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What is Disability Income Insurance?



People often ask: What is disability income insurance? One myth about disability income insurance (or, simply – disability insurance) is that it is only for rare, catastrophic accidents. In reality, many rely on these policies to cover the income they’ve lost due to relatively common conditions such as heart disease and arthritis. Learn how disability insurance works – protect yourself and your business.

Types We Offer

What it is


Who it's Best for

Individual Disability Insurance

  • Replaces income if you’re too sick or injured to work.
  • Can supplement long-term disability coverage that you may have through your employer.
  • Replaces a percentage of base salary and regular bonus or incentive income.
  • Can cover retirement contributions and student loan payments.
  • When you pay for this individual coverage with after-tax dollars, any benefit payments you receive are tax free.
  • Your policy belongs to you even if you change jobs.
  • You or your family relies on your income.
  • You are a high-earning individual who needs more income protection than the coverage offered by your employer.
  • You don’t have any disability insurance through work. 

Small Business Protection

  • As a small business owner, different types of disability insurance can help protect your business if you can’t work as a result of an injury or illness.  
  • Provides several options to help your business continue meeting its daily expenses – including employees’ salaries.
  • Offers funding to buy out a partner who can’t work due to illness or injury.
  • Continues payment of business loans.
  • You’re a small business owner who wants to be certain your business can keep running if you become unable to work due to illness or injury.

Basic Disability Offered by Employer

  • Replaces baseline income if you’re too ill or injured to work.
  • Provides a good foundation for income protection – typically safeguards from 40% to 60% of your base salary after taxes.
  • Your employer provides this coverage. Basic coverage protects about half of your income.

Supplemental Individual Disability Income Insurance

  • Extra coverage that your employer can offer on top of the base long-term disability insurance they may already offer you.
  • Can help you protect more of your base salary as well as different types of income like bonuses and incentive compensation.  
  • You own the policy, even if you change jobs.
  • No medical exam is required, making it an easy option.
  • Your employer offers this coverage and you want to safeguard more of your income.
  • Most of your income is derived from bonus or commissions.

Disability Income Insurance Calculator

How Much Does It Cost to Protect Your Income?

Use this calculator to estimate the monthly cost of disability income insurance in less than one minute!


Every day, people are required to face the unexpected. If you can’t work because of an illness or injury, disability income insurance helps replace a portion of your income. It lets you focus on your recovery instead of worrying about your finances.

More About Individual Disability Insurance

Disability Income Protection For Physicians

As a leading provider of income protection for physicians, Guardian is attuned to your unique needs. That's why we've enhanced our True Own-Occupation disability insurance to provide more ways to qualify for benefits. You can choose whether or not to work in another occupation and still receive full benefits. 

More About Physician Disability Insurance


You probably think about your business 24/7. Have you stopped to consider what might happen to it if you had a serious illness or injury that prevented you from working? Guardian has products that will protect your business during your absence in any number of ways, from your company’s cash flow to your personal income. 

More About Small Business Protection
Supplemental_Disability_Insurance _Man_With_Daughter


Chances are the basic disability benefits offered through your employer might cover 60% of your income at best. The rest would come out of your pocket. Supplemental disability insurance is comprehensive, covering you where other plans may leave off. An accident or illness does not necessarily have to be a financial catastrophe.

More About Supplemental Disability Insurance

Resources and Information

Is Your Income Properly Protected?

How to make sure the life you’ve created would be secure if you weren’t able to work.

Watch Video

Dealing with the Unexpected

Unexpected medical problems can get in the way of working and earning an income. See how these families relied on their financial representatives and individual disability income insurance from Guardian to make sure they had the coverage they need to continue living their lives.



Protecting What Matters


Forward-looking financial planning helped Dr. Tullos and his family focus on the things that really matter.

Disability Income Protection: What Are Your Options?

Learn about the different types of disability insurance and get answers to important questions. 

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Insurance is about keeping your life on track and making progress, no matter what occurs. Find out why a few common misconceptions about disability income insurance leave people unprepared.

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Individual disability income products underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, MA, a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, or provided by Guardian.  Product provisions and availability may vary by state. Optional riders are available for an additional premium.

This website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax or legal advice.  Please contact your tax or legal advisor regarding the tax treatment of the policy and policy benefits.  You should consult with your own independent tax and legal advisors regarding your particular set of facts and circumstances.  The information provided is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be relied upon, to avoid penalties imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or state and local tax law provisions.

The chart above provides a general description of different types of disability insurance commonly sold today. The description of these products and features is not specific to products issued or administered by The Guardian Life Insurance of America through its subsidiary Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America. Consult with your insurance advisor concerning the underwriting requirements and product features of any policy you are considering purchasing.

This material is intended for general public use. By providing this material, Guardian is not undertaking to provide investment advice for any specific individual or situation, or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity. Please contact a financial professional for guidance and information specific to your individual situation.