In circumstances where you can’t work because of an injury or illness, disability insurance saves the day by providing you with the financial safety you need. But how does it work? It offsets a portion of your income either for the short or long term, although it depends on the nature of your disability. Short-term disability covers up to two years, while its long-term counterpart can provide benefits for several years up until retirement.
However, many people are at a loss about how this policy works or how they can maximize it. What happens as a result is quite unfortunate—they fail to claim their disability insurance or only get a small portion of what they’re eligible for. So, continue reading this article as we’ll discuss the top expert strategies you can use to make the most of your benefits.
- Consult an attorney
Seeking legal counsel in the face of a disability insurance claim can be an invaluable move. Why is that so? An attorney can provide expert advice when filing your claim, gathering evidence, and appealing a denied claim, among others.
Typically, a disability insurance claim involves several complex legal processes that can be overwhelming. There can also be several issues with your claim, and an attorney disability insurance can identify these hiccups and develop a strategy to help you take full advantage of your benefits.
In addition to those pros, an attorney can advocate for your rights and negotiate a just case settlement on your behalf. Moreover, reputable and experienced ones are adept at handling different types of claims as they understand the industry well, which means they know how to present and build a strong case, blowing the wind in your favor.
- Choose the right type of insurance
In simple terms, the disability insurance you select determines the amount of coverage you’ll be eligible for. As mentioned earlier, there are two major types at your disposal: short-term and long-term.
Short-term disability insurance can offer financial protection for up to two years following an illness or injury. It’s designed to cover your living expenses while you recover. The benefits can range between 40%-70% of your pre-disability income.
Meanwhile, long-term disability covers several years or up until you retire. It offers financial support when you’re unable to work indefinitely due to injury or illness. The coverage is usually about 60% to 80% of your pre-disability income.
When it’s finally time to choose a disability insurance type, here are crucial factors to take into account:
- Occupation: Consider the likelihood of injury in your occupation. If you work in a high-risk environment, opting for long-term disability coverage is ideal.
- Your financial situation: Assess your financial obligations and savings to ensure that you don’t have to strain yourself to pay for your premium.
- Your income: Determine how much income you’ll need to replace if you get injured or become ill. Then, search for a policy provider offering the most suitable percentage.
Remember, choosing the right type of disability cover can impact your financial well-being in the long run.
- Understand your rights
As a policyholder, you should understand your rights to ensure you get the best coverage when filing a claim.
Some of your key rights include:
- Right to file a claim: If you’re eligible, you have a right to file a claim, and the company is required to process your claim fairly and promptly.
- Right to access your policy: You also have a right to access a copy of your insurance policy and review its terms and conditions thoroughly. It should outline the definition of disability, benefit amounts, elimination periods, and any other relevant details.
- Right to appeal a denied claim: If your claim is denied, you have a right to appeal the decision. The insurance company should provide a clear explanation for the denial and the opportunity to submit additional information.
- Right to file a complaint: If you believe the insurance company has violated your rights, you have the option to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency.
Understanding your rights as a policyholder helps you navigate the claim process more effectively. And by asserting them, you can ensure that your insurance company fulfills its obligation.
- Document your medical history
Thorough documentation of your medical history can play a significant role in the outcome of your insurance claim. It helps provide your insurance company with comprehensive evidence of your condition, severity, and ability to work.
The types of medical documentation you need for insurance claims include:
- Test results: Lab tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic studies can help provide objective evidence for your condition.
- Prescription medical records: Documentation of the prescribed medications supports the severity of your condition and can help in winning your claim.
- Therapy notes: You should also provide notes that document your sessions in physical, occupational, or rehabilitation therapy. These will document your progression and limitations that can affect your ability to work.
- Hospital records: It’s also essential to provide documents concerning admissions and surgeries.
Documenting your medical history will increase your chances of maximizing your disability insurance benefits as you provide enough evidence to substantiate your claim and establish your functional limitations.
- Review your policy regularly
Disability insurance is complex, and there’s a need to review your policy regularly. This ensures you understand the terms and conditions to make informed decisions about the coverage. For example, if your income and financial regulations increase, you may need to adjust your disability insurance to maintain adequate protection.
Additionally, insurance companies may update their policies, and reviewing them can help you keep abreast of any changes that may affect your coverage. For instance, if there are any gaps in the new terms, you should address them early on before they leave you vulnerable in case of a disability.
Finally, it’s important to check for any optional riders or add-on benefits that you may have purchased to ensure they still meet your needs. These give you additional protection and benefits, although they come at an extra cost. You may include or remove them from your policy, depending on your financial situation and if you still require them.
It’s quite clear that disability insurance can provide crucial financial protection in case of an illness or injury that can impede your ability to work. When such unfortunate events occur, you must be covered adequately to avoid any financial strain or burden on your loved ones.
By working with a legal professional, choosing the right type of insurance, understanding your rights, documenting your medical history, and regularly reviewing your policy, you’re well on your way to increasing your chances of maximizing your benefits.
About the Author:
Jameson Michel is an insurance pundit who helps individuals make the most out of their coverage and benefits by simplifying complex insurance concepts. He loves going on outdoor adventures during his free time.