepreneur had everything going for her - a successful business, family and plenty of good friends. Then, a freak car accident nearly took her life, leaving her with permanent brain damage.

Jody's story
"The surprise I hadn't counted on happened in a split second when a 16 year old girl in a stolen car ran a red light .."
read Jody's story.
For 16 months, treatments and trips to the hospital kept her from her work and to this day, she is no longer able to resume all of her former responsibilities. Looking back on those difficult times, Hornor says that she wishes she would have been less frugal and purchased disability insurance. "Had I known what I do now I would have purchased some," she said in a telephone interview.

But, owning disability insurance is a like having a spare condom. If you don't have it when you need it, you could find yourself in some trouble. But, if you do have it and it has one or two little holes, you could be in even bigger trouble down the road.

"Amanda," a former school teacher who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity, wishes she never purchased a group disability policy with her current insurer. She contributed monthly premiums for approximately ten years, thinking that the policy would give her peace of mind and provide financial support until she recovered. She was wrong.

Amanda's story
She appealed and that, too, was denied on the grounds that she did not have sufficient medical evidence ..
read Amanda's story.
"At one point, I was forced to borrow from my neighbours for gas money," she admitted. "It was taking so long to fill out the forms and for the insurance company to accept the fact that I couldn't work ... If my doctor didn't go to bat for me with the company's medical officer, I probably wouldn't have it [monthly coverage] now," she said.

Disability insurance is a monthly benefit that replaces part of your income if you can't work because of illness or injury

Amanda had difficulty collecting benefits – but at least she was automatically covered by her employer's benefit policy. Most entrepreneurs and self-employed don't have this luxury. They either can't get individual or group disability insurance or don't have the time to figure out why they need it in the first place.

What's becoming clear, though, is that it's a topic that entrepreneurs can't afford to ignore – as Jody Hornor discovered. Whether you already have disability insurance or are thinking about taking out a policy, read on for a detailed look at the pluses and pitfalls of securing a relevant insurance policy that will be there to meet your needs in the event of illness or injury.

Do you need it?

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