Disability Insurance Policy
Disability insurance varies widely. Some features of the policy may add value for you or may not. As usual, you must weigh your risk. Always remember that anything that increases risk for the insurance company will increase cost for you. So, if you want a larger percentage of your salary in benefit, it will cost you more. If you want a cost of living adjustment on your benefit's if they extend beyond a year or two, this will also cost you more. Anything that you do that requires the insurance company to adopt more risk will cost you more in premium.
There are a number of questions to ask yourself as you examine a potential policy. However, one of the most critical is to find out how disability is defined. Pay very close attention to this.
Some policies will pay benefit's as soon as you can't do the work of your regular job because of illness or accident. However, others only pay if you can't do ANY job suitable for your education and experience. This could mean that you are forced to take a job well below your current jobs income potential and yet you won't qualify for benefit's to top you up to your former salary. This is something to think about. If you don't have some kind of coverage that will continue while you are both job-hunting and completing your recovery, you could be in a significant financial bind.
Further, some policies will define disability in terms of your existing job for only a limited period say 2 or 3 years and then will expect you to retrain for another occupation. You may get benefit's while you re-train, but you may not. In any case, your benefit's will cease. Again, you must consider if this is the kind of coverage that will work for you and your family.
The Cadillac policy is to have payments continue for your lifetime. Obviously, any policy that would pay you for a lifetime after an incapacitating illness or accident will be more expensive. You will have to decide if that makes sense for you or if you think you would be willing to retrain for other work in exchange for lower premiums up front.
Ideally, you get the best benefit period for you and your family, for the lowest premium cost. However, you will have to keep in mind that disability insurance is one of the most expensive insurances in general. You may have to sacrifice some of your income now, to ensure that you do not lose your financial footing later if catastrophe strikes.