Disability insurance is a complex product. Buying disability insurance online is possible and is happening more each day. However, there are a few key factors to look for when purchasing an insurance product through a website or over the phone. If you have questions or would like a quote on a disability insurance policy, please contact us today.
Buying Disability Insurance Online
Today there isn’t much you can’t buy online. From household supplies to high-end vehicles, almost everything is available to search, shop, and purchase through the internet, all from the comfort of your living room. Buying disability insurance online is accessible as well.
We also manage a lot of our financial lives through our web browsers. We bank, invest, monitor credit, and perform a myriad of tasks from our computers. Life insurance, especially term insurance, is being purchased online more than ever before. However, what about more complex products, can they be bought online too?
With a few caveats…
Do Your Homework
There is a ton of information online about disability insurance in general. Do you need short-term disability insurance or long-term disability insurance (or both)? Do you have a group plan and if so, what does it cover? What are your spending habits and what do you need your paycheck protection (disability insurance) to do?
This is important because when you start actually looking at policies, you’ll be able to know what they do and if the recommendations that you’re receiving are appropriate for your situation.
If you’re going to buy your disability insurance online, build a framework of understanding first so that you’re not starting from square one.
Communicate With Your Agent
It is very rare that a client comes through one of my websites knowing exactly what they want. The “secret sauce” in disability insurance is the product design. Because there are so many moving parts in a disability insurance policy, the agent shopping for your plan must understand what you’re looking for, what concerns you, and ultimately, your goals.
For instance, maybe your lifestyle is relatively simple, so you only need a very basic benefit amount. However, you have student loans that need to be paid off, and you’re mainly worried about a disability lasting longer than one year (the average disability lasts for 34.6 months SOURCE) since that would exhaust your savings.
With that understanding, your agent could design a policy to address those specific objectives which could theoretically be accomplished through detailed emails.
When buying disability insurance online, make sure you’re communicating with your agent about the policy you want.
Make Sure Your Agent Is Independent
Just as there is no perfect disability insurance policy for everyone, there is also no perfect disability insurance carrier.
There are a small number of companies that actually write individual disability insurance. Because of this, it is imperative to make sure your agent is shopping all of the major carriers for the policy that fits your needs. If an agent only represents one company, it presents two problems. First, you might be missing out on premium discounts, occupational upgrades, and special policy designs (like graded premiums or useful riders) that other companies offer for your situation. Second, if you run into an underwriting issue (financial, medical, etc.) it will be very difficult to move you to another carrier – if that’s even an option at all.
If the first result of your search for buying disability insurance online is an insurance company, keep looking. Working with an independent agent will help ensure that you’ve explored all of your options.
If you get it right, this should be a decision that you’ll only have to make once in your life. An individual disability insurance policy is portable, which means it moves from career to career with you. Using riders like a future purchase option, your policy can also grow in benefit amount as your income grows. Finally, most individual policies are guaranteed renewable, meaning the insurance company can’t change your benefits or cancel your policy.
So, take your time. Do your research on the person, website, or agency from whom you’re considering buying a policy. Work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and doesn’t pressure you into buying right away. Make sure your agent is educating you along the way. The ultimate decision on what you purchase is up to you.
Unlike a lot of web-based transactions, buying disability insurance online is not instantaneous. Once you feel comfortable in your knowledge and select a policy that aligns with your goals, the process is only partially complete.
You’ll have to complete an eApp, which can be expedited through a brief phone conversation. For most coverage amounts, you must complete a medical exam (done in your home wherever you choose), provide financial documentation (in tax returns and pay stubs) and finally, the carrier will likely want to review your doctor records.
At some lower coverage amounts, some or all of these requirements could be waived.
The entire process can take around 4-8 weeks. However, this should be the only time that you’ll have to buy a disability insurance policy, so once you’re covered, you’ll have it until normal retirement age. Be patient with the process, and you’ll have your policy before you know it.
Buying disability insurance online need not be intimidating or difficult. Do your homework, communicate with your independent agent, don’t rush, and be patient. I am happy to offer any guidance or information on disability insurance you need. You can request a quote or just call me if you’d like to discuss your situation.