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Life and Disability Insurance - my experience

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    Life and Disability Insurance - my experience

    Hi everyone, there isn't a lot of info on these subjects so I am posting my experience. I was looking to get term life and long term disability insurance policies as a mid-40s T12 paraplegic who recently had a child (yay!):

    1. Basic life insurance through employer - most have 100k or more through this. It's guaranteed issue so better than nothing.

    2. Supplemental life insurance through employer - this is inexpensive group life insurance available from most employers. I recommend applying for it up to the limit before you have to send an EOI. This "Evidence of Insurability" would require you to disclose your spinal cord injury. I just applied during open enrollment in November and believe have been approved (fingers crossed).

    3. Supplemental life insurance through a 3rd party insurer- the issue with employer insurance is it isn't portable if you change jobs and benefits change. So I have applied for 500k of term life insurance through a broker.

    a) you can do a "no-exam" policy through certain insurance, but its more expensive, for smaller limits, and can still be ultimately denied for our condition
    b) medical records from my spinal cord rehab doctor and rheumatologist were pulled (most of us have osteopenia).
    c) the medical exam was just blood, urine, and a few questions. she asked when I was paralyzed and how.
    d) I have received preliminary pricing, but the insurers are requiring additional information so haven't been approved yet
    e) pricing is at Standard Table H (out of J) - so expensive. 500k,10 year term life may be around $2600 per year (if I'm approved at all). It's expensive because of egress difficulty in an emergency.

    4. Long term disability insurance through employer. This sounds ironic, but is probably more helpful than life insurance. It pays 60% of your salary if you are approved but requires an EOI. I was denied coverage because of my "Paraplegia" condition. Short and sweet!

    I'll update this thread with my final life insurance results but hope this is helpful!

    I think I have some life insurance through my employer, but I don't really care about it as I have no dependents.

    When it comes to disability insurance, I was lucky enough to be able to get a policy that I could take with me during my training. I'm a physician and during residency my employer provided a small amount of disability through Guardian, but guardian allowed us to buy into this policy (own occupation insurance, so if I can't do my job for any disability reason it kicks in) with increased limits upon the completion of our training with no medical exam. Obviously as soon as I found this out I jumped on it. I figure there is zero chance of getting another disability policy on any kind of open market.

    It's a lot of piece of mind as I can change jobs without worrying about losing it, and if for some reason my shoulders go out or I develop a nasty pressure sore or whatever, it kicks in and is in place until I'm 65.

    I highly recommend that anyone in any kind of professional training or school see if any of your schools/professional organizations have group disability or life insurance policies you can buy into without a medical exam.

    Also just FYI one of the questions that I had to answer "no" to in order to be eligible for my disability policy was "have you ever applied for and been denied a disability insurance policy". So if you're a young person with SCI hoping to get a private disability policy, shopping around might actually disqualify you buying in to future group policies. Luckily I'd never applied for private disability before.


    • Oddity
      Oddity commented
      Editing a comment
      That is precisely how I got my LTD benefits. Bought farther into a plan offered by my employer. Bought in at 30, hurt at 35, 60% salary benefit, tax free, until 65.

      (Buying the extra coverage, using post-tax dollars, instead of as a pre-tax deduction "benefit" does 2 things: it made it tax free and immune to Social Security deductions. That's a big deal, IMO, and a HUGE reason to buy LtD out of pocket rather than pre-tax or through just the employer group plan.)

    • funklab
      funklab commented
      Editing a comment
      My current employer also has a (pretax) disability plan that I am on, but I don't count on that because who knows how long I'll be with this employer and I don't want to risk not having it if/when I find a new job. So much more freedom and peace of mind to know I can take my plan with me.

    I had long term disability through my employer. Our finance director had put together a good insurance package and it was included in our benefits. I was 20 years post injury when we had expanded our benefits.
    LTD turned out to be a life saver when I had some significant health issues two years later.
    (60% salary) I would advise anyone to pick it up if available/ offered.