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If you are self employed or own your business, have a family or small children you should consider protecting your income with Disability Insurance. Living Benefits provide insurance payments while still living. If you have one of these policies you will receive financial benefits if you are injured and cant work or become critically ill by replacing up to 60% of your income.


Disability insurance replaces your income if you are injured or ill and is usually paid on a tax-free basis. Home and car insurance protect your home and car. Disability insurance protects your income. Disability insurance helps maintain your standard of living when a disabling illness or injury strikes. There are 4 main features of Disability Insurance:


Elimination Period: The elimination period is the number of days you must be disabled before benefits begin. The longer you can wait to receive the check, the cheaper the premium.

Benefit Period: This is the length of time that you will be entitled to receive a monthly benefit. It is prudent to select the longer benefits periods.Disability coverage can last for different lengths of time.If you can build an emergency savings account to last 3 to 6 months (highly advised), you should consider selecting a 90- 180 day elimination period. Plus if you are an employee Employment Insurance payment periods of 17 weeks will be blended into the waiting period.

Monthly Benefit: This is the monthly amount of income that you will receive from your insurer which  is usually between 66 % and 75% of your monthly income.

Own Occupation: Own occupation is defined as a your regular occupation when total disability starts. Most policies use the Total Disability definition: "unable to perform the duties of your regular occupation" and have the Not Working in any other occupation clause removed. This more liberal definition of Total Disability facilitates working in another occupation while on a total disability claim. Many professionals, particularly those whose ability to work is highly dependent on their motor skills (i.e. Surgeon — use of hands), find the enhanced coverage provided by the Own Occupation Rider to be an integral part of their disability income needs.


What are the types of disability insurance?

There are two types of disability policies: Short-Term Disability (STD) and Long-Term Disability (LTD):

  1. Short-Term Disability policies (STD) have a waiting period of 0 to 14 days with a maximum benefit period of no longer than two years.
  2. Long-Term Disability policies (LTD) have a waiting period of several weeks to several months with a maximum benefit period ranging from a few years to the rest of your life.


Disability policies have two different protection features that are important to understand.

  1. Non-cancelable means the policy cannot be canceled by the insurance company, except for nonpayment of premiums. This gives you the right to renew the policy every year without an increase in the premium or a reduction in benefits.
  2. Guaranteed renewable gives you the right to renew the policy with the same benefits and not have the policy canceled by the company. However, your insurer has the right to increase your premiums as long as it does so for all other policyholders in the same rating class as you.


  1. Additional purchase options: Your insurance company gives you the right to buy additional insurance at a later time for an additional cost. 
  2. Coordination of benefits: The amount of benefits you receive from your insurance company is dependent on other benefits you receive because of your disability. Your policy specifies a target amount you will receive from all the policies combined, so this policy will make up the difference not paid by other policies.
  3. Cost of living adjustment (COLA): The COLA increases your disability benefits over time based on the increased cost of living measured by the Consumer Price Index. You will pay a higher premium if you select the COLA.
  4. Residual or partial disability rider: This provision allows you to return to work part-time, collect part of your salary and receive a partial disability payment if you are still partially disabled.
  5. Return of premium: This provision requires the insurance company to refund part of your premium if no claims are made for a specific period of time declared in the policy.
  6. Waiver of premium provision: This clause means that you do not have to pay premiums on the policy after you’re disabled for 90 days.


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