Disability Insurance for Individuals

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Have you ever thought about what you would do if you became ill or were injured and you couldn’t work for years or ever again? Many people may have enough savings to get by for a short time, but if you were unable to work for a long period of time how you would pay for your living expenses? Long-term disability insurance can help provide financial confidence for you and your family in the event that you can’t work for months or even years.¹

Long-term disability insurance for individuals is a smart thing to buy whether you are self-employed or whether you work for someone else. Having long-term disability insurance will give you the confidence of knowing that you will have help to pay your bills, and help to support your family, if you are injured or become ill and can’t work.  

While most people would be able to cover expenses like their mortgage or rent, car payments, utility payments, and food for a short period of time if they were unable to work making sure that those expenses were paid for if they couldn’t work for six months or longer would be much tougher. The Council For Disability Awareness found that almost half of Americans wouldn’t be able to handle a $400 emergency without borrowing money or selling something.² If people who live paycheck to paycheck can’t typically handle a small emergency paying for living expenses if they can’t work for years could destroy their finances and their family’s financial security.  

According to the Council For Disability Awareness only 48% of adults in America would have enough savings to cover all of their savings for a three month period or longer.³ Some employers offer short-term disability insurance that can help you get by for a couple of months if you have an injury or an illness that will heal and allow you to get back to work, but if your injury or illness is serious enough that you can’t work again or can’t do that particular occupation again long-term disability insurance is something you should have so that it can help you pay your bills and help support your family. With long-term disability insurance you could typically receive anywhere from 40-60% of your salary as your insurance benefit.⁴ 

When you’re looking at long-term disability insurance policies you could consider policies with different ways to qualify for disability benefits. With an Own Occupation insurance you can collect a benefit you are unable to work in your current occupation even if you can still work in another occupation.⁵ For example, if you are a dentist that suffers a severe break of your arm in a car accident and you can no longer practice dentistry but you can teach at a dental college if you have an Own Occupation long-term disability insurance policy you could collect your insurance benefit and teach or do some other job.  

How to a get long-term disability insurance quote

Getting a long-term disability insurance quote is easy to do with just some basic information like your job and how much you currently make. You will also need to consider how much coverage you want to buy. The higher the amount of income you want to replace typically the higher your premiums will be. But, the cost of long-term disability insurance that covers up to 60% of your current income will usually cost you between 1-3% of your yearly salary.⁶

Long-term disability insurance for self-employed

Long term disability insurance for self-employed people may be a very good idea. It may be an essential for anyone that is self-employed to help protect their income with long-term disability insurance so that if they are unable to work, they won’t have to risk financial ruin. If you are self-employed or operate your own practice you can buy a long-term disability insurance plan from a provider like Guardian Direct® that will help protect your income by ensuring that you will have money coming in even if you can’t work because of an illness or injury.  

Long-term disability income insurance 

Income insurance is a term that is often used interchangeably with disability insurance. Sometimes people call disability insurance long term disability income insurance or disability income insurance. In the U.S. both terms typically refer to insurance that is designed to pay a benefit if you become sick or injured and are unable to work for a long period of time. The common difference is that disability insurance can be either short-term disability insurance which pays out for a period of 3-6 months and long-term disability insurance which pays for anywhere from two years to retirement age.⁷

Long-term disability insurance cost

Long-term disability insurance cost isn’t cheap, but it’s not as expensive as you might think. The premium cost for long-term disability insurance if you are buying the policy on your own is generally 1-3% of your salary.⁸ While that may seem like a high price to pay for insurance keep in mind that you will be able to collect a benefit for years with any applicable exclusion in your policy. The cost is worth it when you think about how difficult it may be to maintain your current standard of living and your family’s standard of living if you couldn’t work for a few years or even for the rest of your life.  

The total cost of your long-term disability insurance will typically depend on factors like: 

  • What amount of benefit you want to receive. 

  • Whether you pick a renewable or non-renewable policy. 

  • Whether you pick an “own occupation” policy or a “any occupation” policy. 

  • The waiting period or elimination period you choose. 

  • How long you want to receive benefits. 

  • Your general health.

  • Your occupation. 

When you get a quote for long-term disability insurance it is customized to your specific situation. Experts typically recommend that when you’re shopping for a long-term disability plan you purchase a plan that has: 

  • A payout of at least 60% of your salary that is non-taxable. 

  • A policy that is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable. 

  • A policy that is “own occupation” instead of “any occupation.”

  • A policy that has only has a 90-day waiting period or elimination period instead of longer.  

  • A policy that covers you up to age 67, which is the current retirement age when you can draw Social Security retirement benefits. 

  • A policy that offers coverage which will pay you a portion of your benefits if you can work a little but can’t return to full-time work.⁹

If you have questions about buying a long-term disability policy, you can ask one of the knowledgeable customer service reps from Guardian Life questions that are specific to your situation to find the best policy for you. We are dedicated to making insurance easy to understand and easy to buy. 

What kind of insurance do you get with a long-term disability & Insights

Guardian Direct wants to make it easy to help protect yourself and your family with disability insurance. Our library of online resources has diverse information to help you make an informed decision about disability insurance policies. Read more about how much disability insurance you should have or learn more about short-term disability insurance and the differences between long-term and short-term disability insurance to figure out which type of insurance is right for you.   


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  1. https://www.policygenius.com/disability-insurance/learn/how-does-long-term-disability-insurance-work/ (2018) accessed May 2021

  2. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-long-term-disability-insurance-1918178 (2020) accessed May 2021

  3. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-long-term-disability-insurance-1918178 (2020) accessed May 2021

  4. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/disability-insurance (2021) accessed May 2021

  5. https://www.policygenius.com/disability-insurance/learn/how-does-long-term-disability-insurance-work/ (2018) accessed May 2021

  6. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/disability-insurance (2021) accessed May 2021

  7. https://www.policygenius.com/disability-insurance/learn/how-does-long-term-disability-insurance-work/ (2018), accessed May 2021

  8. https://www.policygenius.com/disability-insurance/learn/how-does-long-term-disability-insurance-work/ (2018) accessed May 202

  9. https://www.policygenius.com/disability-insurance/learn/how-does-long-term-disability-insurance-work/