Being a full-time freelancer takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and a whole lot of grit. But despite the challenges, more and more Americans are choosing the freedom of freelancing. A 2021 study found that over 67 million Americans freelance in some capacity — and that number is expected to skyrocket to over 90 million by 2028¹.
As an independent contractor or freelancer, keeping your bills paid and your business afloat is enough to keep you busy from sun up to sundown. Worrying about insurance coverage for things like accidents, oral disease, deteriorating vision, or disability may not be at the top of your to-do list.
But your personal health deserves to be a priority. Without it, it’s difficult to make any living at all – let alone participate in activities that make life worth living. And unexpected health problems are more common than you might think. In 2018, over 35 million Americans went to the emergency room for an injury-related visit² – and nearly one in four Americans report skipping medicare due to the high cost of healthcare³.
Supplemental insurance, by definition, is additional insurance that can help with out-of-pocket costs and services outside of what your healthcare insurance typically covers. Supplemental insurance can help protect you from unexpected medical bills that could make a huge dent in your freelancing career, should an unexpected injury, vision problem, dental emergency, or disability arise. Learn how supplemental insurance can help protect your health and savings as a freelancer.
Subcontractor and Freelancer Insurance
As an independent contractor, you may not receive insurance through a group plan as many full-time employed individuals do. If this is the case, you’ll be responsible to obtain health insurance on your own, whether through the ACA marketplace or government programs such as Medicaid.
While health insurance covers many essential health benefits, it typically does not cover all of the costs of caring for your overall health. Supplemental health insurance can help provide additional coverage for healthcare costs that aren’t fully covered by your major health insurance plan⁴. Dental insurance, accident insurance, vision insurance, and disability insurance can all help you budget for the cost of certain routine and serious health conditions that may arise, as well as non-medical expenses that may accompany those conditions.
Independent Contractor Insurance Options
A few of the most common types of supplemental insurance include dental insurance, accident insurance, vision insurance, and disability insurance.
Dental insurance typically covers a portion of the cost of a range of dental services from routine preventive care to dental surgery. Dental insurance helps you pay for all or a portion of the cost of certain dental services by paying a certain percentage of treatment costs and negotiating reduced rates with a network of dentists. Even if you have enrolled in a medical insurance plan, most health plans do not include dental benefits – and paying out-of-pocket for preventative, basic, and emergency dental treatment can really add up. Purchasing an individual dental insurance policy can help you budget for the costs of dental treatment as a freelancer or independent contractor.
Accident insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance that pays out a cash benefit if you have a qualifying accidental injury. It can help with the unexpected expenses medical insurance doesn’t fully cover that often accompany an accidental injury such as a broken bone, burn, or concussion. You can use this cash benefit to cover multiple injury and treatment types, such as ambulance charges, emergency room visits, hospital costs, surgery, crutches, physical therapy, and more. Benefits paid are based on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and the type of treatments you receive. An accident insurance policy can help freelancers or independent contractors cover out-of-pocket expenses of high deductible medical insurance plans. It can help self-employed freelancers get back on their feet and keep their business running after an accidental injury.
Vision insurance helps make eye care more affordable by covering annual eye exams, prescription glasses, contacts, and beyond. Vision insurance may help cover the cost of upgrades such as blue light lenses, which can really help freelancers who work on a computer all day. Vision tends to deteriorate with age⁵, so it can be a prudent financial decision for freelancers with perfect vision and independent contractors who wear glasses every day alike. Vision insurance can help independent contractors or freelancers budget for the cost of vision care.
If you’re not currently living with a disability, you may think disability insurance isn’t for you. But disability insurance is actually designed for able-bodied people like you who want to protect their finances should they become disabled and be unable to work. Approximately one in eight workers will be disabled for five years or more during their lifetime⁶. Disability insurance is a type of insurance that provides you with a monthly payment benefit if you are disabled. Short-term disability policies typically cover a policyholder for up to a year, while long-term disability policies typically cover a policyholder for anywhere from two years up until the policyholder reaches retirement age⁷.
Insurance for Entrepreneurs
Obtaining major and supplemental health insurance can be tricky for entrepreneurs and small business owners as well. While it’s nice to be your own boss, that also means you’re your own benefits department! You’re responsible for finding affordable insurance benefits that allow you to do your job, take care of your personal health, and help protect your personal finances.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners also stand to benefit from affordable dental insurance, vision insurance, accident insurance, and disability insurance policies. An affordable monthly premium is a small price to pay out of your income.
How do I define an independent contractor?
The IRS defines an independent contractor as an individual in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public, if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done⁸. Independent contractors are self-employed, with no employer-employee relationship. They typically control when they work, where they work, and for whom they work.
Because independent contractors are self-employed, they often do not receive medical, dental, or supplemental health insurance benefits through group plans – even if they may perform services for companies that do offer those sorts of insurance benefits to their employees. Independent contractors who do not obtain private insurance benefits on their own may put their health and finances at risk without coverage.
No matter what you call yourself – independent contractor, freelancer, entrepreneur, gig economy worker, subcontractor, self-employed, etc. – you can still obtain affordable supplemental insurance even if your employment situation means you don’t receive any insurance benefits through a group plan.
Contractors insurance near me & Insights
Looking for contractors’ insurance near you? Most supplemental insurance is designed to offer affordable benefits to you no matter where in the United States you’re located and you can purchase it online! Here are a few common considerations you should keep in mind as you shop around for the most common types of independent contractor insurance:
Dental insurance near me – As you’re shopping for a dental insurance plan, be sure to check your insurance provider’s network to make sure the company has in-network dentists near you. Guardian Direct has a large dental network of over 100,000 providers – Find a dentist near you.
Accident insurance near me – Accident insurance isn’t tied to a specific healthcare provider or location – if you experience a covered accidental injury, your insurance company will pay your cash benefit straight to you. You can purchase accident insurance online.
Vision insurance near me – As you’re shopping for a vision insurance plan, be sure to check your insurance provider’s network to make sure the company has eye care professionals near you. Guardian Direct offers vision insurance powered by VSP – Find an eye doctor near you.
Disability insurance near me – While disability insurance premium rates may vary by state, you can purchase disability insurance online wherever you’re located.
Interested in learning more about supplemental insurance for independent contractors and freelancers? We’ve compiled a few convenient resources to help you learn more.
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed reliable, please note that individual situations can vary, therefore the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.
Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.
Individual Accident, Critical Illness, Disability Insurance and Dental Insurance products are underwritten by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, New York. Products are not available in all states.
Individual disability insurance policy form 18PG is underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, MA, a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state.
In NY: These policies provide disability insurance only. They do not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Insurance Department. For policy form 18PG, the expected benefit ratio is 50%. For policy form 18PG-F, the expected benefit ratio is 60%. The expected benefit ratio is the portion of future premiums that the company expects to return as benefits, when averaged over all people with these policy forms.
Vision Insurance is provided by VSP® and billing and premium collection services for such vision insurance are conducted by DTC GLIC, LLC (d/b/a DTC GLIC Insurance Sales, LLC in California).
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https://www.statista.com/statistics/921593/gig-economy-number-of-freelancers-us/, (2021), last accessed August 2021
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm, (2021), last accessed August 2021
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/11/nearly-1-in-4-americans-are-skipping-medical-care-because-of-the-cost.html, (2020) last accessed August 2021
https://www.thebalance.com/the-basics-of-a-supplemental-health-insurance-plan-2645664, (2021), last accessed August 2021
https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-health-for-life/adult-vision-41-to-60-years-of-age, last accessed August 2021
https://www.kiplinger.com/article/insurance/t012-c032-s014-dont-underestimate-need-for-disability-insurance.html, (2020), last accessed August 2021
https://legalaidatwork.org/factsheet/short-term-and-long-term-disability-insurance-plans-and-benefit-programs-an-introduction/, last accessed August 2021
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/independent-contractor-defined, (April 2021), last accessed August 2021
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.10/23)