Why to Consider Having Both Short Term and Long Term Disability Coverage
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Should I Consider Having Both Short Term and Long Term Disability Coverage?
You should definitely consider having both short term and long term disability coverage, particularly if you are a medical, legal, or other professional. Currently, five states and Puerto Rico have disability programs for covered employees, but the remainder of the working universe should consider both programs. The issue of cost versus benefit is always an issue, but you need to protect your most valuable asset, your current and future earnings, as completely as possible.
You should consider the following features in your evaluation of purchasing both types of coverage.
- Benefit periods. Ideally, you should want short term coverage to begin as soon as possible following a covered disability and have long term disability insurance begin providing benefits right after short term benefits cease.
- Elimination (waiting) periods. Consider the shortest waiting period you can afford for short term coverage and an elimination period that allows long term disability benefits to begin the month after the prior benefits end.
- Similar and/or reasonable definitions of disability. Having one policy that allows the common cold to be a covered disability and another that requires you to be disabled only while performing an activity worthy of Evel Knievel makes little sense. While you may want to opt for more liberal “language” in your long term disability insurance coverage, the entire process works more smoothly if the requirements for a disability classification are similar.
- Purchasing “own occupation” coverage in your long term disability contract. This feature can be an important component of long term disability coverage, providing much better protection than a standard “any occupation” provision. While there is a cost for this coverage, it would allow you to continue receiving benefits until you can resume performing the duties of your specialty.
- Your personal medical history. Even if you enjoy good health at the time of application, does your family history or other potential issues project possible medical considerations in the future? Purchasing adequate long term disability insurance protection now may give you security and peace of mind during your future career.
If you have an employer that provides group short term coverage for you, design a long term disability plan that complements your company sponsored program. If you are a medical or other professional, give serious consideration to including own occupation, residual (partial) disability, and presumptive disability (loss of eyesight, hearing, speech, etc.) coverage to your individual long term disability insurance package.
Refer to your insurance policy contract for specific information regarding your coverage and for actual terms, conditions and exclusions. The above statements are general in nature and may or may not reflect the actual terms of your insurance policy.