By Dan Zottoli, Director of Sales – Atlantic Coast, FDA Services Inc.
Choosing the right personal disability insurance policy is one of the most important decisions you will make. So much time, money and effort was spent preparing for your dental career. What if you became ill or injured, and could no longer work in your chosen profession? This question is the basis for the decision and the very reason for the need for personal disability insurance. Now that you have come to the conclusion that you need a policy, what policy do you buy?
I always say that the “devil is in the details” with personal disability insurance. Two policies may appear to be similar at first glance, but will have very different paths should a claim arise. One of the most important aspects of a personal disability insurance policy is the definition of disability. This definition will tell the policy when you are disabled (to them) and under what circumstances the insurance company should pay a benefit. The most comprehensive definition will read as follows (with small variations from company to company):
1. You are considered disabled if, based upon illness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own occupation.
This definition, referred to as “own-occupation,” is the most desired definition and obviously the most liberal. A disabled dentist that meets the requirements set forth in the above definition can return to work in another occupation and still receive their check from the disability insurance carrier. Now, here comes the “devil of details” — some companies will promote their policy as “own-occupation,” when it reads as follows:
2. You are considered disabled if, based upon illness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own occupation AND are not gainfully employed.
3. You are considered disabled if, based upon illness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own occupation DURING the regular occupation period.
The word “AND” in the second definition above is substantial. This type of definition essentially states that you will not receive a benefit if you go back to work in any occupation. The term “regular occupation period” in the third definition above will specify how long they will honor the “own-occupation” language. When the regular occupation period ends, the policy will base your qualification for benefits on what you can do based upon your education, skills or experience.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when looking at personal disability insurance. The most important factor is finding the right agent to assist that can explain and clarify the details of each company. The FDA Services’ experienced staff is ready to get to work for you. For more information, contact FDA Services at 800.877.7597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.