Woman holding out a handful of cash from a disability insurance payout

Disability insurance is a type of coverage you buy that replaces a percentage of your income if you get sick or hurt and can’t work. For the cost of about 1%-3% of your salary per year, you can make sure you keep getting paid even if you experience a disabling illness or injury. If you ever need to file a claim, your benefits are 100% income-tax-free.

The best way to get affordable coverage is to buy a policy before you need it. Like life insurance, it’s most affordable when you’re young and healthy! And like any insurance policy, it remains active as long as you stay current with your payments. Then, if you ever get sick or hurt and can’t work, your policy will pay you a percentage of what you made at your job to help pay bills while you recover.

That’s what makes this an ideal solution if you have family members who depend on your paycheck for food, shelter, clothing, school, and other daily expenses. Not sure if you need it? Check out our post on how to tell if you need disability insurance.

NOTE: Don't get confused! This type of policy is not the same thing as government disability benefits. Government benefits require you to do specific things, like attempt to find work in a new industry if you can no longer do your old job. Private coverage doesn’t have the same restrictions. As long as you meet the insurer's requirements - meaning, your doctor and employer sign off that you can’t do your job - you get paid.

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Step 1: Get a Free Disability Insurance Quote

You’re already in the right place – we can give you a free quote for policies from the country’s top-rated insurers. When you get a quote, we’ll ask you a few questions:

    Man with a bandaged leg visiting the doctor
  • Do you want short-term or long-term coverage? Most of our clients want long-term coverage because the longer you can’t work, the harder it gets to pay those bills. You may already have access to short-term disability coverage through your job.
  • How long do you want coverage to last after you’re disabled? You can choose how long you want to get paid; longer benefit periods will cost more. Insurers offer a range of benefit periods for long-term disabilities, ranging from a couple years all the way to your expected retirement date.
  • How much do you want to be paid? Keep in mind that no insurer offers a 100% replacement of your paycheck. But you can choose to replace about 40 – 70% of your pre-disability income. The more you want replaced, the more your policy will cost.
  • How long a waiting period are you comfortable with? The longer the waiting period, the less your policy will cost. Waiting periods usually range from 30-120 days.

Once we know what you’re looking for, we’ll run the numbers and give you a free quote. Want to tinker with the price? We can adjust the payment period or the amount you get paid until we find the combination of features that fit your needs and budget.

➡️ Want to get started now? Click the button below to request a quote!

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Step 2: Work with an Agent to Purchase Your Policy

When you get your quote, take a look at the quoted rates and the benefits those policies offer. Do the policies all cover similar injuries and illnesses? Of course, we’re here to answer any questions you have as you make your decision. You might also want to check out our tips for buying disability insurance.

Once you’ve picked a policy, we’ll help you apply for it and submit your application to the insurer. To complete your application, you’ll need to answer a few questions about your personal health history and the type of work you currently do. The insurer needs to know a little more about these things to finalize the rate for your coverage.

Young, smiling Black couple talking with their insurance agent about how disability insurance works

Next, we’ll submit the completed application for you, and keep you updated throughout the approval process. When we hear back from the insurer, we’ll help you with the policy approval process, which includes making your first payment, signing your policy documents, and getting final copies of all your policy documentation. Keep these in case you need to file a claim later!

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Step 3: If Needed, File a Claim

If you do get sick or injured and can’t work, your next step is to call your insurance agent! We’ll help you file your claim so you can get paid. You can also take a look at the policy documents you received when you bought the policy. They will spell out what to do and when you can expect to get your benefits. Of course, we’re here to help and answer any questions you have during the process.

Don’t wait to file a claim – you want to start the process as soon as your doctor confirms this is a disabling illness or injury. Your policy will have a time limit on how long you can wait to file your claim; don’t risk missing this by waiting, say, a year to file your claim. The good news is that your waiting period usually begins on the day you’re disabled, so as you work on filing your claim, you’re that much closer to your benefit period.

When you file a claim, the insurer will need proof of your disability. You’ll need to submit documents from your doctor and your employer that confirm you’re not able to work.

Two doctors discussing a patient’s case while filling out the disability insurance paperwork

The good news? Private disability insurance claims are much less stressful than government disability claims. Whereas 67% of government claims are rejected the first time*, your disability policy is different. It’s a contract between you and the insurance company. As long as you meet the stated requirements for a covered illness or injury, you’ll get paid. You can expect the claims process to take 2-4 weeks.

If you recover enough to return back to work, you’ll need to contact your insurer and cancel your claim. If you don’t recover enough to return to your job, just keep collecting payments until your benefit period ends. That's all there is to it!

➡️ Want to get started now? Click the button below to request a quote!

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*"Outcomes of Applications for Disability Benefits," SSA.gov, accessed 5/10/23