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But like all things insurance-related, you’re only happy you’ve discussed it, thought about it and purchased it once you need the benefits.
And since we were recently approached by our friends at Breeze (an online disability insurance company), we thought we’d learn a little more about it and share our findings with you.
What is disability insurance?
Disability insurance serves as a replacement to lost income you may experience due to an injury and / or sickness. And as I found out, there are many different types of coverage levels to choose from.
Coverage is available for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years, and up to age 65 or 67. They may cover all of your income or just part of it. There are also various riders you can add to your policy to enhance your coverage.
So how do you determine the amount of disability insurance coverage you need? For starters, it’s important to get the following questions answered before putting any type of policy in place:
- What types of disabilities will it cover?
- What if you can no longer perform your current job, but you can work in other occupation?
- What if you can qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and have an additional disability policy from your job?
These are just a few of the questions you need to consider when evaluating your disability insurance needs.
Who needs disability insurance?
After talking to my friendly insurance agent, Trina, and doing a bit of research myself, I made a list of important questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not you need disability insurance.
- Is your family dependent on your income?
- Are you in a dangerous profession?
- Do you have any other sources of income you could draw on, should you become disabled, injured or sick?
- Is disability insurance offered through your work and is it enough (if so, how much / what type is offered)?
According to Breeze, approximately 25% of American workers will experience a disabling event that keeps them out of work for more than 3 months before they retire. Breeze also cites the fact that 50% of all mortgage foreclosures stem from illness, injury or other medical issues.
Of course, only you can determine whether or not a disability insurance policy is something you want to add to your fixed monthly expenses.
A look at Breeze Disability Insurance
Whether you ready to buy disability insurance now or just researching if it is something you’ll need later on, Breeze can help.
Breeze’s underwriting partner is Assurity, a leader in the life insurance industry that is rated Excellent by A.M. Best.
Since Breeze is new to the scene, I got a chance to try out their 100% online application and fully-automated underwriting technology before roll-out.
The company’s mission is to provide affordable long term disability insurance coverage to individuals in as little as 15 minutes. (In fact, getting my initial quote only took me about a minute and a half.)
Here are some examples of the types of personal information you will be asked to provide when filling out your application:
- Annual income
- Job category
- Zip code
- Do you use nicotine?
After answering these simple questions, you’ll be presented with a quick quote that contains several personalized coverage options. This is what mine looked like:
Based on the information I provided, Breeze recommended a 5-year benefit period with a 90-days elimination period. Some important things to keep in mind include:
- How long you want your coverage
- When you want your coverage to start
- How monthly benefit amount will affect your monthly premium
If you are looking for something more specific in your coverage, you can click on the blue button and get even more in-depth.
It’s important to weigh all of your various options here in order to see how they influence the cost of your plan.
If you are unfamiliar with some of the riders Breeze offers, you can call the company to speak to a licensed insurance agent who can help you.
Furthermore, it’s crucial that you understand the differences between own occupation and any occupation coverage.
The own occupation definition of disability will pay benefits as long as you are unable to perform your specific job occupation. This means you can continue receiving disability benefits even if you are able to work in another job that is different from your original area of work.
On the other hand, the any occupation definition of disability will only pay benefits if you cannot work at all. That means a doctor with an any occupation policy wouldn’t receive disability benefits if he or she could still work at a grocery store.
Fortunately, policies offered through Breeze are own occupation for the first two years if you become disabled. After that, policyholders have the option to extend to this provision for their entire benefit period.
Also know that Breeze offers coverage for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years and up to age 65 or 67.
To determine your monthly policy amount, it’s important to take into consideration all of your expenses, such as your mortgage, car payments and basic living expenses.
Once you have a decent idea what you want in your policy, Breeze will take you through about a 10-13 minute questionnaire to learn more about you.
Breeze is the first (and to date, only) company to bring long term disability insurance 100% online. Through a simple application process and fully-automated underwriting technology, Breeze’s goal is to make your buying experience as quick, convenient and affordable as possible. The company strives to offer a base policy that will fit many people’s needs, and provides flexibility in adding more benefits as needed.
While they do not have a chat feature to contact a representative (yet), they do have a support number to call in case you have questions.
Although medical exams are rarely required, you may need to complete one in order to obtain coverage if you meet one of the following scenarios:
- You between ages 18-50, and apply for coverage greater than $4,000.
- You are between ages 51-55, and apply for coverage greater than $2,000.
- You are between ages 56-60, and apply for coverage greater than $1,500.
- Replaces a portion of your income if you become too sick or hurt to work.
- Quick quotes and automated underwriting. What used to take up to 8 weeks can now be done entirely online in as little as 15 minutes.
- Flexible coverage with affordable options.
- Backed by a highly rated insurance provider.
- Many don’t know what disability insurance is or how much coverage they need.
- It’s another monthly insurance payment to account for in your budget.
My final thoughts
Ultimately, Breeze’s mission to make purchasing disability insurance a lot easier and more affordable. And I’m all for making the complex more simple to understand and access.
It only takes a couple minutes to get your initial quote, and you’ll likely spend a total of 15 minutes filling out your entire application. While I do think many of us could benefit from disability coverage – especially if your family is dependent on your income and you have little to no savings or assets to draw upon should something happen to you where you cannot work – I recommend doing your own research on coverage. Maybe talk to a few friends or family members who have coverage to see what they recommend in a policy. You can also consult Breeze or any other licensed professional in the insurance field.
It’s smart to shop around and compare prices. But remember, cheaper is not always better with insurance. It’s crucial that you understand what your policy covers, and whether or not it will be sufficient for your needs.
Do you have disability insurance? Would you purchase a policy online?
This article was made possible by our friends at Breeze. Learn more about our content partnerships.