As invincible as most people think they are these days, it just isn't the case. In fact, 1 in 4 workers in their 20s will eventually become disabled before they retire. Ouch. And what's worse is the effect a serious illness or injury can have on your life.
After all, if you can't work, you can't make money. And if you can't make money, how are you gonna pay for your home, your water bill, and your Netflix account? Well, that's where disability insurance comes in.
The good news is, nearly 75% of employers offer some form of disability insurance to keep their employees in good health and security should an accident or illness occur.
But what happens if your employer doesn’t offer a comprehensive group disability insurance plan that can meet your financial needs? Or, the coverage might be limited. Worse, they might not offer a policy at all. What can you do to protect yourself adequately?
That's where an independent insurance agent is the answer. They can review your current disability coverage for any gaps, suggest new coverage that fits your needs, and get it all at the best possible price.
That's because they work with multiple carriers on a daily basis and aren't tied to just one option. Nice, huh? But first, you should know a bit more about how to find the right type of disability insurance for you.
What Type of Disability Insurance Is Right for Me?
The truth is there are a number of different types of long-term individual disability insurance to choose from, but not every solution is right for everyone. There a number of options out there for you, and each comes with its own pros and cons:
Long-Term Disability Insurance through Your Employer
As an employee, you may be eligible to participate in your employer’s group long-term disability insurance as a benefit.
- Easy to qualify
- May be provided at no cost
- Tax benefits
- Coverage may be limited or inadequate.
- It's tied to your employment, so changing jobs loses the policy’s coverage.
- Employer coverage can affect what level of individual coverage you may be eligible for.
Because most employees have workers' compensation coverage through their employer, it shouldn't be considered a replacement for a comprehensive long-term disability policy.
- Depending on which state you live/work in, it's likely your employer is required to provide with workers' comp in some form.
- This coverage only applies to injuries that happen while on the job.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
By design, a short-term policy complements a long-term policy by providing coverage until long-term coverage kicks in, or an individual recovers.
- Provides income protection during a long-term policy's elimination period.
- Usually offered through an employer at a subsidized cost.
- Private short-term policies can be expensive.
- May be redundant if long-term disability insurance is available.
- Short-term disability benefits usually won't cover long-term disabilities.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal insurance program that is designed to provide income supplements to people who are unable to be employed because of a notable disability.
- SSDI is provided as part of a social safety net, which doesn’t require the purchase of a separate policy.
- Qualifying for SSDI is extremely difficult.
- SSDI probably won't cover all of your costs.
Individuals set money and investments aside specifically for a crisis like a disability. In the event they get hurt or sick, they can tap into those savings to replace income while they can't work.
- No premiums
- Immediate savings
- Could gain interest
- Can be a riskier strategy than purchasing a disability insurance policy.
As you can see, each type of disability protection offers different kinds of benefits and coverage. And for most of the options above, you can also mess with a number of different factors and terms to tailor coverage more specifically to your needs.
You can get long-term disability insurance at a cheaper rate by reducing your benefit coverage, extending the elimination period, and reducing the benefit period.
That's why it’s important to speak with an independent insurance agent, so they can help guide you through the process and nail down the right amount of protection for you at the right cost.
What's the Best Long-Term Individual Disability Policy?
In some cases, the best long-term individual disability policy is the one that may be offered by your employer. This can come in the form of free perks that your job offers, or as part of a voluntary policy where employees can get coverage through the company’s group policy. Sometimes it's free, and sometimes it's just a small portion of your salary.
Of course, if your employer’s coverage is nonexistent or insufficient, private individuals can get long-term individual disability policies through private insurers and, of course, independent agents too.
Private policies tend to be more expensive than plans offered by employers, typically $50 to $150 higher, but they often provide coverage in places where a group policy doesn't.
Because of the wide variety of options among company policies, finding the right insurer for long-term individual disability insurance can be confusing. And unless you have the expertise to decipher the fine print and know what coverage applies to you, determining the best coverage can be elusive.
Luckily, an independent insurance agent has the experience and know-how to guide you through the process, clarify the fine print, and get you set up and covered against a disability.
How to Choose the Right Disability Insurance Carrier
As you can imagine, there isn't one single disability insurance company that's best for every individual, no matter what they say. An independent insurance agent knows the ins and outs of all the best carriers out there and can help break them all down for you. So when you meet with your agent, you'll want to discuss the following:
- Price: Insurance is a competitive industry and some insurers offer way better rates than others. Since long-term disability insurance is designed to protect your income, it makes sense to choose an insurer and policy that fit your budget.
- Customer experience: Choosing the right insurance can be a frustrating process at times, especially when dealing with jargon and fine print. Research each company in depth, especially negative customer experiences, during the application and underwriting process.
- Policy features: Companies that offer disability insurance may offer riders, some at vastly different costs and coverage. If you want a return-of-premium rider, compare insurers that offer them at the best rate.
- Your occupation: Some insurers specialize in offering more competitive rates for specialized careers and industries, like lawyers, certified public accountants, and dentists. In industry terms, this is defined as “own occupation,” but its exact definition varies by company. Therefore, explore insurers that may take your employment into account.
Compare Quotes for Disability Insurance with an Independent Insurance Agent
Your time is valuable, so why waste it by trying to go through the disability insurance process yourself? Expert independent insurance agents will help you determine what type of coverage makes the most sense for you.
Independent insurance agents stay on top of the industry and all the latest discounts so you don't have to. That means they'll help find the perfect amount of coverage at the best price.
They don't just help with the initial stage of obtaining coverage, either. If you ever become physically unable to work, they will be there to assist you. Now that's assistance at it's finest.
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