Single? Don’t Skimp on Disability Insurance

March 26, 2009



You are throwing away money when buying the cheapest policy on the
market. The odds of getting paid a monthly benefit under that
contract may be extremely lower than receiving benefits from a
quality contract. Individual disability insurance is designed to
replace anywhere from 45-60% of your gross income. This is designed
on a tax-free basis should a sickness or illness prevent you from
earning an income in your current occupation. Every disability
insurance plan has a different definition of total disability in
the policy. There are three basic types:

Own-Occupation Disability Insurance

If are deemed incapable to perform the duties of your regular
occupation, the company will pay the claim. You are even allowed to
get another job in a different field and still be paid. This is the
only plan that does not penalize somebody for going back to work in
a different occupation while on a claim.

Income Replacement Insurance

This is the most common definition of total disability in the last
few years. Most insurance carrier has moved to an income
replacement definition, if they stopped offering own-occupation
disability insurance. You will be penalized or lose the benefit if
you work while on a claim.

Gainful Occupation Coverage

This is a very common definition in an employer sponsored long-term
disability policy. This is also very popular with property and
casualty insurance companies who have decided to release a
disability insurance policy to offer more options to their clients
and put a foot in the market. This is the worst possible definition
and leaves whether you are disabled or not up to the insurance
company itself.

The first aspect of any disability insurance policy one needs to
understand is the renew ability feature. Non-Cancelable and
Guaranteed Renewable guarantees you that after you purchased the
policy there will be no changes to your premium schedule, monthly
benefits, or policy benefits to age 65 or whatever age you elected.
The insurance company legally cannot change anything concerning
your policy unless you want them to. A Guaranteed Renewable plan
states that an insurance company will probably not change anything
about the policy, but they can if they choose to at anytime. A
Conditionally Renewable plan is a policy that offers you virtually
no guarantees for your disability insurance policy. Stay away from
these policies; you will get burned. Next you will need to know
what you can expect if you get disabled.

There will be a period of time from the on set of your disability
till you receive a benefit check. This is called the elimination
period. The industry has made the most common offer a 90-day
elimination period for an individual disability insurance policy.
You can expect a high charge if you choose to go with a shorter
elimination period of 30, or 60 days. Most companies will also give
you a price break if you can go longer than 90 days. Now once the
checks star coming you have moved into your benefit period.
Choosing this is most important. You don’t want to be left with out
money to live on if you are disabled forever and picked a five-year
policy. This is time frame you will be getting a check, think
long-term, if you don’t need it than who cares, you might sometime
later. Once the elimination period has been satisfied, monthly
benefit checks will begin to come in at the end of each month. Your
benefits will stop when you return to work in your occupation, or
another occupation making the same income. The most popular choice
for a disability insurance policy is to age 65. Some people prefer
to go with lifetime with a higher premium.

A Cost of Living Adjustment is a rider that kicks in if you
actually go on a disability insurance claim, it will increase your
monthly benefit every year while you are on a claim along with the
CPI up to the maximum you elected. You have to be disabled for more
than a year to use it. A Future Increase Option is a rider locks in
your insurability for a certain period of time (normally to age
55). So, as you increase in age, and increase your income level,
you can increase your monthly benefit regardless of any health
changes. An Automatic Increase Rider increases your total monthly
benefit each year for about five years. Your premium will go up
with this rider each year because you are buying more disability
insurance coverage. Make sure you look at these carefully and pick
one that is best for you if you want the extra coverage.

DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational and informational
purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for
professional advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed Insurance
Agent or Broker with any questions you may have regarding any
Insurance Matter.

Single? Don’t Skimp on Disability Insurance

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Tips to Shop for Health Insurance Online

March 17, 2009



Looking for and/or buying a health insurance plan for you or your
family is easier than ever now due to the Internet. You can find
tons of site willing to dish out information and give you quotes on
their best plans. Most companies have crazy slogans and sites
filled with mumbo-jumbo to entice you to buy. Well, purchasing
health insurance is not like ordering a new book online, it takes a
lot of research and digging to make sure that what you are getting
is legitimate and what you truly want. Remember to find a plan you
will have to divulge very personal information to cyber space and
have no idea who might be taking this information on the other
side. You must make sure you know that this company is real and
reputable and that any information sent is sent on a secure site so
no third-party can get a hold of it. So, here on some tips for
playing it safe and shopping smart with your computer.

Make sure you shop with a licensed agent only or the company
directly. Don’t fall for some unknown company because it swears to
give you a plan at 75% cheaper than any other company. Making a
connection with selection and assistance is extremely important.
There are tons of insurance companies that sell their policies
directly to individuals as well through agents. Don’t limit your
self to a single company; you will limit your options. Make sure
you get several quotes from several different companies and agents.
This will enable you to contrast and compare the information you
receive and make the right decision for you based on what you have
in front of you. You will also get to see what each plan has for
benefits and what the price range is, you always want to get more
for your money.

A legally licensed agent is able to sell plans from many different
companies and is a good source of information. They can offer
personal advice and assistance in helping you find the best policy
and advocate on your behalf to get it approved faster. There are
plenty of agents to chose from for help. Some work individually
with you or you could have a small team that work to find a plan
for you based on the criteria given. Licensed agents must follow
strict guidelines set by the companies they represent the state
department of insurance. Buying a policy though an agent doesn’t
cost any more than right with the company itself. You just a more
personal touch and are more likely to get all your questions and
concerns answered. Be sure to get access to any online agents
license number so you can make sure they are legitimate.

Make sure they have quality phone support in case you need to call
agent. Even if you think you will never need it, make sure you have
the number where you can get in touch with a live person if you get
in a bind. No reputable agent will refuse to give out his or her
number or put it in the fine print, that is a red flag. Not to
mention bad business. They might not have it on their home page but
it should be one of the choices to choose from in the contact
section. Many people feel more secure talking directly to their
agent on the phone while others would prefer the net. Make sure
this agent will be available for you after your purchase has been
made as well as helping you shop. An agent who is courteous,
helpful, and easy to reach is a good sign that the company is a
quality health insurance partner.

Look for seals of approval or quality ratings on their web page.
Most reputable agents are proud and willing to share their
approvals and high ratings to their prospective clients and
consumers. Look for logos from the Better Business Bureau, TRUSTe,
or A.M.; these will indicate that you have found a good agent. Also
run the company or agents name through the Better Business Bureau
Online database. It will show you any thing that comes up bad or
good about this person or company that has been reported to them.
The agent should always have the approval of an Internet privacy
protection organization like TRUSTe, to know you are dealing with a
person who will protect your right to privacy and have a secure
site.

DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational and informational
purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for
professional advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed Insurance
Agent or Broker with any questions you may have regarding any
Insurance Matter.

Tips to Shop for Health Insurance Online