Americans use insurance to cover the loss of various assets ranging from jewelry to homes. However, numerous individuals overlook the most significant asset-the capacity to work and earn an income. You can never foresee when tragedy will arise. Whether it’s a car accident or an unexpected misfortune, it’s sensible to purchase disability insurance.
Disability insurance, frequently termed disability income insurance or DI, is a type of insurance that insures a beneficiary’s earned revenue against the likelihood that a disability prevents an employee from completing his or her work’s core functions.
The program seeks to substitute a segment of your revenue in the event that you sustain disability or become incapable of earning an income. Here’s what you need to know about this crucial program.
Types of Medical Insurance
Two types of disability insurance exist: short and long-term.
Short-term Disability Insurance
These plans usually pay benefits when you’re out of work for up to or less than 13-26 weeks depending on the policy. The payout is usually 50-60% of your salary although a number of policies could go up to 80% of the salary.
Benefits in this plan might have different waiting periods for disabilities originating from illnesses versus those originating from injuries. If you’re pregnant, bear in mind that pregnancy is considered pre-existing, so coverage doesn’t start until nine months after the policy takes effect. It’s also important to note that short-term insurance doesn’t cover mental illness.
Eligibility for Short-term Insurance
- Various states have a minimum salary requirement
- Benefits don’t last more than 26-30 weeks (California-52 weeks)
- Pregnant women can obtain short-term insurance for numerous weeks for recovery and delivery
Long-term Disability Insurance
These plans usually pay benefits when you’re out of work for over 30 days. It’s best to coordinate between short and long term disability. Long-term insurance can range from several months to numerous years of coverage and typically substitutes 60% of your pay.
It’s intended for catastrophic injuries or diseases that occur outside of work, like a vehicle crash that leaves someone paralyzed and not working. While these plans frequently cover mental illnesses, they usually have a limit of 24 months.
You’ll want to check whether you’re clear on what the policy considers “disabled,” which can vary by the type of insurance.
How to Buy Disability Insurance
The different ways of obtaining disability coverage include:
- Sign up for employer-sponsored insurance at work. The majority of employers that provide coverage pay the entire or part of the premium cost.
- Purchase insurance through the workplace. A number of employers don’t pay for coverage but provide it as a voluntary benefit. This allows employees to purchase coverage through the employer’s broker at a group rate.
- Purchase coverage through a professional association. Numerous professional groups provide members insurance at group rates.
- Purchase an individual policy from a broker here or directly from an insurance firm. Most of these policies are for long-term coverage, although some firms offer short-term policies.
You can pay for the policy through direct billing or reimbursement. Companies offering disability insurance plans include Ameritas, The Standard and The Principal.
PPO Networks include Colonial Life, Sun Life Financial, Aetna, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Mutual of Omaha and MetLife.
The Best Time to Obtain Disability Insurance
It’s best to obtain this product before a disability. Consider getting it as early as possible when it’s both economically practical and feasible even though you might not have an apparent need at the moment.
Application Process for Disability Insurance
The application process takes about 4-6 weeks and involves the following:
Every insurance company has its way of evaluating applicants and everybody is different. Therefore, you’ll probably obtain varied rates from various companies. Consider using a comparison tool to obtain several quotes and select the one that offers the best coverage at the cheapest rate.
You will complete a fundamental application, covering employment details and basic information. Be ready to offer income documentation-either your employment offer letter or current tax return. You’ll also need to sign consent forms for your prospective insurer to obtain your health information.
Your broker, or in some instances, the insurer will contact or email you directly to set up a medical exam. The exam takes approximately 30-45 minutes.
A medical doctor or licensed paramedical might come to your workplace or home to perform the exam, or you might have to stop by a lab. The medical exam generally involves a urine and blood specimen, weight and height measurement.
The insurer’s representative will contact you to ask questions regarding your lifestyle and health history. This will take approximately 20-25 minutes and your insurance broker will generally inform you on the questions to expect. It’s advisable to have the contact details of your primary physician.
Underwriting and approval
Underwriting usually takes 2-4 weeks of the application process. Beware that the process will take a longer duration depending on the complexity of your medical history. Once the policy is ready, your insurer or broker will deliver it.
Buying the policy
You’ll need to sign a delivery receipt and approve a payment method of activating the policy. Long-term insurance will cost you around 1%-3% of your yearly salary.
While you should generally expect the policy in hand in4-6 weeks, numerous factors affect the underwriting period. They include:
How detailed your application is
If you offer all the information the insurer requires upfront, it takes a shorter time to keep seeking clarification regarding your application. Therefore, it’s advisable to provide a high degree of detail when applying for disability insurance.
The duration it takes to acquire your medical records
This factor causes more delays than other parts of the underwriting procedure. The insurer usually requests a copy of your health records from your primary physician who needs to turn them to the insurer. At times, the insurance company obtains them within some days while other times, the physician takes a longer time to send your records to the insurer.
Scheduling the medical exam
The sooner you schedule this exam the faster the underwriting application will take place.
Why You Need Disability Insurance
Concentrate on Recovery
Without disability coverage, the time you’ll spend in recovery could be difficult and stressful while you try to seek finances. As a result, your recovery could become more unpleasant than it should be, and in some instances, could worsen things. A solid policy eliminates any discomfort and stress you’d have to face, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery without anxiety.
One Policy, Numerous Jobs
These policies aren’t locked into your present job. This implies that if you shift from one job to another, your insurance policy will remain as reliable and stable as when you obtained it. If you find yourself changing job titles or working several temporary jobs, you won’t need to worry about losing coverage or paying higher premiums suddenly.
Other reasons why you need this policy
- You can obtain a segment of your latest revenue in case your disability continues. This can help cover your daily needs and monthly bills. This way, you can prevent unwanted circumstances like foreclosures and the likelihood of having to file for bankruptcy.
- With coverage, you can have a complete income protection. This coverage is also significant because you might survive a disastrous event, for instance, a serious illness or an accident but remain with a disability.
- Payments from disability insurance can get you more cash to spend on other needs, for instance, medications or therapies during recovery.
How to Use Disability Insurance
Once you purchase the product, you can use it to seek treatment by locating healthcare facilities that accept coverage. You would need to present your identification to the medical provider and fill out a claim form.
Bear in mind that you’ll have to present various reports including medical reports and a medical history if necessary.
It’s important you check for exclusions and in the event of claim denial, you can consider filing an appeal. Get the physician to provide documentation, stating that the service was essential and if you must pay, contact the provider to decrease charges or pay in installments.
What Disability Insurance Covers
Plans vary, and one plan might cover what another doesn’t, but disability insurance generally covers anything that makes you incapable of working. This includes surgery, maternity leave, and injuries sustained out of the workplace.
DI and Pre-existing Condition
A pre-existing condition is a physical or mental condition that exists before the effective date of the policy. Most policies have an exclusion that prevents holders from acquiring coverage for any condition for which they received treatment or knew about for two years before the effective date of the insurance policy.
When filing a disability claim, beware that the company could possibly deny you the benefits due to a pre-existing condition. This exclusion prevents insured parties from obtaining disability benefits for injuries sustained before the start of the insurance policy.
When completing your application, it’s best you disclose any pre-existing conditions. While it’s still possible to obtain a policy, you might need to pay a higher rate; otherwise, you might face denial later for lack of disclosure.
Who Needs Disability Insurance
Here’s a list of indications that you need disability insurance
- If you work in an environment that’s prone to accidents, for instance, mining and other areas that carry a higher likelihood of disability and injury.
- Your employer offers little to no benefits. Even if your employer offers some coverage, it might be prudent to buy an individual policy. Remember, employer-sponsored policies frequently offer less coverage with more limitations compared to a private policy.
- You have monthly costs. If you’re incapable of working because of a disabling injury or illness, you’ll need sufficient savings to cover your monthly costs. If you have considerable monthly costs and restricted savings, perhaps it’s time you considered disability insurance.
Underwriters and Reliability
Underwriters are experts who analyze and evaluate the risks of insuring assets and people and while establishing pricing for accepted risks. Assessing an insurer’s risk at renewal and before the policy period is a crucial role of an underwriter. When looking for an underwriter, it’s important to examine their financial ratings through companies such as A.M. Best, which focuses on the insurance sector.
Disability Insurance Exclusions
While DI is one of the most significant types of insurance you can have, provisions exist that most people aren’t familiar with. One of the most significant is disability exclusion. Some of the exclusions you should keep in mind include:
The nervous/mental limitation is a common exclusion and while some insurers don’t have limits on claims caused by nervous and mental conditions, you can expect to see this policy provision.
This means that if your nervous /mental condition caused or contributed to your disability, your benefit payments will be restricted to the period set by your policy. Conditions frequently include anxiety, stress, dementia, or depression.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Restriction
Coverage emerging from alcoholism or substance abuse is frequently capped at 24 months or might not be covered at all. If you’re on prescription medication, beware of the restriction.
Other exclusions include:
- Intentionally self-inflicted injuries
- Active participation, rebellion, or engaging in civil disturbance
- Loss of occupational or professional license
We hope this guide has brought you clarity on the subject and you are no longer uncertain about investing in disability insurance. Contact us for a quote and do get in touch with us if you have any questions!