By Rhonda Campbell
Affordable insurance for freelancers is available through freelancers unions, professional associations and private insurance companies. For example, the Freelancers Union, the National Writers Union and the American Society of Media Photographers provide personal insurance for their members. Yet, as with all insurance programs, there are pros and cons to the plans.
Freelancers Shopping for Personal Insurance Plans
Because unions and professional associations can get the ear of large numbers of freelancers, they can also work with insurance companies to get coverage for their members at reduced rates. However, these plans are generally not the same as buying life insurance or health insurance through an employer. In other words, unions and professional associations generally don’t chip in to help pay for a portion of their members’ monthly insurance premiums.
To get the best deals that meet you and your family’s needs, do a little homework. In addition to getting prices and coverage levels from professional associations and freelancers unions you belong to, consider contacting individual insurance companies as you might be able to get better deals through an individual plan.
When shopping for personal insurance, shop around and compare insurance rates and coverage. Contact three or more companies. In fact, if you contact six or more life insurance companies, requesting an insurance quote, you can get a better idea of the types of coverage you can get at low, average and high premium rates. As a reminder, don’t just shop for a low monthly premium. Make sure the coverage you receive allows you to meet your family’s needs.
Tips to Consider When Freelancers Contact Insurance Companies
For example, if you’re a freelancer with school aged children, you may need a broader range of coverage compared to another freelancer who is single and childless. Other factors to consider when shopping for affordable insurance that has sufficient coverage to meet your needs include:
• Monthly insurance premiums (always review coverage included in premiums rather than just focusing on the premium rate)
• How long insurance companies have been in service (you want to go with insurance companies that are going to be around)
• Types of personal insurance (for example, do you want whole life insurance or term life insurance)
• Whether or not dental and vision insurance are included in personal insurance plans
• Physicians included in affordable insurance plans (if you want to continue to be treated and examined by your family physician, when you compare insurance plans check with the company and make sure you can continue to work with your physician)
• Free services covered in insurance plans (i.e. mammograms, flu shots)
• Doctor office visit co-payment amounts
• Amount of deductible you are responsible for paying should you have to go to the hospital, etc. (for example, some insurance companies require freelancers to pay $5,000 on hospital bills before they start covering medical expenses)
Staying on Top of Freelancers Personal Insurance Plans
Regardless of the insurance company you select, don’t be surprised to find your monthly insurance premiums creeping up after you’ve been with an insurance company for two or more years. I’m not saying it’s right, but it happens. It happens to large corporations. It happens to small business owners. It happens to freelancers. That said, if insurance companies raise their rates by large amounts each year, it may be time to start shopping for new insurance companies.
Of course, if you’re a freelancer who operates a business that brings you in contact with the public (i.e. caterer, plumber), it’s a good idea to also get business insurance. As with personal insurance, life insurance and health insurance, take the time to get more than one insurance quote before selecting a carrier. Another tip you can take advantage of when you’re shopping for personal insurance as a freelancer is to ask other freelancers to give you the name and contact information of insurance companies they’ve worked with and are satisfied with.
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