What is Disability Insurance?

Disability Insurance is just like car, dental, medical, and vision, in that it helps pay for a specific issue related to a disability. For example, if you get hurt while lifting a box of paper over your head or walking on a slippery sidewalk. As a result, you could qualify for disability insurance.  The insurance company will pay a portion of your salary, usually 50-70% of your total monthly income, for any time you have to miss work. This could include various injuries and illnesses and will depend on the type of disability insurance you have. Think of disability insurance as a way of protecting your income if something terrible happens (car wreck, broken leg, etc…).

Do I Need Disability Insurance as a Veteran?

First, the big thing we need to make clear for everyone is the difference between VA disability and disability insurance. Unfortunately, many of us have a disability rating from the VA as a sort of compensation for the various injuries you suffered during your time in the service. To keep this simple, VA disability is a rating 0-100% and paid out by the Veterans Administration.  VA disability only pays for injuries or illnesses that are documented and certified by the VA that occurred during active duty service. If you get hurt in a civilian job, and they don’t have disability insurance, you’ll be stuck without a paycheck anytime you’re not able to work.  Your VA disability won’t cover any injury sustained unless you’re above 50% in total disability rating. Even with the VA providing the care, they won’t pay you for lost wages.

Disability insurance makes up for the gap between your VA benefits and your civilian insurance by providing protection if you’re hurt or sick. By purchasing disability insurance, you’re ensuring that your family is protected if you get injured or sick and can’t work. Normally, you’ll receive at least 50% of your income from the insurance company for as long you’re out of work (amount depends on the program you choose).  I think of most insurance as a necessary evil because it can be so expensive, and it often feels like I never use it. However, you only need one time where you wreck your car sliding on ice in a winter storm to know how important insurance is.  With that being said, I believe disability insurance is a great thing if you have the funds for it.

What are the Most Common Disability Claims?

Musculoskeletal  Disorders This is a fancy way to say joint, bone, and muscle pain. As many of us suffer from arthritis, this is one of the biggest claims to make.
Heart Disease Heart disease kills millions of people every year due to blocked arteries and obesity. If you had a heart attack or stroke, you could easily claim disability.
Cancer I have never met a person who didn’t know someone who has either had or died from Cancer. If you get cancer, you’ll be covered by your insurance.
Mental Health The number of Veteran suicides per day is still around 20 per day. If you feel like you’re having a mental break, please talk to someone ASAP.
Digestive Disorders Eating MRE’s for 20 years can have a negative impact on your digestive system with disorders like IBS or Colitis. If you have to miss time for these issues, you should be protected by your insurance
Major injuries, such as sprains, strains, broken bones, and back issues If you pull your back out or slip and fall on ice, you will be covered by disability insurance for the full recovery.

What is a Waiting Period for Insurance?

Many people have difficulty understanding the fine print for health insurance or income protection insurance (disability insurance). To keep this simple, a waiting period is the amount of time you need to be disabled before you can collect your insurance benefits. For example, the most common waiting period is 90 days, which can seem like a long time if you’re out of work. This is always something to consider when buying an insurance plan because some of us can’t go 3 months without a paycheck. This is why it’s so important to have an emergency fund of at least 3 months pay in your savings.

How Do I know Which Insurance is best for me?

Choosing an insurance company can be one of the most unexpectedly stressful choices you must make for your family and their future. We researched 5 insurance companies that offer disability protection and have rated them based on their affordability, Coverage Plan, and their network. Always conduct your own research on issues this important, but if you’re short on time or need a place to start, this blog will give you a great place to learn.

 

What are the Grading Criteria?

More people in our country believe health insurance is unaffordable for them when, in reality, it is very attainable with basic budgeting skills. We have ranked each insurance on their price versus each competitor and have given you the cheapest and most expensive disability insurance available today. Although most companies have similar plans, they all do something a little different than each other. With this in mind, we looked at the coverage plans of each insurance and display each plan below. Finally, the network of the company has an impact on a specific population who live in rural areas without many doctors available. Companies with bigger networks have typically shown to offer better pricing and service.

Winner: Breeze Insurance

Breeze is a lesser-known company than Principal and Aflac, but they affordable, and they offer respectable plans for individuals and families.  Breeze is such a new company they have to be better at customer service and offer competitive prices for similar services to compete. If you remember when USAA was a small company and had the best customer service, this seems like a similar situation. I just hope they continue their efforts to satisfy customers when they get bigger and have more money (unlike USAA).

Affordability of Breeze

Breeze offers 3 distinct plans of coverage that range from about $13/month to $100 if you choose your own plan to fit your needs. The pricing all depends on the location and your annual income, so it can be difficult to list specific prices for everyone. I chose to use the State of Virginia for these prices, so just know places like California, Texas, New York, and Colorado will be more expensive. 4.5/5

Monthly Benefit Waiting Period Monthly Cost
Plan 1 $900 90 Days $13
Plan 2 $1,700 90 Days $21
Plan 3 $2,570 90 Days $30

Coverage Plans for Breeze

Each plan is relatively the same as the others, as the monthly cost and coverage is the biggest difference between them. One feature Breeze offers at no charge is the Supplemental Disability Insurance Rider, which provides extra coverage to help with medical and house bills. You can request a waiting period for any plan to be as low as 30 days, but the price goes up drastically once you go that route. With my monthly income, Breeze would cover about 70% of my income for Plan 3 and about 35% for Plan 1. I think the coverage is adequate, but if you’re only getting 35% of your income protected, it might make more sense to just put money in your emergency fund. With that consideration, I’d only buy Plan 3 over the first 2. 4.5/5

Flexibility

Flexibility is arguably the most important and overlooked part of any insurance because not everyone has the same circumstances. Many insurance companies can find loopholes in your plan to cancel your benefits or decrease the payout coming to you. Breeze provides the remedy to that predatory behavior by giving guaranteed insurability and a non-cancel policy until the end of your coverage, or the money has maxed out.  Imagine getting critically hurt and your insurance telling you the bills are too expensive, and they can’t cover you anymore. As shady and immoral as this is, it happens all the time to Americans with Cancer and MS. You’ll never have to worry about that with Breeze because they guarantee your coverage. 5/5

 

Coverage from Breeze
Future Increase
Residual Benefits
Supplemental Insurance
Own Occupation
Guaranteed Insurability
Automatic Benefit Increase
Non-Cancelable Policy

 

Why You Should Buy Breeze Insurance

With incredible flexibility at an affordable price, Breeze is an excellent option if you need to get disability insurance for yourself. As a smaller company, Breeze puts a lot of its focus on customer service and getting as many Americans as possible covered in case of emergency. With an overall score 0f 14/15, Breeze is a great option for anyone wanting to protect their income.

Runner-Up: The Standard

The Standard is one of the largest insurance companies in the country and provides one of the best disability insurance plans available. The Standard gets most of its business from insuring large corporations where they can offer great deals due to the volume of employees. Each premium will be different, but generally, the maximum amount of coverage per month is about $5,000. With an exemption from pre-existing conditions and a rehabilitation condition in each plan makes The Standard a great option.

Affordability of The Standard

The Standard offers 3 separate plans that can range from around $20/month to well over $100/month for the bigger, more comprehensive plan. One thing I don’t like about The Standard, they don’t offer an online quote for easier convenience of the customer. This makes it difficult to provide exact information on plans and pricing, but they do this because of the disparity between individual income and needs. Most people will have different quotes on disability insurance because everyone makes a different amount each month and has different circumstances than anyone else. 4/5

Coverage Plans for The Standard

The reason The Standard is so highly rated is the amount of coverage and support you get for the original price. They offer more options for coverage than most other insurance companies. The Catastrophic Accident insurance is something not everyone can offer because it normally means a much larger bill for the insurance. Read the list below to see what’s covered and what is not covered by The Standard. 5/5

Covered by The Standard
Partial Disability
Guaranteed Renewable
Non-Cancelable
Survivor Benefit
Rehabilitation Benefit
Total Disability Income Benefit

 

Flexibility

The flexibility shown by The Standard is really exceptional in the insurance world because most companies will never pay for the cost of living changes. The hospital confinement indemnity is another unique situation that The Standard covers for their customers. For example, if you are mentally ill or need to be placed in a hospital for extended care, The Standard will pay a portion of that bill to ease your burden. 4.5/5

 

Coverage from The Standard
Future Increase
Residual Benefits
Supplemental Insurance X
Own Occupation
Guaranteed Insurability
Automatic Benefit Increase
Non-Cancelable Policy
Catastrophic Accident
Cost of Living Adjustment
Critical Illness Protection
Hospital Confinement Indemnity

Why You Should Buy The Standard Insurance

As one of the largest insurance companies in the country, a company you work for is likely affiliated with The Standard. If your company is backed by The Standard, you will get better deals on individual disability insurance than you would if you didn’t already put into the system. The amount of coverage and flexibility offered by the Standard is great for someone who feels they need the maximum amount of coverage from injury or illness. Think school teacher, policeman, and construction worker. 13.5/15

 

3rd Place: Policy Genius

Policy Genius was chosen because they offer a service, unlike any other insurance company we know of in the United States. Policy Genius is a mediator between the prospective customer and the insurance company by comparing and contrasting every insurance company we have in this country. They’re paid a commission by the insurance companies for each application processed by each company. The commissions are roughly the same, so they claim to not hold any favorites. This business model allows them to stay neutral and maintain an informational base for customers to start their search. In fact, I encourage everyone reading this to call Policy Genius first so they can give you a quote from every company you’re interested in.

Affordability of Policy Genius

I could argue that Policy Genius is the most affordable of any company you’ll deal with because they can accurately compare every insurance company. I recommend starting here because you could try to use these quotes to your advantage when dealing with insurance salesmen over the phone. I’m not saying people are going to take advantage of you, but I like to have the facts before I start to discuss rates with someone. The best thing about the pricing with Policy Genius is they have been the most accurate company in the quotes they provide for their customers. 5/5

Coverage Plans for Policy Genius

Policy Genius is one of the best ways to compare and contrast insurances, but the level of coverage seems to be much lower than buying directly from the source (Standard, Principal, Breeze, etc…). They provide the basics, such as a non-cancelable plan that prevents the company from backing out on their obligations and destroying your life. Although they don’t offer the same as The Standard, they ensure you get the best possible price from each company, which has to count for something. 3/5

Covered by Policy Genius
Partial Disability X
Guaranteed Renewable X
Non-Cancelable
Survivor Benefit X
Rehabilitation Benefit X
Total Disability Income Benefit X

Flexibility of Policy Genius

The flexibility of Policy Genius is kind of deceiving when you think about the type of company they are. As a mediator, they provide incredible flexibility in choosing a company, but they don’t have a ton of features they can guarantee you. I like the idea that my premium is set and won’t be changed (future increase rider), but I have a problem with the lack of options, such as catastrophic accident protection and no help with the hospital bills associated with the injury. 3/5

Coverage from The Standard
Future Increase
Residual Benefits
Supplemental Insurance X
Own Occupation
Guaranteed Insurability X
Automatic Benefit Increase X
Non-Cancelable Policy
Catastrophic Accident X
Cost of Living Adjustment X
Critical Illness Protection X
Hospital Confinement Indemnity X

Why You Should Use Policy Genius