Disability Insurance Tips and Checklist

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UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jun 29, 2022Fact Checked

Learning how to buy disability insurance is easy and will help you find the best policy for your needs. Disability coverage is an important part of your insurance portfolio, so find out what steps you need to follow when you are shopping for a policy. Knowing how to buy disability insurance will make you a smart shopper, and give you an advantage when you look for coverage.

Helpful Disability Insurance Advice

The following tips are a great source of advice when buying disability insurance. You ultimately have the final say in how you get disability insurance, but following these tips can help you find the perfect policy:

  1. You should be ready to shop and compare disability insurance quotes. The best way to find the right policy for the right price is to compare and contrast disability insurance quotes. Get a few, look over them, and find the coverage that fits you.
  2. Be prepared with an estimate of what you are prepared to spend on disability insurance. Some features of disability insurance cause the cost to increase. Know how much you are willing to spend when you buy disability insurance, and only get the policy options that are within your price range.
  3. You need to know how much disability insurance to buy. If you are disabled and unable to work, your disability insurance will be the primary source of income. Ask yourself some important questions: Does your spouse work? Will you be responsible for college tuition? Are you saving for retirement? How long can your savings compensate for a loss of income? Answers to such questions will help you determine the level of benefit you will need.
  4. You need to think about how long an elimination period you would need until your benefits begin. The elimination period is the time between your injury and the start of your disability benefits and ranges from 30 – 90 days. Calculate how long you can afford to go without supplemental income if you become disabled as well as how much premium you can afford. Remember, the shorter the elimination period, the higher the disability premium.
  5. You need to decide how long you will need to receive disability insurance benefits. Many policies are designed to provide benefits to age 65, or until retirement, but you can also purchase disability insurance with a 2 year benefit period, or just about anything else between that and retirement, depending on the company. Your long term income needs should determine the length of the benefit period you choose.
  6. Remember that insurance policies are legal contracts. You should read and compare the actual polices you are considering before you purchase disability insurance. While insurance companies are supposed to be honest and accurate in their advertising and literature, the policy, itself, is your legal contract with the insurance company and is the document by which the company is legally bound. Nothing an advertisement or an agent says will trump the disability contract. If you do not understand any provisions in your disability insurance contract, you should get clarification from the home office, not from an agent who wants to sell a policy to get the commission. If you have a question about how the policy works, call the underwriting department. If you have a question about how benefits are paid, call the claims department. If you are still uncertain about the meaning of a provision, call the legal department. To assist your analysis, you should also receive from each insurance company an Outline of Coverage, which provides basic information about your policy. Purchasing disability insurance commits you to the contract, so read it!
  7. You should ask to see an insurance company’s financial ratings. This will give you an idea of the company’s financial stability, which is important for you to know because you want to be as certain as you can be that the company will be solvent if you do become disabled. The A.M. Best Company, Standard and Poor’s Corporation, and Moody’s all analyze financial data and rate insurance companies.
  8. Find out how easy the company is to work with if you have to file a claim. Do some reading online to find out what customers have to say about filing disability claims with a particular company. Although the customers most likely to post their experience are upset about something, you can get a sense of how helpful the company is when you need them to pay a claim. Your state insurance department can provide information on the claims payment record for each insurance company operating in your state if you would like to see how often a company pays out its claims.
  9. Even after you purchase a policy, you usually have a free look period. During that period, you can return the policy if it does not meet your requirements for any reason and get your money back. Depending on the state, the free look period is between 10 days and 30 days, with 30 days the most common.

Following this helpful disability insurance advice can go a long way towards getting the right policy to meet your needs. It is important that you know how to buy the right disability insurance plan before you start shopping. Get a free disability insurance quote by clicking here to visit the Free Advice quote center today.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

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