Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect in looking to Lawyers Disability Insurance, LLC for guidance in acquiring disability insurance?
After calling us or completing our online quote form, we will get back to you within 4 business days with 2-4 carriers that would be the most competitive in protecting your income and would represent the complete cross section of the lawyers disability insurance marketplace. We will email you the proposals and schedule a 15-20 minute meeting to speak of the differences in the plans and usually support that with the “specimen” policy exposing the actual verbiage.
What is the benefit of using your company for finding the right disability coverage?
We specialize in working with legal professionals and fully understand the unique issues surrounding a legal practice especially how it relates to income loss and business expenses. It is because of our unbiased approach in evaluating disability insurance mostly through the specimen policy language that allows us to base our recommendations on facts, free of opinion and hearsay. We are constantly evaluating the options available to the legal community and maintain access to all quality carriers willing to issue strong language to lawyers.
We speak in terms of jargon-free language making it easy to understand the differences in your options and how to best design your plan to fit your particular practice setting.
Are you an insurance company?
No. We represent a multitude of insurance companies with no affiliation to them other than as a broker.
What are the most important things to consider when shopping for a disability policy?
The definitions of disability and the verbiage of a disability policy is the most critical piece to examine. Beyond the verbiage one needs to be very cognizant of the way the policy is constructed in benefit periods, elimination periods, benefit amounts, guarantees, and various optional riders. We do examine insurance company strength through the use of many 3rd party ratings companies but it is not weighted as high in our evaluation process as language and policy design. Company ratings can drop long after the policy is secured and is completely out of our control, which doesn’t mean they won’t pay a claim but lower ratings could result in increasingly restricted claims paying philosophy with the insurance companies, hence more claim denials.
All companies we represent current are receiving very healthy financial ratings from the major ratings companies.
Will it benefit me to get quotes for disability insurance through multiple brokers?
No. Before any disability insurance can be sold in the U.S. the insurance rates need to be filed with each respective state so every broker that has access to each carrier will have the exact same rates. We understand the legal professional’s disability insurance market and can easily explain all your options in an unbiased easy to follow format. Having experience in this marketplace gives us the ability to give you very accountable recommendations.
Once I decide what carrier to go with how does that process unfold?
We will mail or email you an application for you to complete or we can complete over the phone with you to make it easier. You will fax or send the application back to us along with proof of income.
What kind of proof of income do I need to begin getting approved for disability insurance?
It really depends on the carrier but usually the most recent W-2 or tax return will be adequate. If you are just out of or still in dental school, no income verification is typically needed unless you have a contractual guarantee with new employer.
How long does it take to have a policy approved?
It depends on the medical history, which would potentially require the retrieval of medical charts but typically 45-60 days to get an offer from an insurance company.
Am I obligated to buy the policy after submitting an application?
No. The application simply releases medical information to the respective insurance company. After the insurance company makes an offer we will be in touch with you. It is your decision at that point in time to take the policy or not. Obviously you wouldn’t want to go through the underwriting process unless you were fairly confident you wanted to secure the insurance.
Can they raise the premium on my plan after I secure it?
No. The premiums are guaranteed to never go up until age 65. A provision known as “non-cancellable” prevents the insurance company from raising the rate or changing the definitions.
What are the most common reasons applicants become denied coverage for disability insurance?
Depression is the most common reason, which is evident by the use of anti-depression medication. Sometimes an insurance company will issue a “modified offer” with an exclusion on the policy for knee, back, or other medical conditions currently experiencing or in the past.
Can I make modifications to my disability policy after the policy is in-force?
Yes. As long as you are taking risk away from the insurance company by reducing benefit levels or removing riders.
Can I make modifications to my disability policy design after completing the application?
Yes. As long as you make the changes before the policy is issued you can change the plan design without any additional underwriting.
Do I get the opportunity to fully review my policy before activating it?
Yes. You typically have about 30-60 days to review the policy before you would need to send it back or send in the delivery requirements to activate the coverage.
If I have a claim, who will act as my advocate to the insurance company?
We will help you through the claims adjudication process with the insurance company. We have been through many claim scenarios and can help place you in a better position to expedite the claims paying process.
If I know my income is going up in the future and know I will want to protect more income, what should I do?
All the plans available allow you to buy a rider (augment to an insurance plan) that allows you to increase your benefit on the anniversary without have to prove your health, just your financial documentation to warrant the extra benefit.
What if I change jobs or employers?
Once you acquire an individual disability policy, your rates and occupation class is set in stone meaning you can work in another occupation and the coverage would still be in-force even if you chose to work in an uninsurable occupation.
If you work in for another employer; your disability policy will still go with you and if you have a group disability plan at the new employer, the individual disability policy will still pay with no offset from any group disability benefit.
What about Social Security benefits, won’t they pay me a disability benefit if disabled?
Social Security disability benefits are the most difficult to quality for (More than half of all claims submitted to the Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov Source: SS Forum, Volume 21, No.5 are denied.) simply because the definition of Total Disability requires you not to be able to do ANY OCCUPATION. If you can do any occupation then you wouldn’t receive any benefits. The most you can get from Social Security benefits is less than $1,500 a month and can be taxable.
Would my disability benefits be taxable?
Depending upon how you pay your premium would determine if you your benefits are taxable. If you pay your premium with pre-tax dollars then your benefits would be taxable. If you pay your premiums after-tax meaning you didn’t run your premiums through a corporation or section 125k plan then your benefits would be tax-free.
What are your tips for buying disability insurance?
1) Work with someone that can speak about all your options and isn’t working for any one insurance company, work with a broker.
2) Focus primarily on the language and definitions of the policy and make sure you understand how it relates to your particular situation.
3) Work with someone who specializes in your profession, this will give you more accurate and accountable information.
4) Understand that typically you get what you pay for with disability insurance so if one plan is far less expensive than another plan then know exactly why.
5) Verify what the agent or broker had told you about the plan through the specimen policy or by reading the actual policy once issued and before activation.
What are the problems with obtaining my disability coverage through an Association Group Disability Plan I am a member of?
The good news about Association Group coverage is that it is cheap. The reason it is cheap is that they reserve the right to change the premium on each annual renewal and reserve the right to change the language. Association coverage is designed to attract new members to the associations so they typically do this with lower premiums, which leads to inferior definitions and language. Association coverage is age-banded meaning they will raise your rate on a scheduled basis typically every 5-10 years but that schedule can be changed at anytime.
Every Association plan is different so it advisable to compare the verbiage of any of these plans with an individual plan by looking at the specimen policy not the marketing brochure which means nothing. A trained disability specialist will easily point out where to look in these specimen policies so you can verify the differences for yourself.
By stark contrast, a good individual plan will guaranteed the rate and definitions in the plan. There are many more provisions in a strong individual plan that cannot be obtained through any association group plan.