Insurance For Freelancers

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While it may not seem a priority at first glance, financial planning is a prudent consideration for a freelancer. Without subsidised or sponsored healthcare benefits, and the responsibility for your own business assets and liabilities, insurance is a form of risk management that may help protect against income loss. Each one of us will have unique needs and an individual understanding of the value of insurance, so there is no one “optimal” amount of insurance to purchase. 

 

What to look out for

Depending on the work you do, the type of insurance you need will differ. As a dancer, your potential physical risk may differ from say, a poet. In a similar vein, if you rent a studio space, you will face different risks from if you worked from home. Some influencing factors would be:

  • The type of work you do;
  • The type of assets you have e.g. art-making equipment of significant value and crucial to the creation of your work;
  • The potential liability you may owe to a third party e.g. for property or borrowed assets.

In general, insurance undertaken is to protect your assets or minimise your liabilities, and it will be best to seek advice from a professional insurer. Two broad principles would be:

Ensure the scope and pay-out of coverage meets your needs

As a self-employed person or freelancer, you may not receive CPF contribution from your hirers, therefore, it is even more critical that you contribute regularly to MediSave. This is to ensure you have put aside savings to cater for your healthcare needs, especially when you get older and have stopped working.

CPF Board refers to your self-employed net income as Net Trade Income (NTI). If you earn an annual NTI of more than $6,000(current as of 2019) from your freelance work, you will need to contribute to MediSave. For more information on MediSave, click here.

Read the fine print and ask questions of your insurer

  • What does this insurance plan not cover?
  • If I incur my loss overseas does this plan still cover me?
  • How are claims done?
  • What documents do I need to support my claims?
  • When can I get my claims after I submit all necessary documents?
  • Give me real-life cases where a person could not or did not get his/her claim.


You can also read Chapter 5 on Insurance found in ‘Advocates for the Arts – A Legal Handbook for the Creative Industries’ for more information on the range of insurance types that might be relevant to you.

Freelancer-specific insurance

Regardless of a freelancer’s age and career type, the common denominator of risk faced is the reality of falling sick and needing time to rest, which translates to the stopping of income. There are specific paid medical leave insurance plans designed to protect freelancers from income loss due to illness or injury that may be of help. With these plans, signing up for them earlier rather than later is best, as falling sick is not something you can control 100%.

There are currently three insurance plans on the market that are specifically aimed at supporting freelancers to continue to be paid if you are unable to work for an extended period due to illness or injury. While they all have a similar intent, you might prefer one to the other, depending on your unique needs and preferences for premium payment.

Freelancer Income Protection (FLIP) Insurance Plan
by Gigacover

Get paid when you are unable to work due to illness or injury. FLIP is a flexible insurance plan for freelancers that can be bought weekly, monthly or yearly. You can change or stop coverage anytime without penalties. More on this insurance plan can be found here.

Prolonged Medical Leave (PML) Insurance Plan
by NTUC Income

This is a health insurance plan that helps to relieve you financially if you are hospitalised or on hospitalisation or medical leave for a prolonged period as a result of illness or injury sustained during the period of your insurance coverage. This is a yearly renewable policy. More on this insurance plan can be found here.

Great Comprehensive Care Insurance Plan
by Great Eastern Life

This is a personal accident insurance plan that lets you receive video consultations with a doctor, relieve you financially if you are hospitalised and provide for your family in the event of a mishap. This is a yearly renewable policy. More on this insurance plan can be found here.