Young business woman learning about disability insurance.

Everything You Need to Know When Buying Disability Insurance

There are a lot of things to consider when buying disability insurance. Just like other types of insurance, the decisions you make will affect your disability insurance benefits, coverage and premiums. The best way to make sure that you’re making responsible decisions is to evaluate your situation and long term needs. Below are important factors from www.LifeHappens.org that can help you when buying disability insurance.

Amount of Coverage

While there’s no substitute for a thorough needs analysis conducted by an insurance professional, you’ll find that most policies cover between 50% and 70% of your income. When thinking about how much coverage you need, consider both short-term and long-term expenses, as well as any other sources of disability income, such as investment income or group disability income coverage.

Group Disability Coverage

Some employers, including most larger ones, offer group disability insurance. However, an employee may still need to consider individual disability insurance because the coverage offered by the company might be insufficient. In this case, the amount of individual insurance you can obtain will be affected by the amount of group coverage you receive.

Elimination Period

This is the amount of time you are required to wait after a disability occurs before you can receive benefits. It can vary from as short as 30 days to 90 days or longer. Longer elimination periods generally translate into lower premiums. However, you should be certain that you could afford to meet all of your immediate needs for that period of time if you were to become disabled.

Benefit Period

Another policy option concerns the amount of time you will receive benefits. They can last for between one and five years, up to age 65, or even for life, depending on your specific needs. The benefit period will directly impact your premiums—the longer the period, the higher the premium.

Taxable or Tax-Free Income

When employers pay your insurance premiums, the benefits you receive will be taxable because they are considered income. If you pay your premiums with after- tax dollars, then your benefits will be tax free (according to current IRS regulations).

Retirement

When considering the amount of coverage you need, keep in mind that you will probably want to continue funding your retirement needs, even if you are not working.

Definition of Disability

Some plans pay claims if you can no longer perform the duties of your current occupation, while other plans will pay benefits only if you are unable to perform the duties of any occupation. Still others will pay benefits based upon loss of earned income. Each option offers a different level of cost and benefit.


Content reproduced with the permission of Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families’ financial futures. Life Happens does not endorse any insurance company, product or advisor. © Life Happens 2015. All rights reserved.

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