Disability insurance

What is disability insurance? It protects your ability to earn a living. If you get too sick or injured to work, it replaces a portion of your income so you can pay your bills. Disability is more common than you may think: about 5% of working Americans experience a short-term disability each year — and most don’t originate at work, so they aren’t covered by workers' compensation.¹

Runner nursing injury

A history of protecting

Why choose Guardian for disability insurance?

Investopedia named Guardian the Best Overall Disability Insurance Company for 2023 because of our wide range of plans and options to meet the needs of individuals and businesses.² But then again, we’ve been at it for a long time. In fact, Guardian has been helping families protect their financial well-being for over 160 years. With high scores for financial soundness from independent rating agencies,* our 12 million customers can trust us to be there when they need us most.³

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Why every working adult should have disability insurance

What would happen if you were suddenly unable to work and earn an income? Accidents and injuries happen, and we can’t always anticipate if or when we’ll be diagnosed with a serious illness or medical condition. A disability policy can help protect you and your family by providing income to help pay your bills if you can’t collect your normal paycheck.

Disabilities are more common than you may think

While the term “disability” is sometimes applied to catastrophic conditions, such as paralysis from a car accident or a debilitating stroke, it covers far more conditions than you might think. Disabilities are more typically the result of less severe injuries, and people often need disability coverage for more common conditions such as pregnancy, back pain, depression, and digestive disorders.

FAQ

Top questions about disability insurance

The two main types of disability insurance are short-term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance.

Short-term policies provide benefits for a limited period, such as a few weeks or a few months. Payments start after a short waiting period — often one or two weeks. This type of insurance, usually available through an employer, is designed to cover temporary medical conditions or injuries that prevent you from working.

Long-term disability insurance pays for a longer period. Policies differ, but benefits can last several years — even until the disabled person reaches retirement age, or is able to return to work. This type of plan can help you maintain your lifestyle if a more serious or even permanent disability prevents you from earning income for years.

Anyone who relies on their income to support themselves or their family should consider disability insurance. It can help provide financial support if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury that leaves you disabled and unable to earn an income.

While many people get coverage from their employer, self-employed individuals and business owners should also look into getting a policy, as a disability could not only threaten their income but the viability of their business. In addition to protecting your personal income, disability insurance for business owners can help protect the key areas your absence would impact, including:

  • Coverage for business expenses

  • Help protect your ability to pay business loans

  • Protect your firm if your business partner becomes too sick or injured to work

The answer will depend on who pays the premium, and at what point the premium is deducted. If you pay the premium with post-tax dollars, the disability payments will be tax-free, which helps payments go farther. Conversely, if your employer pays the insurance premium, or the premium is paid on a pre-tax basis, the disability benefit may be subject to tax, reducing the benefit amount you receive.

Individual disability insurance can be an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t receive disability coverage through work, including the self-employed.

Contact us or your financial professional to get an answer (usually, it is based on birth sex).

The two main types of disability insurance are short-term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance.

Short-term policies provide benefits for a limited period, such as a few weeks or a few months. Payments start after a short waiting period — often one or two weeks. This type of insurance, usually available through an employer, is designed to cover temporary medical conditions or injuries that prevent you from working.

Long-term disability insurance pays for a longer period. Policies differ, but benefits can last several years — even until the disabled person reaches retirement age, or is able to return to work. This type of plan can help you maintain your lifestyle if a more serious or even permanent disability prevents you from earning income for years.

Anyone who relies on their income to support themselves or their family should consider disability insurance. It can help provide financial support if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury that leaves you disabled and unable to earn an income.

While many people get coverage from their employer, self-employed individuals and business owners should also look into getting a policy, as a disability could not only threaten their income but the viability of their business. In addition to protecting your personal income, disability insurance for business owners can help protect the key areas your absence would impact, including:

  • Coverage for business expenses

  • Help protect your ability to pay business loans

  • Protect your firm if your business partner becomes too sick or injured to work

The answer will depend on who pays the premium, and at what point the premium is deducted. If you pay the premium with post-tax dollars, the disability payments will be tax-free, which helps payments go farther. Conversely, if your employer pays the insurance premium, or the premium is paid on a pre-tax basis, the disability benefit may be subject to tax, reducing the benefit amount you receive.

Individual disability insurance can be an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t receive disability coverage through work, including the self-employed.

Contact us or your financial professional to get an answer (usually, it is based on birth sex).

Being disabled doesn’t mean unable

Meet Dr. Feranmi Okanlami. After suffering an unexpected accident, his disability insurance helped him continue to pursue his dream, while also opening up new avenues for him to find success. Watch his story to find out more.

Income protection supports financial wellness

Around 5% of working Americans a year will experience a short-term disability leave due to a pregnancy, injury, or illness.⁴ The truth is that people of all ages, demographics, and professions have roughly the same potential to experience an income-disrupting injury or illness. More than 25% of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to become disabled and be out of work for at least a year during their career.⁵

  • Man planking doing physical therapy

    First, look at your income needs to help determine what your monthly benefit payout should be. If you have disability insurance through your job, see if it’s enough. Workplace plans generally reimburse around 40 to 60% of your pre-disability salary — but the benefit may be taxable if the employer pays premiums. Find out how premiums are paid and if needed, account for taxes to see what your net benefit would be. A supplemental disability insurance plan, either obtained through work or on your own, can cover a part of your income that group insurance may not. Or, if you don’t have workplace coverage, consider getting an individual disability plan for the amount you need. These plans are usually paid with after-tax dollars, so the benefit is typically not taxed.

Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice.

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

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

Guardian’s Group Disability Insurance is underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs. Generic Policy Form #s GP-1-STD-15; GP-1-LTD-15. The state approved form is the governing document. For NY, the Policy Form # is GP-1-DI-12R-NY.

For Guardian’s Group Disability Insurance, this advertising content is not currently intended for anyone in the state of New Mexico.

Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.

*Ratings are as of 2022 and are subject to change.

1Disability Statistics; Chance of Becoming Disabled - DisabilityCanHappen.org

2https://www.investopedia.com/best-disability-insurance-5071119

3https://www.guardianlife.com/financial-highlights

4Council for Disability Awareness, Chances of Disability, 2021

5Ibid.

Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice.

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

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

Guardian’s Group Disability Insurance is underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs. Generic Policy Form #s GP-1-STD-15; GP-1-LTD-15. The state approved form is the governing document. For NY, the Policy Form # is GP-1-DI-12R-NY.

For Guardian’s Group Disability Insurance, this advertising content is not currently intended for anyone in the state of New Mexico.

Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.

*Ratings are as of 2022 and are subject to change.

1Disability Statistics; Chance of Becoming Disabled - DisabilityCanHappen.org

2https://www.investopedia.com/best-disability-insurance-5071119

3https://www.guardianlife.com/financial-highlights

4Council for Disability Awareness, Chances of Disability, 2021

5Ibid.