Woman with disability insurance getting help with physical therapy from a trainer

What does disability insurance cover? Injuries and illnesses that keep you out of work, that’s what. If you get sick or hurt and can’t go to work, your policy pays a percentage of your paycheck so you can keep putting food on the table for your family.

There are two main types of disability coverage: short-term and long-term:

  • Short-term policies are meant to cover things that keep you out of work for less than a year (usually 3-6 months): broken bones, recovering from surgery, etc. Some employers offer short-term policies, but you can always buy your own if yours does not.
  • Long-term policies provide coverage for things that keep you out of work for at least six months. This includes things like severe illness, or disabling injuries that mean you can no longer work at all.

Below, we’ll take a look at specific illnesses and injuries disability insurance typically covers, then we’ll look at a few things it won’t cover. Finally, we’ll explain how to get a policy that fits into your budget.

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Conditions & Illnesses: What Does Disability Insurance Cover?

There are quite a few illnesses that might put you out of work for at least six months or a year. Here are some of the most common:

    Man in a wheelchair taking his dog for a walk
  • Pregnancy complications. If you experience a complication that causes a disability, your policy will cover it. Even if you don’t find out about the complication right away, your policy will likely still cover it. Check with your agent or insurer for any limitations of the timing of filing your claim.
  • Arthritis. If your arthritis is severe enough so that a doctor says you cannot work, it qualifies for disability benefits. This applies to osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis. If either type reduces your range of motion so that you can’t work, your policy will pay out.
  • Stroke. If the effects of a stroke render you unable to work, it will be covered by a long-term disability policy. It doesn’t matter if the effects involve paralysis, muscle weakness, memory loss, motor skill impairment, or some/all of the above. You can collect benefits as long as you’re unable to work. If you recover and are able to go back to work, let your insurer know.
  • Cancer. If your cancer causes you to get so sick you can no longer work, your disability policy will pay out. This includes the effects of chemotherapy, which may make you unable to work or only able to work part-time. Depending on the policy, you may receive partial benefits if you’re still able to work part-time.
  • Diabetes. If your diabetes causes neuropathy, retinopathy, amputation, or other related condition that impairs you to the point where you can’t work, your disability insurance will pay out.
  • Heart disease. If you have heart disease, a heart attack, or heart surgery, and the resulting effects mean you can no longer work, you can file a claim for benefits. You may see reports online that it’s hard to collect disability benefits for heart-related conditions. The key here is having well-documented symptoms and your doctor’s agreement that those symptoms will keep you out of work for at least a year.

➡️ Want to see how affordable it is to protect your income with disability insurance? Click the button below to request a free quote or call us at 800-823-4852!

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Injuries: What Does Disability Insurance Cover?

Have you ever heard the saying that most injuries happen in or near your home? Whether it’s falling off a ladder while washing windows or getting a compound fracture during a football game at the park down the street, accidents happen. And if they’re bad enough to keep you out of work for at least a year, a long-term disability insurance policy will pay you while you recover. Short-term policies are also available, if you’re interested in getting coverage for injuries that keep you out of work for less time, but would still create a hardship if you were out of work.

 Woman with disability insurance lifting a dumbbell as part of physical therapy during her recovery

Here are some commonly covered injuries:

  • Broken bones. More likely covered by short-term disability coverage, unless you have a complicated compound fracture that keeps you sidelined for over a year.
  • Sprains and strains. Like broken bones, strains and sprains are more often covered by short-term disability coverage. If yours is long-lasting, however, you may be able to make a claim for long-term benefits after your short-term coverage has already paid out if you have both policy types.
  • Back injuries. Because back injuries can keep you from doing things like sitting, standing, lifting, or walking for extended periods of time, chances are, you’ll be out of work at least temporarily if you experience one.
  • Joint/hip/knee injuries. Like all of the above injuries, these can keep you from performing most of the tasks required to do even sedentary work. It’s up to your doctor to determine how long you’re unable to work.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders. This could include carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated discs, scoliosis, and more. Because of the wide range of injuries and symptoms these conditions cause, they could be covered by short-term or long-term disability coverage.

Because so many of these injuries vary in severity, you may want short- and long-term coverage in place. Check with your employer first to see if you already have coverage or can get it through work. You may only need to buy a long-term policy to make sure you’re covered no matter what.

➡️ Want to see how affordable it is to protect your income with disability insurance? Click the button below to request a free quote or call us at 800-823-4852!

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What Doesn’t Disability Insurance Cover?

Young woman hugging her mom, who is in a wheelchair due to a disability

Every insurer has a list of what they will and won’t cover. That means there’s no universal list of illness or injuries that are always covered or never covered. It’s always going to vary depending on the insurer and policy you choose. If you’re concerned about the potential for a specific condition or illness, give us a call. We can let you know how likely it is that situation would be covered, and if so, which insurer is most likely to cover that condition.

Your insurer will not cover:

  • Pregnancy or childbirth with no complications. Even though you’ll miss work when you give birth, disability coverage will not pay out if you have no complications. That’s because, in a situation with no complications, you’re not expected to be out of work for a year or more. And during the time you are out, you’re usually covered by a combination of paid time off, Family Leave Medical Act time off, state disability coverage, or similar programs.
  • Injuries or illnesses from war (accidental or intentional, declared or undeclared). If you’re a soldier and get hurt while deployed in a war zone, for example, your insurer will not pay out for any resulting long-term disabilities.

Your insurer may not cover situations like these:

    Older woman getting help from a nurse as she recovers from a disability thanks to disability insurance
  • Some pre-existing conditions. An insurer may not cover injuries or illnesses related to a pre-existing conditions. Or, if they do, those benefits may not be paid out for as long as the policy’s full benefit period for unrelated disabilities.
  • Some occupational or hobby-related hazards. If you have a dangerous job or hobby, some injuries and illnesses that are related to your job may not be covered. Depending on the job and injury/illness, these disabilities may be covered by Worker’s Comp. In terms of hobbies, things like aviation and auto racing would be considered hazardous and related disabilities likely excluded.
  • Mental illness. Not all insurers will cover disabilities due to stress, depression, or anxiety. Some will, but like pre-existing conditions, the benefit period may be shortened.
  • Self-inflicted injuries. If you harm yourself or make a suicide attempt, insurers will not pay benefits for any resulting long-term disability.
  • Injuries that happen while doing something illegal. If you get hurt while committing a crime, for example, your insurer is not going to pay out if you develop a long-term disability from those injuries.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse. Not all insurers will cover disabilities caused by drug or alcohol use or abuse. If they do, much like some pre-existing conditions or mental illnesses, they may limit the benefit period.

➡️ Want to see how affordable it is to protect your income with disability insurance? Call us at 800-823-4852 or click the button below to request a free quote!

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How to Get a Disability Insurance Policy

The easiest way to get coverage is to call us for a free quote – the process begins when we help you review your options. But there are a few things to think about first, so you know what’s possible and what’s available.

Senior man lifting light dumbbells with a physical therapist as part of the recovery he paid for with disability insurance

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Waiting period. Insurers usually offer the choice of several waiting periods (the amount of time you have to wait before you get paid benefits). A longer waiting period costs less, and a shorter waiting period costs more. Which one is right for you? That depends on what you have available to pay the bills during that waiting period if you were to become disabled. If you have, for example, six months’ worth of living expenses, a 90-day waiting period would be do-able. But if you only have three months’ worth of living expenses, you might opt for a 60-day waiting period instead. In general, waiting periods range from one month to six months depending on the insurer and the policy.
  • Partial vs full disability coverage. Do you want a policy that includes coverage for a partial as well as a full disability? With a full disability, you can no longer do the job you had prior to your disability. But with a partial disability, you’re able to work part-time and earn some income (but not as much as before your injury or illness). Some policies have partial disability benefits so you can still get a percentage of your benefits even if you’re able to return to work on a limited basis.
  • Benefit period. As with the waiting period, you usually have a choice of benefit period. Do you want to be paid for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or until retirement? Choosing a longer benefit period will cost more; choosing a shorter benefit period will cost less. It depends how much security you’re looking for, and what other options may be available to you for income.

Call us for a free quote and let’s see what plan best fits your needs and budget! We’ll even help you with your application and follow it through until we have an answer from the insurer. We’re here for you throughout the process, from quote to approval.

What does disability insurance cover? It covers the “what if” that comes along with a disabling sickness or injury! It’s peace of mind that even if something bad happens, you can still pay your bills and put food on the table for your family.

➡️ Want to see how affordable it is to protect your income with disability insurance? Call us at 800-823-4852 or click the button below to request a free quote!

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