Individual Disability Insurance: The Basics

Man with arm in cast signing a documentThe most valuable asset you have is not your car, retirement account, or even your home. It is your ability to work and be able to make a comfortable living for you and your family. Disability insurance pays a particular portion of your income if you’re unable to work for a long time due to an injury or illness.

Find out how it could help you and why you need one.

What Disability Insurance Covers

While you are disabled, your income would be paid to you in the form of disability insurance either every week or month, as a predetermined dollar amount or portion of your income. The exact payout period would be dependent on whether your disability was a result of an illness or accident.

In general, individual disability insurance policies usually come in two types:

  1. General Disability Insurance — This provides benefits to individuals who are unable to perform jobs they’re qualified for due to injury or sickness. This means that as long as you’re still able to perform specific jobs you’re qualified for, you won’t be able to recover.
  2. Occupational Disability Insurance — This provides benefits to people who can’t perform their regular jobs due to injury or sickness.

According to one of the top attorneys at Haffner Law in Los Angeles specializing in disability insurance claims, the distinction between the two types is immensely crucial.

For instance, if a neurosurgeon loses his hand, he might not be able to do surgery again, but would still recover benefits if he were covered by occupational disability insurance, even if he could still work as a doctor, just not as a surgeon. However, if he were only covered by general disability insurance, he won’t be able to recover benefits, even if his only job alternative is to become a salesperson for example.

Potential Legal Issues

Some individual disability insurance policyholders get denied when they file a claim after being injured since their insurance plans don’t cover specific injuries or their insurance provider disagrees that the policyholder is indeed disabled. Additionally, some policies, usually those that employers provide, are regulated by complicated procedures and rules that must be followed, and if an individual fails to do so, his or her claim might be denied. When this happens, the denied policyholder would need to file an appeal and if that doesn’t work out, a lawsuit.

With this in mind, if you’re having issues recovering from your disability insurance provider, your best recourse is to consult a lawyer to find out the best strategy for your claim.