What You Need to Know about Long-term Disability Insurance

Chances are you’ve taken a few sick days when you have had a cold or maybe even minor surgery. But what happens if you’re ill for weeks or you have to take months off for a more serious medical condition? Most larger companies offer employees long-term disability insurance plans to replace a portion of your earnings. However, that coverage may not be sufficient to meet your family’s needs. When you’re considering buying additional long-term disability insurance, shop around for insurance quotes to make sure you get the right coverage.

It’s important to make sure you protect your family, in case you become disabled or incapacitated for a long period of time. About one third of all Americans between the ages 35 and 65 will become disabled for more than 90 days and one in seven workers will be disabled for more than five years, according to the American Council of Life Insurers. You buy life insurance to protect your family, in case you die. Long-term disability insurance provides protection if you become disabled and are no longer able to work because of an illness or an accident. Make sure you obtain several insurance quotes, before you buy a long-term disability policy.

Short-term disability

Long-term disability insurance kicks in once your short-term disability benefits run out. Most employers provide some type of short-term disability coverage, ranging from just a few days to as much as one year. Also known as sick leave, this coverage begins soon as you're unable to work due to an illness, injury or birth of a child. At some companies, the number of weeks you're eligible for this benefit is based on your years of employment. Short-term disability benefits are not mandatory, though some states require employers to provide coverage.

Before buying a long-term disability policy to supplement your employer-based insurance, determine your short-term disability coverage. You may not want to pay a premium for a long-term disability policy with a short elimination period of 60 days, if you have short-term coverage for six months.

Long-term disability

Disability insurance replaces a portion of your income if you become disabled and are no longer able to work. The typical group plan covers up to 60 percent of your income, but the actual payments you receive may be far less than that. That amount is offset by other benefits you may receive, such as social security or worker's compensation. Group plans also have a benefit cap of around $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year. In addition, such polices are based on your regular salary, so your bonus will not be taken into account when determining your income.

If you are self-employed or not covered by your employer’s group plan, consider buying an individual long-term disability policy. Even if you are covered by your employers’ group plan, you may want to buy additional coverage. An individual plan will allow you to insure another 10 to 20 percent of your income. You may even be able to get coverage for a six-figure salary and a bonus. Make sure you obtain several insurance quotes, to get the best coverage for your family.

Fine print

Long-term insurance can be confusing. Some plans include conditions that make it difficult for policyholders who file claims to qualify for the benefits. And some may limit payouts for certain diagnoses, particularly mental illness. Before you buy long-term disability insurance, make sure you read the fine print and understand your coverage.

Most group policies limit the amount of time it will pay benefits to two years, if you can't perform your job duties. After that, you'll need to prove you can't hold down any job. This reduces your employer’s costs, but it also encourages you to get new job training during the two years you’re receiving benefits.

Once you have determined the best coverage for your family’s needs, you’re ready to obtain insurance quotes. Call agents in your local area, contact several insurance companies directly or use InsuranceQuotes.com to instantly get free insurance quotes from the nation’s leading insurance providers. Take the time to protect you and your family today.

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