5 Urgent Reasons to Investigate Disability Insurance

If you have thought about insurance then you have probably taken out health insurance to cover the costs of your chiropractor and dentist visits, as well as making sure that you have enough life insurance to provide for your family if you were to die suddenly. However, how would you and your family cover the costs if you were suddenly disabled?

If you are injured or suffer an illness and can’t work anymore, your life insurance won’t pay out, because it only becomes active after you die. Plus, your health insurance may cover the majority of the medical costs associated with your disability, but it won’t replace your income when you are unable to work. Imagine the financial pressure that would put on your family, when not only are they dealing with the emotional stress of your illness or injury, all of the medical costs associated with it, but they also have to find a way to put food on the table, pay the bills, and maintain a lifestyle and goals.

That is where disability insurance comes in, as it can insure your income if you are unable to work due to a prolonged illness or injury. Many people are already covered with disability insurance through their employer, but the following tips will show you just how important it is to find out exactly what is included in your employer’s disability insurance policy, and whether you need to supplement your cover.

1 – Disability is more common than death

It is important you check on the disability insurance your employer has for you, because you are more likely to make a disability claim than you are to need life insurance. The probability of being disabled is much higher than that of dying suddenly, for example a 22 year old man is almost eight times more likely to suffer a disability which puts him out of work for three months, than he is to die.

When you are between the ages of 35 and 65 you have a 25% chance of being disabled for a year, and a 5% chance of being permanently disabled. Three out of 10 people between 35 and 65 will be disabled for 90 days or longer, and one person in five between 35 and 65 will be disabled for five years or more before they retire.

If you are under 65 your probability of disability is higher than your probability of death, for example a 32 year old is 6.5 times more likely to be disabled for 90 days, than they are to die.

2 – Policy coverage and options

If your employer has organized disability insurance for you, it is not time to relax yet, because you need to know exactly what type of policy you have, to make sure you are covered for the full range of accidents or illness you could suffer, and that you have enough coverage to continue to live comfortably and provide for your family.

Most employers will organize for a short term policy which will pay around 65% or more of your salary for a period which could be between six months and two years. You should also look into whether any long term cover is provided with your policy.

You will also want to find out about the benefits and features of your policy, so ask about:

  • An elimination or waiting period. This is the amount of time you have to wait after suffering a disability before you can receive benefits. A typical waiting period is six months.
  • The benefit period. This is the amount of time you will receive benefits from your insurance policy and can be as little as a month, or it can last up to your retirement or death.
  • Residual clause. If you are only partially disabled, a residual clause will mean you only receive a portion of the benefit.
  • Social Security rider. If you don’t qualify for Social Security disability benefits then this option provides extra benefits.
  • Cost of living adjustment clause. This feature allows your benefit to increase at the same rate of inflation.
  • Non-cancellable. A non-cancellable policy means the company can’t refuse you cover and they can’t change your monthly premiums.
  • Disability definitions. Check the definition of a disability and the types of disabilities covered. Also see whether you will receive a benefit if you can’t perform your regular job, or if you can’t perform any job at all. In some cases you can be forced to take a job outside of your field after suffering a disability because you are not deemed as being unable to work entirely.
  • Limit of liability. This limit is the total amount of benefits the policy will pay out.

3 – Your income is your biggest asset

If you had a car accident you can easily replace your car with a new model, if your house burns down you can build a bigger and better one but if your ability to work is damaged, you can’t just go out and get a new you. That is why it is so important to know what type of disability insurance you are covered under through your employer, because you want to make sure it is the biggest and the best type of insurance so you know you’ll receive enough benefits to cover all of the medical costs, as well as all of your everyday and ongoing expenses.

Look at your current financial situation and consider how long you and your family could survive if your income stream suddenly stopped. You probably have an emergency fund which will cover three to six months of your expenses, but add in medical expenses and how long can you go on? Plus, you don’t want your family to miss out on their dreams, you still want your kids to be able to go to college and you still want to be able to afford that nice house and car. While it is shocking to realize how devastating the loss of income coupled with a disability could be, it will only take you a minute to have a chat with your boss about your benefits.

4 – Social Security doesn’t cover it

While there is a disability benefit as part of your Social Security protection, the benefits are not usually enough to cover the medical and ongoing expenses associated with a disability and reduced income. Plus, there are very strict guidelines you must meet to qualify for a disability benefit from Social Security, for example, you will only be paid a benefit if you are unable to perform any occupation. Therefore, if your current job requires you to be on your feet, but an accident lands you in a wheelchair, you are not able to do your previous job, but there are still other jobs you can do, so you won’t receive any Social Security benefit.

Social Security define a disability as:

‘The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason or any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. A person must not only be unable to do his or her previous work, but cannot, considering age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial work which exists in the national economy. It is immaterial whether such work exists in the immediate area, or whether a specific job vacancy exists, or whether the worker would be hired if they applied for work.’

Plus, even if you do qualify there is a five month waiting period for benefits from Social Security and during that time you can be putting yourself and your family under a lot of financial pressure.

5 – Short and long term disability cover

Most companies will organize for a short term disability policy as part of a group plan for all employees. A short term disability policy will pay benefits for between six months and one year, where some may even be extended to two years. These types of policies will also usually have a zero day waiting period, or a maximum of just seven days before you start receiving a benefit.

However, you may want to consider enhancing your disability insurance protection to include long term cover so that if you suffer a disability, you can receive benefits up to 65 when your retirement benefits kick in, or even until death. A long term disability policy will usually have a longer waiting period of anywhere from 30 days to two years, but this is because they are designed to come into effect after the benefit period of a short term policy has ended.

If you’re found that the disability insurance cover offered by your employer is inadequate for your needs, Life Insurance Finder can help you compare policies, premiums and features to give you and your family complete peace of mind.


5 Simple Tips to Save Money on Your Home Insurance

Home insurance is often seen as a grudge purchase, you need it, but it can often be costly. In this economic downturn, it’s important to know how to save money on big purchases.

These simple tips could help you make savings when purchasing home insurance:

1. It’s always important to compare quotes from several different insurance providers. Comparing insurance online can be very helpful for this as you can see quotes from multiple insurance providers in one place, without the hassle of going to each individual company. Always compare home insurance quotes to similar plans, considering all the policy features as well as price.

2. Once you’ve been given your quotes, be aware that the cheapest quote may not always offer adequate coverage. Be sure to check the finer details of the quote, so you know exactly what is covered and what is not. It’s important to have the right level of coverage on your policy as being under-insured could cost you a lot more in the event of your claim exceeds your coverage.

3. Your premium should reduce if you offer to pay a higher excess. The excess is the amount of money you’d contribute in the event of a claim. Normally, you’ll be seen as less of a risk to the insurer if you offer to pay a larger excess. In return, your premium might be lowered. Be certain that you’re willing and able to pay this amount if you ever needed to claim.

4. Security in your home is important and many insurance companies reward this with lower monthly or annual premiums. For example, insurers may look more favorably on you if you have a fully operational burglar alarm or you’re a member of a neighborhood watch program. Again, this is because your policy will be viewed as a lower risk policy.

5. It’s always important to accurately calculate the amount of insurance needed to cover the value of your possessions. If you over-estimate, you may be paying for coverage coverage you don’t need. By doing a thorough analysis of the contents in your home before you look for a quote, you’ll be sure of the amount of coverage you actually need.

Also, remember to give an accurate rebuild cost for your property; this is not the market value of your home but how much it would cost to rebuild the house. This price can be lower than the price that your home would sell for on the open market.

With many households looking to reduce their outgoings, it’s useful to know how to save money on big purchases. These simple tips should show you what to look out for when buying home insurance.

This post was written by Katie Sheeran of insurance site Policy Expert.


Tips for Maintaining Your VA Benefits Eligibility

The first thing to understand when it comes to VA benefits is that there are never any guarantees.  Requirements and the application process can change at any time or you could lose your eligibility for future earnings.  What’s even worse than this is that you could be required to pay benefits back!  To reduce the risk of any of this happening to you, it is always advised to work with a qualified counselor when applying and meeting annual eligibility requirements, especially when dealing with non-service connected disability payments such as the Aid and Attendance Benefit, also known as the Veterans Pension Benefit.

If the VA benefits application process isn’t stressful enough, every year before March 1st, you are required to fill out an Eligibility Verification Report (EVR) and file it.  While this report is somewhat shorter and may seem simpler on the surface, if you don’t complete this accurately, your pension benefits could be reduced or revoked.

The Importance of the EVR

The Eligibility Verification Report must not be taken lightly.  It has been designed to make sure that you do still need those funds that you are being given every month and in some cases, you may even deserve more than you are being awarded.  Factors that affect whether you maintain your eligibility status or not include new assets that have been acquired throughout the year, additional income, shifting of any assets already owned, disuse of medical services that were previously needed and your life expectancy.

The EVR evaluates if your current pension amount is too low, high or unnecessary and ensures that the total of your monthly expenses exceeds your income.  To maintain eligibility, you will be required to submit financial documents and medical forms which should all be reviewed by a qualified professional before submitting your EVR.

Why Hiring an Attorney Makes Sense

If it’s not enough that an attorney can ease your burden associated with this stressful paperwork and help you keep your needed benefits, they can also be beneficial in other ways.  Such an individual will be knowledgeable of the proper forms that you need to file and they can help you reassign or convert assets so you can keep your eligibility.  They can also educate you on offsetting your income with medical payments so you can receive the maximum amount of money you are entitled to.

VA benefits are nothing to fool around with, especially when it comes to your annual forms.  Think of how good it felt to finally get that money and how it would feel if it was suddenly gone.


Clever Car Insurance: Considerations Beyond the Bottom Line

If you wanna drive you’ve gotta have car insurance. It’s right up there with taxes on that list of payments we shell out because not doing it is, well illegal, but it’s also likely to end in disaster. So we do the best we can to keep the out-of-pocket as low as possible. Some corners are worth cutting, but there are others that maybe we shouldn’t. Here are just a few things to think about if you’re shopping for car insurance. And you should be. Seriously. Shop around.

Liability and Collision

One of the first things to look at in car insurance is liability coverage. This is the one that applies to the stuff we do to other people or their cars. And this is not an area to be stingy. See, if you total a car or worse, hurt someone, in an accident the costs could be pretty high. It’s important to look at your total liability and the coverage per person. It may cost a little extra, but taking a higher deducible getting the highest possible coverage in this area will bring you the most comfort in a bad situation. If you take the minimum you run the risk of paying for the costs that exceed your coverage. When you consider that accident injuries can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars if they are severe, do you want your insurance policy maxing at a $100,000? Yeah. Me neither.

Collision is the side of insurance that helps repair for damages to your car. Choose the highest deductible you think you can afford to save a little money and if you have an older car, consider dropping it altogether. If it’s going to cost almost as much to replace the car as you would get from the insurance company, instead of paying collision premiums, bank that money for a new car.

Additional Services

Once you get past the major stuff, liability and collision and so forth, you may want to think about a few miscellaneous benefits. A common one is car rental. In the event of an accident, you’ll still need to get around. Car repairs can take a while leaving you without transportation indefinitely. And if the car is totaled you don’t want to be rushed into finding your next one. In either case, you may already be facing additional expenses as a result of your accident and the last thing you want is to deal with high rental fees on top of that. When the time comes, you’ll be grateful you have a policy that covers the rental for you. You may be able to get towing and labor coverage as well, but this may also be worth cutting if you have AAA, OnStar or other roadside assistance. Are any of these considerations as important as Liability? No, definitely not. But when you get a quote, it’s worth finding out if these are included.

Other Benefits

Before you sign up with any insurance company, there are a few “little things” to think about. A dedicated representative is one of them. Having one person or a couple of people that you deal with exclusively can be a great relief in the event of an accident. If you file a claim and wind up talking to a dozen different people having to repeat details and information it can be a hassle. Having someone familiar help you maneuver the complexities of car insurance will be a relief in a time of crisis.

Signing up with an insurance company that can offer you the opportunity for future deductions and savings is also a good idea. Many companies offer opportunities to lower your premiums over time by proving yourself a safe driver, taking classes or long-time customer discounts. If you don’t have a house now, you may someday and getting your house coverage at the same agency as your auto insurance can qualify you for discounts. The same is true of multiple vehicles, rental insurance, life insurance or coverage for valuable items. When you cover multiple entities through the same company you can often save quite a bit. So when you look at an insurance quote, will it always be that number? Or does the company also offer incentives that can lower your payments in the future? This may be a deciding factor in who you choose as your provider.

Medical, Loss of Income and Uninsured Drivers

Insurance can also be used to protect you in the event of an accident. Three different kinds of extra coverage may help you if you get hurt or get into a scrape with an uninsured driver. Medical payments help you cover for medical bills and expenses. Loss of income coverage provides you with additional cash to help compensate for an inability to work as a result of an accident. Uninsured driver coverage will pay the costs of car repair if the other party does not have insurance that will cover it for you. However there are third party insurers like AFLAC also offer accident coverage for this kind of emergency. Just run the numbers; find out if grouping this coverage with your regular auto insurance policy may be cost effective.

Choosing car insurance is an important decision. While it may be tempting to go with the lowest quote you can find, it’s not always in your best interest. Consider the quality of your coverage and the risks in the worst case scenarios and figure out is it better to pay a little more every month or be up a creek in a disaster?

About the author. Platon writes for Guard Insure an agency featuring Massachusetts Car Insurance. Platon has written and blogged quite a bit over the last several years and has spent a number of years navigating the complex world of insurance.



Car Accidents – The Perfect Driving Storm?

Car accidents are the principle cause of unnecessary deaths across the majority of major countries of the world and is fast becoming the driving force behind the enormous increase in the number of personal injury compensation claims being filed.

The Perfect Storm for car accident injuries

Many of these car accidents typically involve drunk drivers and are as a result, often fast impact accidents which unfortunately involve a high level of serious injuries as well as fatalities. Most of us are aware that the consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol seriously degrades our reaction times and reasoning capacity all helping to contribute to a serious road traffic problem. The combination of these attributes makes for a “perfect driving storm.”

Typical Car Accident Injuries

Typical injuries caused specifically from car accident involving drunk drivers tend to range in severity according to the location of the incident. Built up areas tend to involve lower speeds due to the makeup of the roads whereas incidents upon highways and motorways often result in many more injuries and quite often multiple victims. If you have ever suffered a car accident then you will understand that injuries can vary in severity some of which may require medical attention (and resultant medical bills and possible lost wages/income) not to mention the physical and psychological trauma associated with any accident.

Car accident injury claims – get it right

It is crucial that any car accident claim is filed as soon as is practically possible following the accident. This will very much depend upon the severity of the incident. Should the incident be a small one the following the wreckage being cleared off the road, insurance documents and personal information will need to be exchanged. If you find you do not have (or recollect) your insurers details, do not worry, simply take as much identifying information from the other party (including contact telephone numbers) and after you have returned home locate the information and telephone it through remembering to inform your insurer of the problem as soon as possible.

Many insurers typically do not require initial claim forms to be competed; most of the details can be relayed over the telephone making the claims process much quicker and streamlined. This will of course not be the case should an accident compensation claim be affected, in these cases a detailed report will be required for the insurer to undertake investigations of your case.

Should you admit liability?

Regardless of who is responsible for the accident and assuming everyone involved escaped safely, admitting liability (even if you knew it was your fault) is not a great strategy. This is something which your insurers will battle out and is not something you need to concern yourself with. Simply avoid any admission at the scene; this will help the insurer later down the line of the claim.