Think about it: If some unexpected event happened tomorrow and you were unable to work, how would you pay your bills? Scary thought, isn't it? Luckily, that's what disability insurance is for. If you fall seriously ill or get seriously injured, long-term disability will pay out a percentage of your salary to help replace your monthly income.
That kinda protection sounds pretty priceless, but luckily, the price is pretty reasonable. And with an independent insurance agent, you know you'll be getting the right price and coverage.
Independent insurance agents work with multiple carriers, which means they can bring a bunch of different quotes to the table all at once. They'll help walk you through each and every one to find the perfect blend of protection and price for your needs.
But there are a lot of different factors that go into how your rates are determined, so first you should know a little background.
What Is Disability Insurance?
Someone once said if you’re not sure where to start, start at the beginning. And it’s a good thing to know what disability insurance is before getting into the nitty-gritty of the costs.
Simply put, disability insurance replaces your lost income due to a disability, illness or injury, normally covering between 40% and 70% of your salary. There are several different types of disability insurance that may apply to you, like:
- Individual long-term disability insurance: This coverage handles long-term injuries, disabilities, and illnesses. These disabilities or illnesses keep you from working and are not to be confused with work-related injuries or illnesses. Coverage lasts years, and sometimes decades, depending on your benefits.
- Individual short-term disability insurance: Just like long-term disability insurance, short-term also covers injuries, disabilities, and illnesses that keep you from working. Instead of lasting years, this coverage only lasts for days or months, hence the title short-term.
- Group long-term disability insurance: Group long-term is offered through your employer. You can choose to participate in group coverage or opt out. This policy is offered to all eligible employees at your work and is the kind of disability coverage that lasts for years. Health risk factors are not accounted for since it is rated on a group basis, which is a huge plus.
- Group short-term disability insurance: This group disability coverage is just like group long-term insurance in the sense that it is offered through your employer and covers disabilities, illnesses, and injuries. Again, it is offered to all eligible employees and you may choose to opt out if you so desire. Health risk factors are still not accounted for on this disability policy type and your employer normally pays for this coverage.
Government-backed disability programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance: This is offered by the federal government and is a federally funded disability benefits program. Sounds like a big deal doesn't it?
- State disability programs: State disability programs are in just a few states across the country and offer temporary disability insurance.
For this article, though, everything will be focused on individual long-term disability insurance, the kind you get outside of your employer that can last for years.
Why Is Individual Long-Term Disability Insurance Important?
Well, because accidents happen and no one ever expects the unexpected. It's safe to say that the majority of folks out there depend on their income to maintain their lives. And if you can't work due to a disability or illness, you still need some sort of cash to come in because those bills aren't going to just go away.
With disability insurance, a percentage of your salary is paid out to you to serve as income replacement and keep those bills at bay.
One out of ten people between the ages of 21 and 64 could end up with any disability, so it would be best to get some reasonable amount of coverage.
A 2017 study done by Cornell University determined that there is up to a $25,000 difference between households without disabilities and households with them. You shouldn't risk financial hardship due to an accident or health issue.
So really any disability insurance is important to have. Many employers offer some sort of group disability, but there are often holes in coverage and limitations, which is why an individual policy should often enter the mix, to help keep you going strong.
Of course, many who have group disability don't know about their potential coverage gaps and just assume it's good enough, but an independent insurance agent can take a look at your existing coverage and help find you the right mix of protection to prep for the unthinkable.
How Much Does Long-Term Disability Insurance Cost?
Disability insurance doesn't cost a fortune, but it's important to know what factors come together to make up your cost, like:
Gender, Age, and Location
A 51-year-old woman in California may have a different policy amount than a 30-year-old man in Kansas. Your age can easily determine your likelihood of having a disability.
The 2017 study also revealed that roughly a quarter of adults 65 and over have a disability. The location you live in can increase these odds as well. Large cities are more likely to experience car accidents, crime, and hazardous construction.
The insurance company will want to know if you have a smoking history. Of course, smoking can lead to health issues that translate into a disability.
The longer the coverage payout lasts, the more expensive the policy will be. Short-term disability is, of course, cheaper and usually lasts several months. Long-term disability could have benefit periods that last all the way until retirement. Depending on the insurance company, you can have more benefit period options to choose from.
The disability benefit is a percentage of your income. So the larger the salary, the larger the premium. Therefore, paying monthly costs for 60% coverage on a long-term disability insurance policy will be noticeably higher than 30% coverage on a short-term disability policy.
Choose the best percentage for your financial situation. If you have other financial tools and savings in place, you may be able to lower the percentage.
Is your job hazardous or accident-prone? If you suffered from a disability, could you still do part of your job at least? These are things the insurance company thinks about. A lawyer who suffers a back injury can still do much of their work from home. However, a personal trainer may not be able to work at all.
Features of Policies
When talking with an independent insurance agent, you'll find that the options they bring may have extra features included that could provide more value to the policy, though it may raise your rates.
Once you meet with your insurance agent, you can give them all the info they need to help find the best blend of coverage and cost for your situation.
Ways to Reduce Your Long-Term Disability Premiums
If you're looking for ways to reduce the cost of your insurance premium, you can always opt for shorter and smaller options in your policy. You can consider a shorter benefit period for your disability policy. Say, instead of a benefit period lasting ten years, you could opt for just two, until you feel comfortable extending it.
Also, you could set up your disability insurance to pay out a smaller percentage of your income. Many policyholders have disability insurance policies set to receive around 60% of their income. But you can always choose to receive a smaller percentage instead to make your premiums lower.
Paying Disability Insurance Premiums
With an independent insurance agent, making premium payments is as easy as it gets. Like many insurance policies, you can usually pay monthly, quarterly, or annually — it's all up to you. Normally, this can all be done online or through automatic recurring payments that get pulled straight from your account on a date you decide on. Voila, it's that easy.
Purchasing Long-Term Disability Insurance
There are many people who obtain long-term disability insurance through their employer, which can be fine. But in many cases, your employer's group coverage may have gaps in coverage. With an individual policy, you can help fill those holes and sleep better at night, knowing you're covered from the unthinkable.
With an individual long-term policy, the easiest way to get protected is through an independent insurance agent, who can offer way more convenience and flexibility. Instead of having a limited policy, you'll be able to create a policy with an agent that caters to your specific needs and financial situation.
And the process is simple. Once you meet with an agent, you'll tell them all about yourself, your goals, and any concerns for the future. From there, they'll start the research and pull in quotes from all sorts of providers they think would be a good fit for your situation.
Once the quotes are in, they'll walk you through every one of them and explain anything you don't understand. Once you've made your decision, you'll sign some papers, arrange payment, and — BOOM — you're all set.
Compare Long-Term Disability Insurance Quotes 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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2018 Survey by iii.org and LIMRA