How to Compare Disability Insurance

Shopping for disability insurance is a task most people don’t look forward to, because it’s time-consuming and can be confusing. When shopping for disability insurance, it’s important to find the right policy by comparing several and reading the fine print. Know how to compare disability insurance to find the right policy for your needs.

1. Define your job.

  • Before comparing disability insurance policies, define your job field and your specific occupation. Disability insurance policies and the available coverage and rates will vary depending on your occupation and those of anyone else being covered on the policy. Outlining this beforehand will make it easier to compare policies that fit your job field.




2. Compare short-term and long-term policies separately.

  • Short-term policies usually cover you for up to 2 years, while long-term policies last anywhere from 5 to the retirement age of the insured worker. These differences in length of benefits will cause the rates to differ greatly, so compare them separately to make each type of policy easier to understand.



3. Look for options to renew.

  • When you compare disability insurance, look for policies that specify that they’re not able to be canceled or that they are guaranteed for renewal. This means that your carrier cannot cancel your coverage at any time, giving you more peace of mind.




4. Evaluate flexibility of coverage.

  • Some policies offer flexibility of coverage to help pay for expenses not covered by Social Security or other benefits. These might be more expensive up front, but could end up offering more coverage than a fixed-rate policy and prevent you from having to pay out of pocket for unforeseen expenses. Compare the flexibility guidelines for each policy.




5. Start with your employer.

  • Your employer will likely have disability insurance available to you under a group policy that could be less expensive than purchasing your disability coverage individually. Compare benefits of your employer’s disability insurance package to individual policies. Be careful that your employer isn’t just buying the cheapest option, because this could leave you with fewer benefits and a shorter coverage period.




6. Consider more than price.

  • Instead of just comparing policy prices, read the fine print about what each policy actually includes. Buying the cheapest policy might seem like a bargain, but it could end up offering only short-term or minimum benefits.




7. Know the waiting period.

  • Disability insurance carries a waiting period or elimination period that can last from 30 days to 18 months. You’ll have to wait until after this period expires to get benefits. A policy with a shorter waiting period will probably cost a little more, but will provide you with benefits sooner.




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