Buying Short-Term Disability Insurance

You might wonder if you really need short-term disability insurance. After all, few people plan to be seriously injured and miss work for an extended period. And, many have emergency funds, work-issued insurance or compensation plans set up to protect themselves in the event of an illness or injury. However, have you considered how much of your income is necessary to sustain you and your family if you are unable to work? Our Needs Assessment calculator can help you see just how much money it will take to pay your bills and maintain the lifestyle you are accustomed to if this happens.

If you've noticed that your current savings and plans may not be large enough to fund your family during an extended work absence, short-term disability insurance can help. These insurance plans can help you pay bills and other expenses if you are unable to work.

The following are some tips to keep in mind when looking for short-term disability insurance plans:

Don't Depend on Government Assistance

There are government programs that can help you in the event of a disability. Social Security, for example, has a disability component. However, you likely will have to wait several months before you are eligible to claim any benefits. And once you begin to draw benefits, the amount you receive will likely be substantially less than the income you are used to. These plans are a nice supplement to your income during a difficult time, but they alone will likely not be enough to maintain your lifestyle.

Personal Insurance vs. Employer Provided Insurance

Some businesses offer forms of short-term disability insurance to their employees. These plans can be helpful in supplementing or even replacing your income (depending on the benefits) during a time of disability. But before committing to an employer-provided plan over a personally funded plan, make sure you understand the terms and conditions. It may be difficult to collect on benefits from the employer plan, or the benefit period may be much shorter. A personally funded plan is also portable, and not tied to your current job.

Accident Only or Accident/Sickness Policy

Short-term disability insurance plans typically comes in two types - accident only or sickness and accident protection. The type of policy you pick determines what type of benefits you can receive and under which circumstances. If you have an accident-only policy, you will not receive benefits if you fall ill and are unable to work.

Since accident-only policies are less comprehensive than combination policies, they will typically have lower premiums and a lower cost to you. An accident-only policy, from the Mutual of Omaha Disability Income Choice Portfolio, can be customized in three different ways:

  • Selecting elimination period
  • Selecting benefit period
  • Selecting an optional rider

Your elimination period can vary from zero to 90 days in these policies; benefits can vary from three months to two years; and we have an optional rider that can customize your policy (accident hospital confinement indemnity benefits).

Accident and sickness short-term disability insurance, as the name implies, covers you in both circumstances. Our policies in this category can be customized in the same manner as accident-only insurance plans. The major difference (other than the obvious inclusion of sickness in coverage) is that the optional rider selection is expanded. You can add a Hospital Confinement Rider (0LL9M), a Return of Premium Benefit Rider (0AX5M) or a Critical Illness Benefits Rider (0LL8M) to this policy. (Additional premium applies)

Choosing a short-term disability insurance option that best protects you and your family can be a difficult process. Talk to a licensed insurance agent in your area to get face-to-face help based on your needs and situation. You can also get a short-term disability insurance quote online today.

See what is not covered by an accident-only insurance policy.

Other Disability Insurance Resources