While many people know it’s important to re-evaluate their life insurance coverage or car insurance coverage from time to time, disability insurance coverage is often overlooked. Should you fall ill or become injured or disabled and unable to work, you’re going to want to make sure you get the most benefit from your coverage. That won’t happen, however, if you haven’t evaluated your policy in quite some time.
Maintaining your policy means that you’ll need to periodically review everything to make sure the protection for which you are paying is still going to be relevant to your personal needs (i.e., the monthly benefit is large enough to meet your income needs and is competitively priced, given your professional and medical situation). It’s also the perfect opportunity to make sure any riders have not expired that you still want to remain in effect.
It’s also a good time to purchase additional coverage – many people like to reevaluate their policies when they reach specific milestones and certain ages. Some providers will automatically allow you to purchase additional coverage without medical underwriting at these points in time. There are some options that expire, though, if you don’t take advantage of them within a certain amount of time.
Reviewing Your Disability Protection
So, what are some of the most common times in a person’s life when he or she can (or should) go back over disability insurance coverage and reevaluate their protection?
- Graduating from medical or dental school, or completing residency
- Marriage or divorce
- Entering a specialty training program that may lead to a markedly increased salary
- When any scheduled age for the execution of guaranteed riders is reached
- Any other situation that constitutes a major life change
You may also want to review the language in your current policy; what is the definition of a disability? Does your policy only cover you if you are unable to work in your specialty, or does it cover you only if you cannot work at all? You want to make sure your policy will protect you against the possibility of you being able to work for less money – for example, if you are a surgeon and become disabled, but can still work as a family practice physician, you’re going to want a plan that will protect you against that disqualifying you from receiving benefits.