How to prepare yourself financially before the unexpected occurs

You may not want to think about it, but chances are an accident or illness may require you to take a short- or long-term leave from work. Statistics show that one out of every five Canadians will experience a disability in their lifetime. According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, one in three people will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before they reach age 65.

In some cases, the financial responsibilities of being on leave go well beyond yourself and your family – for those who are self-employed, your business partners and employees also depend on your ability to work.

There are a few proactive steps you can take to set yourself up to be more financially secure in case an injury or illness keeps you from work.

  1. Savings: If you can, it’s helpful to start setting aside at least six months of your salary to help cover important expenses during an extended period away from work. Consider sources of money that may be available, such as through a spouse, partner or family member.
  2. Workplace coverage: Check the coverage available with your workplace to see if you’re covered for short- or long-term disability benefits through the company’s group insurance policy. Review the accidents and illnesses you are covered for, and for how long.
  3. Government support: Find out if you qualify to receive the Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance, or if Canada or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits are available to you.
  4. Disability insurance: Consider where your unique needs for financial protection aren’t fully met, and then decide if you need more protection, such as an individual disability insurance policy (or topping yours up).

If the unexpected happens, many insurance companies provide extensive support to help you throughout your journey, including expediting access to rehab and mental health specialists, drug compatibility testing and assessing your worksite to ensure a safe and comfortable return. Some even support your job search and reskilling if you can’t return to the same role.

Find out more about disability insurance and returning to work at rbcinsurance.com/disability

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