An individual disability insurance policy is meant to pay you a disability benefit if you cannot work because of a sickness or injury. Many individual disability policies are specific to your occupation, which means you are disabled if you cannot work in your “own occupation.” This is true even if you can work in another occupation.
Dabdoub Law Firm focuses on representing people with claims for disability insurance benefits, disability appeals, and lawsuits for disability benefits. If you have an individual disability insurance policy and you are now disabled, it is important to know your rights under your disability policy and the law. Our individual disability lawyers have everything you need to accomplish your legal goals.
What is Individual Disability Insurance?
Individual disability insurance, often referred to as disability income insurance, is a type of coverage designed to provide financial protection to individuals in the event they become unable to work due to a disability or illness. It replaces a portion of the insured person's income if they are unable to work and earn money due to a covered disability.
So, if you become disabled and cannot work, the insurance pays you a portion of your regular income. This can be a percentage of your salary or a predetermined amount agreed upon when purchasing the policy.
The benefits are typically paid out for a specified period, which could be a few years, until retirement age, or for life, depending on the policy terms.
There are two main types of disability coverage: total disability and partial disability. Total disability is often defined as the inability to perform the duties of your own occupation, while partial disability means benefits paid if you're partially disabled and can work but not at the same capacity as before.
Some of the important factors of individual disability insurance includes:
- Income Protection: Helps maintain financial stability if you're unable to work due to a disability.
- Peace of Mind: Provides a safety net, especially for those whose livelihood depends on their ability to work.
- Customization: Policies can be tailored to suit specific needs, considering occupation, income, and desired coverage level.
Factors That Affect Disability Premiums
Several factors influence the premiums (the amount you pay for coverage) of individual disability insurance:
- Occupation: The nature of your work significantly impacts premiums. Riskier occupations, such as those involving physical labor or dangerous conditions, often have higher premiums. This is because they pose a greater risk of injury or disability, potentially leading to more claims.
- Income Level: Higher income usually means higher coverage amounts, which in turn affect the premiums. Insurance companies assess the potential financial loss if a higher-earning individual becomes disabled and unable to work.
- Age and Health Condition: Your age and current health status play a role in determining premiums. Younger and healthier individuals generally pay lower premiums as they're considered less likely to experience disabilities.
- Policy Features and Benefits: The specific features and benefits you choose within your policy impact premiums. Options such as shorter waiting periods (elimination periods) before benefits start, longer benefit periods, and more comprehensive coverage can increase premiums.
- Elimination Period (Waiting Period): The waiting period chosen before benefits are payable affects premiums. A shorter elimination period generally means higher premiums since the insurer will start paying benefits sooner.
- Gender: Historically, women have paid higher premiums for disability insurance due to statistically higher disability claim rates compared to men. However, this trend might vary based on the insurance company and evolving societal factors.
- Policy Riders and Customizations: Adding riders (additional coverage options) or customizing the policy to include specific provisions can impact premiums. For instance, a cost-of-living adjustment rider or a residual disability rider might increase the premium cost.
- Renewability and Inflation Protection: Policies that offer guaranteed renewability or inflation protection might have slightly higher premiums but provide added security and financial safeguards over time.
- Geographical Location: Regional factors, such as the cost of living, local healthcare costs, and prevalence of certain disabilities in the area, can also influence premiums.
- Smoking and Lifestyle Habits: Smoking or engaging in certain high-risk activities may increase premiums due to the higher likelihood of health issues leading to disability.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
You must understand the terms of your disability policy, as well as your legal rights, when filing a claim for disability benefits. The initial disability forms you and your doctors are required to complete is only the first step in this process. The disability insurance company will use certain tactics to delay making a decision.
It might ask for the same information over and over again, or even want to meet with you in person or send you for a medical examination with its hired doctors. If the disability insurance company denied your claim for disability benefits, you can appeal. You can also bring a lawsuit against the disability insurance company. In many cases, you can only file the lawsuit after your disability appeal is denied.
Get Started on Your Case Today!
The individual disability insurance lawyers at Dabdoub Law Firm have years of experience. We guide you through every stage of a disability claim. We can help with the application process, appeal the denial of disability benefits, and bring a lawsuit for disability benefits. If you are receiving disability benefits, we can negotiate a lump- sum settlement buy-out with your disability company.