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Disability Insurance

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What is disability insurance?

If you become sick or injured and cannot work, disability insurance replaces about 60% of your gross income — which generally amounts to your actual take-home pay. Since health insurance only covers your medical procedures and recovery, a disability policy is a necessary supplement to pay for your everyday bills and expenses.

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It’s crucial that anyone who relies on an income for their everyday expenses gets a disability plan — getting coverage safeguards you against the risk of missing payments on your mortgage, utilities, and other bills.

→ Read more about how disability insurance works

What does disability insurance cover?

Disability insurance pays a benefit when you can't work your main job, or any job, depending on your policy.

Learn more about what disability insurance covers

How much do I need?

Our experts recommend covering 60% of your gross pay, which usually equals your take-home paycheck. 

Figure out how much disability insurance you need

How do I buy it?

All it takes is a phone interview and a medical exam to get coverage. Fill out an application to get started.

Find out how to get disability insurance

Choosing your best disability insurance company

The best disability insurance company for you largely depends on the policy costs and your individual situation, including your occupation. Some insurance companies are better for certain professions than others, offering the best prices or most flexible options, while others may not offer you affordable rates.

Getting disability quotes from multiple companies is the best way to find the right insurer who will offer you the most affordable rates — and when it comes to getting you the best coverage, Policygenius has got your back. Our agents will work with you for free to find you a disability policy that suits your needs at the most competitive price.


The best disability insurance companies

Our tl;dr top picks let you quickly find the insurer that fits your needs.


Disability insurance companies by occupation

Your profession can affect your coverage. Read up on which insurers are best for your line of work.

How much does disability insurance cost?

Average long-term disability insurance policies cost between 1% and 3% of your annual salary. Get a disability quote based on your needs for the most accurate estimate, which depends on several factors, including your: 

  1. Age The older you are, the more expensive your policy will be. You can expect to pay more than someone who bought it at a younger age.

  2. Gender Based on claims data, women are more susceptible to a disability and make more disability claims. Because of this, women pay more.

  3. Smoking history Smokers or recent smokers pay higher premiums.

  4. State of residence Residents of states with a higher number of disability claims will pay more for coverage.

  5. Occupation class Depending on elements of your job (including manual duties, travel, and more) you may be classified as having a “riskier” occupation and pay more for your policy.

Costs also depend on certain policy factors:

  1. Coverage amount The amount of money your insurer pays to you if you become disabled. Higher coverage amounts result in higher premiums.

  2. Benefit period The amount of time you will receive benefit payments. Longer benefit periods result in higher premiums. The most cost-effective benefit period is five years, but a benefit period that extends to age 65 is the most common.

  3. Elimination period How long after you become disabled before you begin receiving benefits. Longer elimination periods result in lower premiums. The most cost-effective elimination period is 90 days.

  4. Built-in policy features Some features like own-occupation coverage may increase the cost of the policy.

  5. Riders If you add on additional features that aren’t included in your policy, you will pay higher premiums.

→ Read more about how much disability insurance costs

What are the two main types of disability insurance?

The two types of disability insurance are short-term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance. The biggest difference between the two products is how long they last.

→ Learn more about the types of disability insurance

Short-term disability insurance

Short-term disability insurance lasts only a few months, but you don't have to wait as long to start receiving benefits. You almost always get this type of plan through your employer.

Read more about short-term disability insurance

Long-term disability insurance

Long-term disability insurance can last for decades, even until retirement, which makes it the best way to protect your income. Benefit payments aren't usually taxed, either.

Read more about long-term disability insurance

Short-term disability insurance is usually more affordable when purchased through an employer. Long-term disability plans are typically bought through a broker and offer the most comprehensive coverage.

Alternatives to disability insurance

If you decide that disability insurance isn’t for you, there are some substitutes that provide some level of financial coverage:

  • Social Security disability insurance (SSDI)

  • Self-funding via an emergency fund

  • Workers' comp

  • Relying on friends and family for financial support

However, these are imperfect options that may not be feasible for covering the cost of a long-term disability. For example, Social Security disability insurance is difficult to qualify for — to get benefits, you must prove that you cannot work in any job. Additionally, the benefits offered are usually too low for most people’s needs.

Meanwhile, workers’ compensation only pays out if you are injured on the job, but a majority of disabilities occur outside of the workplace. Purchasing a standalone long-term disability insurance plan is the best way to ensure you don’t lose your income if you become disabled.

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