Education Center

Elimination Period Provision

What is a Disability Insurance Elimination Period?

Individual disability insurance policies contain an elimination period, or waiting period, during which time no benefits are payable. It is the period of time between the starting point of an injury or illness and the time during which benefit payments are received. Generally, you can choose between periods ranging from 30 days to one year. The longer the elimination period is, the lower the cost of the plan will be. In most cases, the 90 day period makes the most financial sense, but there are exceptions. Policyholders often have the choice between various period lengths of anywhere from 30 days to 720 days.

What are the Possible Differences between Policies for Elimination Periods?

It should be said that typically, choosing a policy with a waiting period longer than 90 days may not be worth the risk, even though the policy may be less expensive to hold. You should be aware that some policies also require that disability take place over consecutive days during the disability insurance elimination period before coverage begins; in other words, they require an elimination period be satisfied consecutively. So, for example, if your policy’s elimination period was 60 days, you would have to be disabled for 60 consecutive days before coverage would begin. For these policies, time in a hospital or time being disabled for interrupted periods of time do not accumulate to qualify towards the waiting period.

Can the Elimination Period Provisions be Changed?

Most insurance providers will allow policyholders to adjust the benefits and provisions of policies, but it may require additional underwriting. Before you make a final plan choice, always check to see if you would be able to revise your disability insurance elimination period terms. If a policy is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to the age of 65 or 67, the insurance carrier cannot change the elimination period; only the policyholder may. However, if the policy doesn’t include these renewability provisions, in some cases the waiting period can be changed by the provider.

Recurrent Disability and Elimination Periods

There are policies available that would permit brief periods of recovery without having the waiting period “start over” from the beginning. The best policies will also count periods of residual disability toward the elimination period, and will waive the time for recurrent periods of a disability that occurs within a 12-month period arising from the same or related causes. Before you purchase disability insurance, make sure that you understand the exclusions, requirements and terms of the disability insurance elimination period.

Other Policy Provisions:

Own Occupation Definition and other definitions of Total Disability
Recovery Benefit
Renewability Provisions
Waiver of Premium
Capital Sum Benefit
Rehabilitation Benefit
Transplant and Cosmetic Surgery Benefit
Exclusions and Limitations
Optional Benefits