Questions to Ask Before Buying an Individual Disability Policy
Insurance can help to protect you and your loved ones in the event that a long term disability happens. This type of situation is not as uncommon as you might think. It can occur due to accidental injuries, a sudden and severe illness, or due to chronic health conditions you have suffered over a period of years. Benefits available through employer provided long term disability benefits or policies you purchase through a private insurer help to make up for a portion of the lost income you suffer. The following outlines important questions to consider before deciding whether you need additional coverage.
Finding Out About Employer Provided Disability Benefits
One of the first steps to protect yourself in the event of a long term disability is to review any current employer provided policies that are in place. You may have been offered this coverage when you were hired or it may have been added on over the years. The best way to get answers to your questions is to approach human resources and request to speak with the person in charge of insurance coverage.
Private employers are not required to provide long term disability benefits to you. However, if they do, your rights are generally protected through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). This is a federal law which provides rules and regulations regarding how these and other types of employee benefits are funded and managed. It also protects your rights in terms of receiving information about your policies and the coverage it offers. Information to look for includes:
- When the policy went into effect;
- The types of long term disabilities it covers and any exclusions;
- The procedure to follow in qualifying for benefits;
- How they are distributed;
- The total amount the policy will pay.
Based on the answers to these questions, you may wish to obtain additional coverage through a private insurer. Considering that the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that roughly one out of every four 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching retirement age, this could be a worthwhile investment.
Looking Closely Before Purchasing Individual Disability Coverage
In addition to reviewing employer provided disability benefits, consider benefits you may be entitled to through the SSA as well. In general, you will have needed to have been working steadily for a period of years prior to applying.
If you determine that private disability coverage may be in order, the National Association of Insurance Underwriters (NAHU) recommends asking the following questions:
- What percentage of my income will be covered by the policy?
- What is the waiting period before obtaining benefits?
- How long is the benefit period/how long may I claim benefits?
- How does this policy coordinate with other benefits that are in place?
Let Us Help You Today
Before making any decisions regarding long term disability insurance or benefits, reach out to Farrell Disability Law. We can provide the trusted, knowledgeable legal guidance you need. Call or contact our Jacksonville long-term disability attorney to request a consultation in our office today.