Use this checklist to compare features of the policies you are considering.

Company name ___________________________

Telephone _______________________________

Definition of Disability

How does this policy define disability? Can you receive benefits if you are unable to perform the major duties of your own occupation, but could still complete the duties of another line of work?

________ Yes ________ No

How long can benefits be collected under this definition? ________

Do you have to be unable to complete the duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified by training, experience, and education before you receive benefits?

________ Yes ________ No

How long can benefits be collected under this definition? ________

Will the policy pay benefits if you are unable to earn a specified percentage of your salary?
________ Yes ________ No

What is the percentage? ________

Must you meet two or more of the definitions, for specific periods of time, before you collect benefits?

________ Yes ________ No

Benefit Amount

Is the benefit from this policy a percentage of your regular income or a flat amount?

________ Percentage of income at ________ percent

________ Flat amount of $________ per ________
(Policies that pay a flat benefit amount each month are common.)

Elimination Period

Although some policies pay benefits immediately after the insured suffers a disability, most policies have a waiting, or elimination, period. Elimination periods can last six months or longer. The shorter the elimination period, the more costly the policy.

Considering all the resources you may havesuch as a spouses income, emergency savings, unused sick leave, and vacation - how long can you wait before your benefits begin?

________ Less than one month
________ Three to six months
________ Longer than six months

How long is the elimination period in this policy? ________

Length of Benefit Period

Policies generally pay benefits until retirement age for most disabilities, but shorter benefit periods are available at lower cost.

How long does this policy pay benefits? ________

Benefits for Partial Disability

Some policies provide benefits when you have a partial disability that keeps you from doing part of your job or working full time.

Does this policy provide benefits for partial disability?

________ Yes ________ No

Replacing Lost Income

Some policies provide a benefit to make up for your loss in income if you must take a lower-paying job because of your disability.

Does this policy provide benefits if your disability results in reduced income?

________ Yes ________ No


Some policies have return-to-work or rehabilitation provisions that enable the insurer to pay for training, modifications to your work environment, or other services that assist you in returning to work.

Does this policy have a return-to-work or rehabilitation provision? __________
(If a return-to-work policy provision is not listed, ask for the insurer's practice in this area.)

Recurrent Disability

Most policies don't require you to wait before receiving benefits if you go back to work after recovering from a disability and have a relapse within a specified period, such as six months.

Does this policy require you to wait through an elimination period to receive benefits in the case of a recurrent disability?

________ Yes ________ No

Cost-of-Living Adjustments

A cost-of-living adjustment benefit provides for periodic increases in the amount paid to the insured, usually corresponding to increases in the cost of living.

Does the policy provide this benefit? ________

Mental Health/Substance Abuse

Policies usually pay benefits for a maximum of two years in the case of disabilities resulting from mental health problems or substance abuse. However, these limits usually don't apply when substance abuse or mental health problems require institutionalization.

How long does this policy pay benefits for disabilities resulting from mental health problems or substance abuse? ________

Noncancellable and Guaranteed Renewable

Two types of individual policies are most common: noncancellable and guaranteed renewable. Both types can usually be renewed until age 65, and neither can be canceled by the insurer as long as the premiums are paid. Under a noncancellable policy, premiums can never be increased. With a guaranteed renewable policy, premiums cannot be raised based on an individual's circumstances, but they can be increased for an entire class of policyholders.

Is this policy noncancellable? ________
Or guaranteed renewable? ________