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Disabiity Insurance

Fellow Craftsmen/women - has the recent discussion of potential
eye-sight loss and injury given anyone thoughts of disability
insurance? My wife and kids have often reminded me of the risks
that we take as self-employed craftspersons who go through life
without the benifits of disability insurance, commonly available
to employees of larger firms. Does anyone out there know of any
reasonable plans that we can utilise? Do you know of any of the
crafts guilds or various associations that offer such benifits
to their collective members? This has got to be a concern for the
thousands of self-employed tool users in the USofA. Any
suggestions? Kim-Eric Lilot.

Having explored the area several years ago, I can honestly say
that I would rather save my own money to invest & use as I
please, when I please instead of giving it to the insurance
compaies to make themselves money with. One reason many of us
are self-employed is so that we can control our own finances. The
premiums are so high it’s outragious anyway. Your best insurance
is regular doctor visits and using care to protect yourself at
all times.

Steve Klepinger

Steve -Using this logic why would you even get medical, home or
earthquake insurance? Because there are accidents and limited
finances. Even elite, professional athletes have medical
insurance for dire emergencies. God forbid that you have kids and
fail to have some kind of protection from the unexpected vagaries
of life. So we either have to create a large savings account
(which would have to be enormous to cover major medical or
earthquakes) or live under the illusion that because i’m taking
care of my health that all will be right in the world.Is that it?
Is that supposed to protect my house and children from
repossesion, city college and medicare? I’m willing to pay
something for a little protection Steve. That’s the risk/reward
that we take as we age and become more responsible. There ARE
societies that offer reasonable securities along with your taxes
but in the good ol’ USofA we’re forced to go unprotected, pay
through the nose for minimal protection or use collective
bargaining. So back to the original query…is anyone aware of an
artist’s union/collective/society that offers group insurance for
metalworkers/artists? I would be very appreciative of any
positive suggestions. Thanks. Kim-Eric Lilot. In rain-drenched
San Francisco.

Dear Kim and Eric, I actually obtained a disability policy from
an American Express /IDS agent. It costs me about $35 a month. I
know that there are various “occupational risk” categories which
determine the likelihood (and therefore the cost) of injuries.
Oddly enough, a “goldsmith” has a greater risk probability than
a “jeweler” (at least on the list that my agent showed me). I
presume that AmEx/IDS thinks a jeweler sells the stuff and a
goldsmith makes the stuff. And thus any one who “makes” stuff
must come into contact with more and dangerous tools.

My policy covers any disability, regardless of origin, and is
meant to augment a policy offered by my employer. I know that
the same type of policy can be written for significantly higher
amounts (both in terms of payouts and premiums) had I not had
the policy from my employer.

Kim’s and Eric’s inquiries into this type of coverage should
make all craftsperson’s think about “DI” coverage. Just think
(G-d forbid!) how easily we could be out of work from a simple
injury to our hands or eyes. Play it safe! Call your insurance carrier.

Disability insurance, I have always had it and always will. You
need to be sure that if you are self employed that you pay your
premium with after tax dollars. If you deduct it as a business
expense, and you can, you will have to pay income tax on all the
money you receive after are disabled. If you use after tax
dollars you do not pay income tax. Its not going to replace your
full income but it will certainly keep a roof over your head, I
think it’s worth it.

Mark P.

I know that the Better Business Bureau has a group insurance
plan you can join if you become a member of BBB. 2-years ago to
join BBB, it was $150 per year, if I recollect properly, the
insurance, had a reasonable deductible, and for myself and my
husband (we’re in our early thirties) was just over $200 a month.
A bargain in the 90’s. The insurannce was a regular policy,
not just catastrophic insurance. Try calling your local chapter.
They had other bennies for joining the BBB too!!!

God Bless, Donna

Dear Kim/Eric: Have I hit a sore nerve? If so, my apologies. I
simply ment to point out that I believe in insurance when it’s a
reasonable value(eg-home or occasionaly auto insurance.)
However, in the case of health and disability insurance, it is
not! . I do not risk the health or safety of myself nor my family
on wishful thinking as you imply. However, these forms of
insurance are, in my opinion, not a good value. Unless you have
a known genetic tendancy towoard disease, your best insurance is
being responsible for and taking care of yourself.

Have a Coke & a smile :slight_smile:


Just a note concerning insurance in general:

negotiate on the deductable on any kind of insurance, raising
the deductable will lower the premium, car, house ,or medical

for those of you who think staying healthy is sufficient i would
suggest getting catastrophic medical ( agent will call it
something else) this is just an insurance with , for example, a
$10,000 deductable. low payment, and provides coverage in case of
major problems. no amount of yogurt helps against a drunk driving
on the sidewalk.

side note for homeowners there are major liability policies that
can cover into the megabuck range with the deduct set at the
level of your regular insurance these cost very little because
the likelyhood of a payout is remote.

Dan at Birdwalk Farms

Try the MJSA. They have different insurance plans and you also
get a free website when you join.


I know that you can obtain health insurance from the American
Craft Council – you may check to see if they also provide
disability insurance.

Stephane in cold rainy San Francisco

Dan: Read with interest your post. Your idea about a
"Catastrophic" policy is a good one—if you can fine a company
to write it. Many have discontinued them as they don’t generate
enough profit for them. Much rather concentrate on the juicy
Major medical policies. As for your comment about eating yougart
not protecting you from a drunk, Hey! Let’s be realistic about
this. life is a gamble. Life insurance (term) is a good thing if
you have a family financialy depending upon you but don’t expect
some corporation to save your posterior!

Seize the Day!

Steve Klepinger

 Unless you have a known genetic tendancy towoard disease, your
best insurance is being responsible for and taking care of

And if you are unlucky enough to have a health condition (such
as my diabetes) which would make such insurance a very good idea,
then JUST TRY to find an insurer that will actually write the
policy. I’d pay almost any premium asked if I could actually
find a policy of this sort that would insure a decent percentage
of my income should I at some point become unable to continue to
work. Only ones I’ve ever seen put a fairly short time cap on
it. Not much use.

'Bout all I’m left with is the hope that by the time that comes
my financial resources will be sufficient to support me (rather
uncertain) or that social security will be enough to keep me from
becoming homeless when that time comes in my life. Or that I’ll
die quick enough that I won’t be able to deplete my resources.
Then it won’t be an issue. One or the other is gonna happen,
sure as anything… Not a nice thought. But Steve, did you also
say you skimp on health insurance? Or did I miss that one?

how old are you?

If over, say, 35, have you any idea what a bypass operation will
cost you when your cardiac arteries start to get too clogged?
Until fairly soon before you need that procedure, you may have no
clue that your not in perfect health. I’m 46 now. Had a 6x
bypass in april. No fun. Would have been a lot less fun if the
almost 60 thousand dollar cost had come from my pocket instead
of being heavily discounted and paid by Blue Cross. Or how
’bout back in '95, when an innocuous seeming small injury (a cat
bite, admittedly not as benign as a small cut) in my foot got
infected. By the time I realized it was in trouble, it resulted
in a three week stint in the hospital hooked up to IV
antibiotics. A fluke, perhaps. But a 17 thousand dollar one,
had I not had insurance.

For whatever it’s worth, one of the very biggest reasons I’m in
a career working a bench as a commercial jeweler for an employer
instead of following a much more potentially rewarding career as
an independent artist jeweler is that I decided I pretty much
could not afford to be without health insurance, and as a
diabetic, simply could not find a policy offered to me as a
single individual. That’s changed in recent years, but it used to
pretty much exclude me from being insurable outside of a group
plan. Made a major difference in my life and career, but I don’t
regret the choices I made. Wasn’t really a choice at all.

Wonder how many others in this field have had to make that same
sort of choice?

Peter Rowe

I just ran across this list:

The Chicago Artist’ Coalition 312-670-2060 National Arts Equity
Association 202-628-9633 Finally, if you are in the market for an
individual broker with experience in the special insurance needs
of arts, contact Roy Assed at 800-722-0160

I know nothing about these groups. I don’t make a living from my
art and my husband, who is a lawyer with a small town practice
and pay, and I carry just major medical, household and car
insurance. It’s tough for those of us who don’t fit into a
company mold.

Marilyn Smith

Dear Peter:

I sympathize with your situation and bless my stars that I don’t
have any genetic history of chronic disease such as yours.
However, I am currently 45 and, while in good health, I know that
won’t last. I’m independant and prefer it that way. My biggest
concern with health insurance is that, as you point out, they
like to disallow many illnesses and have lots of other
exclusions. They are in business for one reason…to make the
most money for their stockholders as possible. I can’t count on
them to help me when I’m in trouble. I know if I were to become
an employee, I could get at least partial coverage but I’d loose
so much more. I like the tax advantages and most of all, the
freedom to work when & how I choose. Therefore it becomes a
question of slavery eather to fate or corporate America. The
upshot is that I don’t trust ANYONE to look out for me. I
realise the incredably high cost of illness, my own mother spent
10 weeks in the hospital and ran up a bill of over $85,000 and
that was just the hospital’s share! Fortunatly, Medicare paid
almost all. If I were to become seriously ill before Medicare
kicks in, I guess I’d have to go and die in the gutter. Such is
the state of healthcare in this country. A sad affair!

Best wishes for you & yours both this hoiliday season and
throughout the coming year.


Well, folks, if your health insurance really costs $4800/month,
look at it this way: If, instead of buying insurance with it,
you put $4800/month into any investment that gives you an 8%
annual return (low by today’s standards), in 5 years you’d have a
pot of money amounting to $353,056.88. At 15% a year, you’d have
$425,157.64. Maybe YOU should get the profit, rather than
giving it to an insurance company. And if it’s YOUR money, you
won’t have a lot of your claims denied!