There are several ways to obtain disability income coverage. Some companies provide their employees with group coverage; check with your benefits specialist where you work to find out if you have or are eligible for coverage. In addition, various associations (e.g., AARP) offer disability income benefits for members. You may also purchase an individual disability income policy yourself. Rates vary according to your age, health, occupation, and the policy features you choose. Here are some smart shopping tips with respect to an individual disability income insurance policy:
Compare policies from at least three different insurers. Compare price, the definition of disability, and whether the policy is noncancelable or guaranteed renewable.
Buy young. Insurance generally gets more expensive as you age. Also, as you get older, you may develop health problems that could preclude coverage.
Buy a noncancelable policy. If you have this type of policy, the company cannot change your premiums or cancel your coverage as long as you pay your premiums on time. In addition, if you purchase your policy at a younger age, you'll be able to lock in a lower premium.
Increase the waiting period. Longer waiting periods will reduce your premiums. Be sure you have enough savings to cover a longer waiting period and/or will receive extended sick pay through your employer. If you're trying to trim the cost of a policy, having benefits payable through age 65 is generally more important than a short waiting period.
Choose a financially strong insurer. Independent agencies such as Standard & Poor's and Moody's rate the financial health of insurance companies.