What the Heck is Disability Insurance...
And do I really need it?
The short answer for most people is probably.
Because Disability Insurance is like Paycheck Insurance. Aside from your health, your ability to earn income is your most valuable asset. I'm always amazed how most people have homeowner’s insurance to protect their homes, car insurance to protect their cars and life insurance to protect their family in the event of their death, but few have disability insurance to protect their income.
Yet don't have disability insurance when the probability of getting serious disability is much more likely than a fire, serious car accident, or death
WARNING: Not every Disability policy is the same.
Meaning you want to carefully examine the "definition of disability" and all benefits when shopping for disability insurance. The least expensive policy is not necessarily a good choice if it does not cover your bills when you are unable to work. We can use our experience and know how to help you find the policy that best fit your needs. The amount of benefit you can qualify for is based on your income history.
Types of Coverage
Every disability insurance policy has a definition of total disability in the policy, you should always know the exact language of this definition before you own anything. There are three basic types:
Own-Occupation Disability Insurance
This is the most comprehensive definition of total disability available. This type of policy will have a definition that says:
The inability to perform the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation, the insurance company will consider your occupation to be the occupation you are engaged in at the time you become disabled, they will pay the claim even if you are working in some other capacity.
Income Replacement Insurance
This has become the most common definition of total disability in the industry today and says the following:
Because of sickness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, and are not engaged in any other occupation.
Gainful Occupation Coverage
This definition of total disability is very common in an employer sponsored group long term disability insurance policy, or with property and casualty insurance companies that decided to release a disability insurance policy.
Because of sickness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties or your occupation, or any occupation for which you are deemed reasonably qualified by education, training, or experience.
Also keep in mind that the Elimination Period is the length of time between when an injury or illness begins and receiving benefit payments from an insurer. Also known as the "waiting" or "qualifying" period, policyholders must in the interim pay for these services and can be thought of as a deductible.
While the Benefit Period is the period of time you are eligible to collect benefits while on a disability insurance claim.