Harlan Still & Koch

Do I need short-term or long-term disability insurance?

Living with a disability is difficult enough without having to navigate the complexities of insurance. One of the most important but confusing aspects of disability insurance is short-term versus long-term disability. What do they mean, and which one should you select?

In this post, we will discuss the major differences between them so that you can make the decision that is best for you.

Short-term vs. long-term disability

If you experience an injury or an illness, disability insurance can provide coverage if you can no longer work. The two major types of disability insurance are those for short-term or long-term disabilities.

  • Short-term disability refers to injuries that will last only a few days, weeks or months. Think broken arms or legs, a surgical procedure that will take some recovery time, digestive disorders or even pregnancy. This type of insurance kicks in fairly quickly after a disability.
  • Long-term disability is for conditions that have a long period of recovery, including back injuries, traumatic brain injuries or cancer. Generally, long-term policies take effect after you exhaust a waiting period—usually three to six months. Long-term disability insurance will also pay out for a longer time—sometimes a few years, sometimes until you retire.

Which do I need?

Short-term and long-term insurance are not mutually exclusive. Usually, your short-term insurance will cover you until your long-term insurance kicks in. If you have paid time off and enough savings to cover your expenses in an emergency, then you may not need short-term disability. However, many disabled Americans need assistance from insurance payments to cover their basic expenses, in addition to medical bills.

What if I am denied coverage?

Unfortunately, some employers and insurers try to avoid paying benefits, even when a loyal employee or customer becomes disabled. You may find yourself in a tight spot if your insurer or employer denies you coverage. Don’t give up: consider your options, seek support and continue pursuing the benefits you deserve.

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Harlan Still & Koch

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Suite 300
Columbia, MO 65201

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