Buying life and disability insurance at the same time

Protect your family with two essential insurance types.

Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Published September 17, 2018

While there are many reasons to buy life insurance, protecting your family is one of the most important drivers of new policies.

But there’s an additional insurance type that life insurance shoppers should also consider if they want to protect their families: long-term disability (LTD) insurance. Disability insurance benefits provide income replacement if you can no longer work from a disability, and they can be an essential part of your financial protection plan.

If you don’t already have long-term disability insurance — and most people don’t — applying when you’re shopping for life insurance can make a lot of sense. Like life insurance, long-term disability applications also require a medical exam and underwriting, and you can have one exam do double work when you apply at the same time.

Read more:

Why life and disability insurance are essential

Life insurance and long-term disability insurance both protect your family in important ways.

CriteriaTerm life insuranceLong-term disability insurance
Primary purposeProvides financial protection for your dependents if you dieProvides income protection for you if you become disabled
Benefit periodLump sum if you die while policy is active2, 5, 10 years, or until retirement
Coverage amount$100,000 to $1 million+Up to 60% gross monthly income
Average cost$300-$400 per year1-3% of annual salary

The importance of life insurance

Life insurance provides an agreed-upon death benefit to your beneficiaries if you die while the policy is in force.

This financial protection can be essential to your family and other dependents if the case of your accidental death. It’s macabre to think about, but if there are people who would struggle financially if you were to suddenly die, a life insurance policy is a way to protect them and provide you with peace of mind.

The benefit can pay for medical bills, funeral costs, mortgage payments, school tuition, personal loans, student loans, and other debts and obligations if you’re to die. In fact, because life insurance benefits are typically tax-free, your family and dependents can do anything with the money that they need to.

Read more about who needs life insurance.

The importance of long-term disability insurance

Long-term disability insurance (LTD) protects you while you’re still alive. If an accident or illness means you can no longer work, the long-term disability benefits act as income replacement, paying you a percentage of your former salary for as long as specified in your policy.

Your chance of becoming disabled at some point in your career is higher than you might think. Disabilities are more than just big workplace accidents, which would be covered by workers compensation. Most disabilities are actually diseases, like cancer, or chronic conditions, such as back or muscle pain. Approximately one in four twenty-year-olds will experience a disability before they retire, according the Social Security Administration.

Many employees think they are covered by group insurance for work, but employer-provided disability benefits are usually short-term, or if they’re longer, they aren’t robust enough.

Read more about who needs disability insurance.


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How to apply for life and disability insurance at the same time

Applying for long-term disability insurance is a similar process to applying for life insurance, and if you don’t already have coverage, applying for both at the same time is a great idea — and easy if you’re applying through an independent agency like Policygenius.

Whether you start with the life insurance application or disability insurance application, your agent can help you pull together both applications at the same time.

But not only can an agent help you streamline the application process, they can also help you find the best rates for your disability insurance and life insurance coverage.

Disability insurance rates and life insurance rates can vary greatly by company, because each company’s underwriting rules are slightly different. One company may view high-blood pressure more negatively than another; another might be more lenient about family history.

An independent agent from Policygenius familiar with disability insurance plans can look at your full medical history and assess which company will offer you the best rates. Better yet: if your rates come back higher than expected, your agent can keep searching for a better deal.

Get started with your application by answering a few simple questions.

Why you should apply for life and disability insurance at the same time

There are a few reasons why applying to life and disability insurance at the same time makes sense.

1. The best time to apply is (almost always) now

Life insurance rates and disability insurance rates both rise as you get older — there’s almost never a good reason to put off applying now (though there are some exceptions, including if you’re in the later stages of pregnancy). Applying for both at the same time instead of putting one off until later just makes sense.

2. Two applications, one timeline

Applying for life and disability insurance policies can be a long process, especially if you have a complicated medical history and the underwriters request your medical records. While applying for life and disability policies are two distinct processes, applying for both at the same time means you’re spending less time overall going back and forth with an insurance company.

3. Take only one medical exam

Both life and disability insurance applications require that you take a medical exam, but when you apply at the same time, you can use the results from the same medical exam. The medical exam results are good for six months to a year, usually, depending on your age and carrier. Applying at the same time and using the same exam results means one less thing to schedule.

4. Ensure you’re covered

Another reason to apply to life and disability insurance at the same time is so you can ensure that both policies are as robust as you need them to be. If your disability insurance application is denied or if your rates are higher than you can afford, you may be able to add some disability coverage to your life policy (more on that below).

Long-term disability insurance vs. disability insurance riders

Long-term disability policies offer the most robust income protection if you become disabled and can’t work, but there is another option.

If you are denied a disability insurance policy or if you can’t can’t afford the rates you’re offered, you can add a rider or endorsement to your life insurance policy that includes some benefits in case you become disabled. Insurance riders let you add additional coverage and rules to your policy, and a disability income rider adds coverage that is very similar to a long-term disability policy (though it’s much less robust).

Basically, if you experience a disability and are unable to work, the disability income rider means that your life insurance company will provide you with a monthly stipend.

These riders require additional underwriting and will increase your life insurance premiums, but they’re the next best thing if you can’t afford a stand-alone policy.

Further reading

Understanding how life insurance rates change by age

The cost of life insurance can increase by as much as 12% each year you put it off. See real life examples here.


How does the underwriting process work?

Life insurance rates are set largely based on the results of the underwriting process. Find out what exactly carriers look for.


Should you pay my life insurance premiums annually or monthly?

How often you pay your life insurance premiums can have a big impact on how much you spend on your policy.