The Best Disability Insurance for 2021: Protection When it All Goes Wrong
What if you took a tumble down the stairs and ended up with a back injury that took months to heal? What if you slipped on the bathroom floor, or injured your wrist playing tennis, or sprained your ankle in the gym? We all think it will never happen to us until it does. By then, it’s too late.
Our employer’s insurance won’t cover us because the injury happened outside of work, and we’re left with exorbitant medical bills and a smaller income (or no income at all) while we recover.
That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself with the best disability insurance. It can cover you in cases of both short- and long-term disability and give you peace of mind when you need it most. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of firms with the best insurance products on the market.
The Best Private Disability Insurance — Ultimate List
Ameritas is the kind of company that goes the extra mile for its customers. With over 125 years of experience in the industry, this provider has managed to build a very solid customer base and an immaculate reputation.Read Full Review
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, The Standard is one of the best life and disability insurance companies out there. It works with both individuals and businesses to ensure they get proper coverage no matter their income level. Here you’ll find affordable rates and enough customization options to tailor a product to your own needs.Read Full Review
Mutual of Omaha has been around for over a century. It’s one of the few companies that offers high-quality private short term disability insurance at affordable rates.Read Full Review
Breeze lets you apply for insurance online. It’s a modern company that was founded in 2019 and prides itself on being one of the first companies to offer a fully automated, online approach that simplifies the application process for every consumer. All this and more make it one of the top disability insurance companies.Read Full Review
As Assurity puts it, “You don’t get to be over 125 years old by accident.” This is a stable company with a very long history of success, and it will offer you straightforward, traditional disability insurance. It’s truly the best place to get disability insurance.Read Full Review
Aflac offers short-term disability insurance through employers. This company is a great choice for customers who want to get coverage through their work. If you opt for Aflac, you can expect good, affordable rates, transparent conditions, and a straightforward underwriting process.Read Full Review
How We Found the Best Disability Insurance for You — Fortunly’s Methodology
Disability insurance provides you with income that supports you and your family while you’re unable to work. It’s an extremely important safety net, and finding the best place to get disability insurance is crucial. We understand that in a sea of different offers from companies that promise heaven and earth to their customers, it’s difficult to find one you can actually trust. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help out and find the places that offer transparency, quality, and peace of mind.
We’ve got the financial experience and done the in-depth research to compile a list of the very best deals on disability insurance. However, simply trusting something you read online is generally not recommended, and we don’t expect you to just take our word for it. Here at Fortunly, it’s important to us to help people make sound financial decisions. So instead of just giving you a list, we’re going to explain how we compare disability insurance products. Here’s what we pay attention to when evaluating each offer on the market.
For most consumers, price is the first consideration when choosing an insurance company. After all, what use is a company to you if you can’t afford the services it offers? No matter how good an offer appears to be, you need to know that the company is not ripping you off or that you’d have found a better offer had you only checked with their competitors. Of course, the cost of your policy will depend on several factors: your age, your gender, your profession, the monthly benefit amount, and the length of the benefit period. For example, the best disability insurance for physicians will cost differently than the one for an engineer.
Disability insurance carriers offer different rates to different people depending on their circumstances, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. In general, insurance costs between 1% and 3% of your yearly salary, ranging from $25 to $500 a month. Things like pre-existing conditions, old age, and your profession can severely affect the price.
First we examined basic details like the duration of benefits and the waiting period. After that, we look at how each company defines disability. For example, what if you become disabled but are still able to work, only not as much as you used to? This kind of information is important because it allows you to plan your life and your recovery accordingly. We’ve found that the best short term disability insurance companies state all their terms and conditions clearly. The company you choose to purchase from needs to be helpful, respectful, and willing to work with you to protect your income.
Riders are insurance policy provisions that add benefits to the original insurance policy. They’re a way to customize an insurance product and make it suit your needs better. We’ve reviewed all of the features and riders that you can include in your policy, looking for things like partial disability benefits, future increase options, retirement protection disability benefits, critical illness benefits, and own-occupation benefits. There are plenty of disability insurance options to choose from, and we’ve made sure to point out what’s available with each company.
Professions it’s suited for
The best disability insurance for teachers isn’t the same as the best disability insurance for physicians. This is normal. If you’re a stuntman who puts his life at a much bigger risk on a daily basis than, for example, a dentist, your disability insurance will naturally be more expensive.
That said, physical injuries aren’t the only things that disability insurance covers. Disabling illnesses are actually more common than physical injuries, so you can benefit from good coverage regardless of whether you’re a white or blue collar worker.
Here at Fortunly, we’ve taken everything into consideration and made recommendations based on which professions these insurance products would be good for.
AM Best rating
Finally, to find the best short and long term disability insurance, we consult the AM Best rating. AM Best is a credit rating agency based in Oldwick, New Jersey, and it focuses on insurance products. It is a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization in the US, and it measures financial stability and the ability of companies to pay claims. It’s an easy, legitimate way to check whether an insurance firm is worth considering.
Best Disability Insurance Providers for 2021:
- Ameritas: Best for doctors
- The Standard: Best for caregivers
- Mutual of Omaha: Best for affordable rates
- Breeze: Best for online applications
- Assurity: Best for blue-collar workers
- Aflac: Best for employee benefits
Ameritas ReviewGet a Quote
On Official Website
- • COBRA premium
- • Great for doctors
- • Good riders
Ameritas is one of the best long term disability insurance companies. With over 125 years of experience in the industry, Ameritas has managed to build a very solid customer base and an immaculate reputation. It is the kind of company that goes an extra mile, and it’s particularly suitable for physicians and dentists. With good insurance like that provided by Ameritas, doctors can get benefits such as retirement protection and student loan riders.
With an AM Best rating of A+, consumers can be sure that this company is financially secure enough to be there for your family down the line. Ameritas clearly outlines its values on its website: to better the lives of customers by offering great insurance over a lifetime. Our own experience with this company absolutely supports this claim.
Products and Benefits
Ameritas offers the best long term disability insurance for individuals, but doesn’t offer short-term insurance. There are two insurance products you can choose from: DInamic Foundation and DInamic Fundamental. DInamic Foundation is made to protect high earners, while DInamic Fundamental is aimed at people who just want a simple, no-fuss policy. To qualify for DInamic Fundamental, you can’t have a pre-existing condition and you have to work at least 30 hours a week.
There are several benefits you can choose from to customize your insurance plan. Here are the highlights:
- COBRA premium: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows you to receive $1,000 a month in premiums if you lose your job as the result of a disability. One of the reasons Ameritas is the best rated disability insurance firm is that it gives you the option to keep your health insurance even if you lose your job.
- Non-disabling injury: This benefit covers you for injuries that don't result in disability but require medical treatment.
- Good health: You can waive two days from your waiting period for each year that you don’t receive any monthly disability benefits.
- Presumptive total disability: The entire waiting period is waived in case of certain physical injuries, such as loss of sight or hearing.
- Surgical transplant: If you become completely disabled as a result of donating an organ, your waiting period will be waived.
- Cosmetic surgery: If you become completely disabled as a result of cosmetic surgery, the benefits will become payable after the waiting period expires.
Ameritas is one of the best disability insurance for the self-employed. In addition to built-in benefits, the company also lets you choose various riders to help you further customize its products. Here are some of the riders you can choose from:
- Cost of living adjustment (COLA): This rider is designed to help you keep pace with inflation. Ameritas will give you a 6% compound or 3% simple adjustment.
- Automatic increase rider: This rider increases your monthly benefits by 4% each year over a period of five years.
- Future increase option: You’ll be allowed to increase your coverage without going through the whole underwriting process again. That’s why Ameritas offers the best disability insurance for resident physicians. As you advance your career and your income increases, your coverage becomes better.
- Catastrophic disability: If you can’t perform at least two out of six daily living activities (such as eating and dressing), then Ameritas will pay additional monthly benefits.
- Student loan repayment rider: This rider gives you extra coverage and enables you to pay off your student loans while you’re disabled.
Ameritas offers the best physician disability insurance, but it’s generally a great company that will keep a lot of customers happy. This insurer offers great terms, is financially solid, and provides great in-person experience. The only downside is that you won’t be able to complete the application process online, but if that doesn’t bother you, Ameritas is a good choice.
The Standard ReviewGet a Quote
On Official Website
- • Affordable rates
- • Non-cancellable policy
- • Great for caregivers
One of the best short term disability insurance firms and Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, The Standard works with both individuals and businesses to ensure they get proper coverage no matter their income level. You can find affordable rates and enough customization options to make The Standard’s products suit your needs. However, the thing that really earns The Standard a spot on our list is the fact that this is one of the few companies that provides coverage not only for those who end up disabled, but also those who end up as caregivers to a disabled person. The company offers the best individual disability insurance with great built-in benefits and various riders.
The Standard was chartered in 1906 and has an AM Best rating of A, so customers can rest assured that they’re dealing with a good company that has a solid financial foundation.
Products and Benefits
In addition to standard income protection, the feature that sets The Standard apart is its Family Care Benefit. If someone from your family gets sick or injured and you have to take time off work to care for them, this product will cover you. Besides insurance options for individuals, you can also look at the company’s two business products: Business Overhead Protection and Business Equity Protection. The Overhead pays your share of business-related expenses if you’re unable to work, while the Equity plan helps you fund your business’s buy/sell agreement if one of the owners becomes completely disabled and wants to sell their share in the company.
The Standard is one of the best disability insurance providers because of the built-in features it offers:
- Family care benefits: If a caregiver loses at least 20% of their income because they’re looking after a family member, The Standard will pay them. This benefit isn’t available in New York or California.
- Guaranteed renewable: If you keep up with your monthly premiums, the insurer won’t be able to change your policy.
- Rehabilitation benefit: If you decide to go to rehabilitation, The Standard will pay for at least a portion of the cost.
- Automatic increase benefit: A built-in feature. Your monthly benefits will be increased by 4% each year over a period of five years.
- Presumptive total disability benefit: The entire waiting period is waived in case of certain physical injuries.
With The Standard, you’ll find cheap disability insurance and several options to customize your coverage to suit your needs. Here are some of the riders you can count on:
- Future purchase option: You can buy more coverage once a year without having to provide evidence of insurability.
- Catastrophic disability rider: You’ll enjoy additional benefits if you suffer an injury that prevents you from performing two or more basic daily living activities.
- Indexed cost of living: Your coverage will be increased by 3-6% per year while you’re disabled to keep pace with inflation.
- Non-cancellable: Your monthly premiums will be locked-in for the entire duration of your insurance policy.
- Student loan rider: If you become disabled and can’t work, The Standard will cover at least part of your monthly student loan repayments.
During our disability insurance quote comparison, it became clear that The Standard deserves one of the top spots on our list. This is a trustworthy company with some unique financial products, and it offers great coverage for people who become caregivers to sick or injured family members.
Mutual of Omaha ReviewGet a Quote
On Official Website
- • Great for individuals
- • Both short- and long-term insurance
- • Unique riders
Mutual of Omaha has been around over a century. It’s one of the few companies that offers high-quality private short term disability insurance at affordable rates. It also offers long-term insurance, life insurance, annuities, and health insurance. Mutual of Omaha is one of the oldest companies in America, and it has a long history of successful business dealings and a great track record.
With an AM Best rating of A+, the company has demonstrated its exceptional financial strength. To help its consumers find the best insurance product, Mutual of Omaha provides access to several financial advisors who can quickly be contacted to clarify details and offer tips.
Products and Benefits
Mutual of Omaha offers several built-in features in its insurance policies. These are all useful and fairly straightforward. Indeed, one of the reasons this is the best short term disability insurance for pregnancy is because all the terms are clear and the company is willing to work with future mothers to ensure they get proper coverage all through their pregnancy. Here are some of the standout benefits offered for short-term disability:
- Total disability income: If you get sick or injured and can’t do your job anymore, the company will pay you benefits as long as you aren’t gainfully employed elsewhere.
- Partial disability: If you get sick or injured and can’t do your job more than 50% of your normal day, the company will pay you 50% of your income for up to six months.
- Rehabilitation benefit: If you need to rehabilitate after a sickness or injury, the company will pay for the expense.
- Workers’ compensation: If you become disabled and the disability is covered under state or federal workers’ compensation, employer’s liability, or occupational disease law, Mutual of Omaha will pay you 50% of the short-term disability benefits.
Mutual of Omaha offers just about the best disability income insurance for long-term cases, too:
- Terminal illness benefit: If you become terminally ill while disabled, you’ll have the option to accelerate the first 12 months of your payments.
- Survivor benefit: If you die while disabled, the company will pay a lump sum to your beneficiaries.
- Presumptive total disability: If you lose sight, hearing, speech, or both hands and feet, Mutual of Omaha will waive the waiting period and pay you full benefits regardless of your employment.
The riders are what make Mutual of Omaha arguably the best short term disability insurance company out there. Here are some of the riders you can expect:
- Critical illness: If you’re diagnosed with certain diseases that are specified in the contract, you’ll be paid a lump sum of $25,000.
- Accident medical expense: This rider provides reimbursement for medical expenses you incur after your injury.
- Hospital confinement indemnity: Mutual of Omaha will pay you $500 for each day you’re confined to a hospital and double that if you’re in intensive care.
The riders relating to long-term insurance are similar to those of other companies.
If you want immediate coverage and are willing to accept a smaller benefit period to make premiums more affordable, then Mutual of Omaha will offer you the best short term disability insurance for individuals.
Breeze ReviewGet a Quote
On Official Website
- • Online applications
- • Affordable rates
- • Supplemental disability insurance
Breeze lets you apply for insurance online, which makes it one of the top long term insurance companies. It’s a modern firm that was founded in 2019 and prides itself on being one of the first companies to offer a fully automated, online approach that simplifies the application process for every consumer. Individual long-term plans can be priced as low as $9 per month, and you don’t have to talk to pushy salespeople to get what you want. If you don’t enjoy the traditional process of talking to a sales agent who’s paid on commission, Breeze could be the perfect choice for you.
The company has an AM Best rating of A-, and it’s a young organization that focuses on innovative insurance solutions. It offers the best disability insurance for self employed individuals and it’s very easy to apply.
Products and Benefits
Breeze doesn’t offer short-term insurance, but its long-term insurance offer is great. You can expect plenty of built-in benefits. Here are some of them:
- Home modification: If you need to modify your home as a result of your disability (for example, to add ramps), Breeze will cover it.
- Survivor benefit: If you die after you become disabled and have received benefits for at least 12 months, your beneficiaries will get a check for six times the monthly benefit.
- Vocational rehabilitation: Breeze will pay for vocational rehabilitation to help you get back to work.
- Partial disability: If you’ve been totally disabled for 90 days or for the entire waiting period, Breeze will waive your premium.
- Presumptive disability: If you lose sight, hearing, or limbs, the waiting period will be dismissed.
Great riders are another reason this is one of the best disability insurance companies for individuals. Here are some of the highlights you’ll be able to choose from:
- Residual disability: This rider pays for residual monthly benefits if you are disabled and the waiting period passes.
- Critical illness: If you are diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer, Breeze will cover at least part of your medical costs.
- Supplemental DI: This rider will pay you monthly benefits minus Social Security payments you receive.
- Catastrophic disability: If you become cognitively impaired as a result of your disability, Breeze can help you hire assistance to manage daily tasks.
- Guaranteed insurability: If you buy extra insurance, you’ll be able to raise your monthly benefit.
When buying long term disability insurance, you have to be wary of overly aggressive sales agents who push you to buy insurance products that you might not even need. With Breeze, this isn’t an issue. Everything is done online, so you’re in full control of what you choose to purchase.
Assurity ReviewGet a Quote
On Official Website
- • Good for white-collar occupations
- • Excellent built-in benefits
- • Non-cancellable policy
To show you why this is the best company for disability insurance, we’ll quote Assurity itself: “You don’t get to be over 125 years old by accident.” This is a stable company with a very long history of success, and it will offer you straightforward, traditional disability insurance. While you won’t find short-term insurance here, the company’s long-term products are top shelf.
With an AM Best rating of A-, Assurity’s financial background checks out completely, and you can rest assured that this company will keep providing you with good coverage.
Products and Benefits
Assurity disability insurance is one of the most affordable products you can find. The company primarily offers disability income insurance for individual as its main product, but you can also apply for disability insurance for business owners. You’ll also find the best disability insurance for dentists here. There are several built-in benefits to Assurity’s policies. Here are some of them.
- Home modification: If you end up disabled and need special home modifications to cater to your needs, Assurity will pay for the cost.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If you decide to voluntarily participate in a rehabilitation program, you’ll get an extra benefit from Assurity.
- Presumptive total disability: If you lose your sight, hearing, or limbs, the elimination period will be completely waived and you can immediately start receiving your benefits, regardless of whether you’re employed.
- Waiver of premium: Once your disability claim is approved, monthly premiums are dropped.
- Survivor benefit: Your beneficiaries will get a lump sum if you die during your disability.
While riders can increase your long term disability insurance cost, they are often very useful and can provide a lot of benefits in the long run. Assurity gives you plenty to choose from – let’s highlight just a few:
- Guaranteed insurability: This rider makes it possible to increase your coverage amount once a year to match your income. This is one of the reasons Assurity is a good company for both blue- and white-collar workers.
- Non-cancellable: This rider ensures your premium remains the same no matter what.
- Catastrophic disability benefit: If you end up severely diabled and can’t perform two out of six basic daily living activities, Assurity will pay an extra benefit.
- Critical illness benefit: If you’re diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer, the company will pay an extra benefit. Useful riders such as these are one of the reasons Assurity is on our disability insurance companies list.
If you want affordable rates from a trusted source, then Assurity is a good choice for you. You can talk to an agent to get a disability insurance quote for you. After that, the underwriting process is fairly easy. Choose this option if you want good riders to customize your policy.
Aflac ReviewGet a Quote
On Official Website
- • Good for maternity leave
- • Through your employer
- • Five-year loyalty bonus
Aflac offers the best short term disability insurance through employers. This company is a great choice for customers who want to get coverage through their work. If you opt for Aplac, you can expect affordable rates, transparent conditions, and a straightforward underwriting process.
With an AM Best rating of A+, Aflac has superior financial stability and plenty of satisfied customers behind it. If your employer has chosen this company, you should feel reassured. It’s especially good for female workers because it offers the best short term disability insurance for maternity leave.
Products and Benefits
There are only a couple of benefits available as built-in features of Aflac’s products. The company does not offer long-term insurance, but this means it specializes in short-term options. Expect straightforward, transparent terms and these specific benefits:
- Waiver of premium: If you lose sight, hearing, speech, or your limbs, Aflac will waive premiums for the duration of the benefit. This option is not available for three-month insurance coverage.
- Guaranteed renewable: If you keep paying your premiums regularly, you can renew your policy up to age 75.
There are few riders to choose from, but they’re enough if you need the best short term disability insurance for pregnancy. Here are your options:
- Disability benefit for on-the-job injury: Aflac will pay you benefits if your injury is caused by an already-covered on-the-job injury.
- Aflac value rider: Aflac values loyal customers. To prove this, the company pays $1,000 dollars every five years while the policy is in effect, up to five times in total. If you get any disability claims paid during that period, they will be subtracted.
- Additional units of disability: This rider is simple. It merely lets you purchase more coverage for your current insurance policy.
When we conducted our disability insurance quote comparison, Aflac performed extremely well. You can get excellent coverage with this provider through your employer, and the whole process is very straightforward. Aflac is a strong company with a great financial background, so you can count on it to pay out its claims when you’re in need.
Understanding Disability Insurance — Things to Know Before You Begin
In truth, finding the best disability insurance companies is tricky business because there are many factors to consider. The main thing you need to figure out is the type of disability insurance you need. There are three main types: short-term disability, long-term disability, and Social Security disability insurance.
Let’s review what each of these options entail.
Short term disability insurance
Individual short term disability insurance isn’t available with all insurance companies. It usually provides coverage up to 12 or 24 months and pays up to 80% of your income as you recover. If you injure your back while helping friends move furniture and can’t work for a while, this is the kind of disability insurance you’d need. It often has an elimination period, meaning you need to wait 14 days before you start receiving benefits.
A lot of employers include short-term disability in their coverage, but you’ll have to file a claim on your own. Short-term disability insurance can also be provided through state law — if you work in New York, California, Rhode Island, or New Jersey, this might be available to you. If none of these are an option, then short term disability insurance companies are your best bet.
Long term disability insurance
Long-term disability insurance protects the employee from loss of income in cases where they’re unable to work for prolonged periods of time. This type of insurance usually kicks in after short-term disability ends and the person hasn’t recovered during a period of three to six months. The best long term disability insurance will provide at least 50-70% of your salary during that period. It can last a shorter amount of time (between two and 10 years) or until the employee is 65 years of age.
Insurance companies will take things such as pre-existing conditions and your current state of health into consideration when determining how much you have to pay in monthly premiums.
Social Security disability insurance
Social Security disability insurance is notoriously difficult to apply for in the US. If you’re a legal resident and can prove you have a disability that will last longer than a year or result in death, but can’t afford to purchase insurance on your own, you can try applying for this. However, bear in mind that only about a third of applicants get accepted.
You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but only if you’re between 18 and 65, have never been married, aren’t blind, and haven’t received any SSI benefits in the past. When you compare disability insurance, the one you pick depends mostly on what you need and what you can afford. Most people believe good insurance is out of their reach, but this is simply not the case. Companies on our list offer affordable insurance products that will keep you and your family safe.
What is the best type of disability insurance?
It really depends on what you need. Maybe you need to find the best long term disability insurance for self employed people, or maybe you just need short-term disability insurance to cover you for pregnancy. It also depends on what you can afford, whether you have a history of serious family illnesses, whether you work a risky job, and how much coverage you want.
The two main choices are short- and long-term insurance. The first covers you for a short duration of time as you recover from an illness, while the second can cover you for life. Disability insurance is a good idea for everyone, and the sooner you purchase it, the lower your premiums will be.
How much does disability insurance cost per month?
This depends on your age, gender, occupation, and current state of health. It’s impossible to determine one price for everyone, regardless of which personal disability insurance you apply for. Fortunately, you can always get a quote from sales agents if you contact insurance companies and answer a few questions.
Can you purchase disability insurance?
Yes, you can purchase disability insurance, which means you don’t have to rely on government coverage. You can also find great supplemental disability insurance rates with any of the companies from our list.
What options are there for disability insurance?
There are generally three options to choose from: short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, and Social Security disability insurance.
Short-term disability insurance is usually available through your employer, but you can also purchase it on your own through companies like Mutual of Omaha. It covers you for a period up to two years, and it can be used to cover your income while you’re on maternity leave or pregnancy leave.
Long-term disability insurance is the more common type of insurance product for individuals. It can cover you for as little as one year up until you’re 67 years of age. In case disaster strikes and you can no longer do any kind of job, this coverage could be vital. You can also look into the best own occupation disability insurance. This covers you in case you get disabled but can still work at a job that’s unrelated to your primary occupation.
Social Security disability insurance is also known as workers’ disability. It’s a government program that will pay you monthly benefits if you become disabled before you reach retirement age and aren’t able to work.
How long does disability insurance last?
This depends on whether you pick long- or short-term disability insurance; it can last anywhere from three months or until you’re 67 years of age. The best disability insurance companies will offer you a range of terms and policy lengths to choose from.