Our list below represents the current companies that we favor for individual disability income insurance. The list is alphabetical because there is no one-size-fits-all company. Any one of the below companies (among others) might be the best company for your particular need and goals.The private disability insurance companies list is comprised of insurers offering the best short term disability insurance or best long term disability insurance.
Best Disability Insurance Companies
- Guardian Life
- Illinois Mutual
- Mutual of Omaha
- Ohio National
- Principal Financial Group
- The Standard
|Provider||A.M. Best Rating|
|Guardian Life||A++||Compare Quotes|
|Illinois Mutual||A-||Compare Quotes|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+||Compare Quotes|
|Ohio National||A+||Learn More|
|Peterson International Underwriters (PIU)||–||Compare Quotes|
|Principal Financial Group||A+||Compare Quotes|
|The Standard||A||Compare Quotes|
Table created using information at AMBest.com. Data as of 12/4/2019.
Ameritas’s DInamic Foundation offers several different options, including own occupation, noncancelable disability insurance policies. The maximum benefit period on its long term disability insurance is to age 70. Ameritas also offers a longer elimination period, extending out to 730 days if desired. Finally, Specialty Own Occupation language is included for physicians and dentist.
For more, please see our Ameritas review.
Assurity offers several different policies, including individual disability income insurance, business overhead expense disability income insurance, simplified disability income insurance and graded benefit disability income insurance. Depending on the industry, Assurity is often one of the best companies that provides disability insurance for self employed individuals.
Simplified Disability Income Insurance snapshot:
- Available for ages 18 to 59.
- Two occupational classes available.
- Benefit amount range from $300-$3,000
- Elimination period from 30, 60, 90 to 180 days
- Simplified underwriting: Phone inspection, MIB and Prescription database check
For more, please see our Assurity review.
If the thought of going through an extensive underwriting process feels overwhelming for what you need, then you might want to consider Breeze.
Breeze is the first of its kind in the world of disability insurance because you can get a quote online, apply online, qualify online—you get the point. The best part is that Breeze’s rates are fairly competitive too. In short, if you’re looking for a simple, no-frills disability insurance option to prep for a rainy day, Breeze might be the right option for you.
Guardian offers four specific disability insurance policies underwritten and issued by its subsidiary, Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America. You can choose between individual disability insurance, disability insurance for business owners, group disability insurance and supplementary disability insurance.
Provider Plus is an individual long term disability insurance policy offered by Guardian. It provides a true own occupation definition of total disability that may allow you to work in another occupation and still receive benefits. Depending on your occupational class, you can choose benefit periods of 2, 5, 10 to age 65 or to age 67.
Optional Student Loan Protection Rider is also available. The disability benefit rider is available for any occupations and provides up to $2,000 a month income replacement to pay your student loans.
The ProVider Plus is a great option for key person disability insurance due to Guardian Life’s focus on providing one of the best DI policies for executives.
For more, please see our Guardian Life review.
Illinois Mutual’s individual disability income insurance policy is known as Personal Paycheck Power. The product is guaranteed renewable to age 67 and conditionally renewable to age 75. Additional cost of living adjustment (COLA) rider, which increases the base benefit payment amount, is available with 5 Year, 10 Year, and To Age 67 benefit periods. The policy also offers an option to age 67 Own Occupation extension rider.
For more, please see our Illinois Mutual review.
You can find just about any type of insurance through PIU. We like PIU for two specific niche areas. One niche PIU fills with is the area of high value disability income insurance, particularly for business owners who want to fund a buy sell agreement with disability insurance.
Another niche is that PIU can insure just about anyone if the price is right. So if you have been previously turned down for disability insurance due to a pre-existing condition, PIU may just be what the doctor ordered, no pun intended.
MassMutual is one of the best disability insurance companies for high income earners. The Company’s Radius Executive Select Program offers level premiums, portability and non-cancelable disability insurance coverage for high income execuives. With minimum income requirements of $800,000 and maximum monthly benefit amounts of up to $50,000 income tax free, you can see why MassMutual needs to be considered when researching the right disability coverage for your company’s executives.
MassMutual also offers Radius disability income insurance for most occupational classes. Radius is non-cancelable, guaranteed renewable to age 65 and conditionally renewable to age 75. Elimination periods available from 60, 90, 180, 365 and 730 days based on your state. Benefit periods range from 5 Year, 10 Year, to Age 65 and To Age 67.
For more, please see our MassMutual review.
Mutual of Omaha offers an accident only policy, short term disability insurance and long term disability insurance. It is definitely one of the best short term disability insurance companies for self employed individuals. Consider a short-term disability policy if you don’t have an existing group policy so that you can avoid tapping into any cash reserves or piling up debt through credit cards.
Short Term Disability Income Insurance snapshot:
- Available for ages 18-61
- Elimination period for accident/sickness 0/7, 7, 0/14, 14, 30, 60 or 90 days
- 3, 6, 12, or 24 month disability benefit periods available
- $5,000 maximum monthly base benefit amount
- Guaranteed renewable to age 67; conditionally renewable to age 75, which is beneficial for anyone considering disability insurance long term.
- Most occupation classes accepted
For more, please see our Mutual of Omaha review.
Ohio National is one of the top individual disability income insurance companies. Ohio National’s ContinuOn Income Solutions offering is focused on small business owners and individuals. You can choose from the following policies: non-cancellable, business overhead expense, disability buy sell policy and guaranteed renewable policy.
Non-Cancellable Policy snapshot:
- Non-Cancellable and Guaranteed Renewable to age 65, to age 67 or to age 70
- Maximum benefits of up to $30,000 with other individual disability insurance.
- Benefit periods of 2 years; 5 years; 10 years; to age 65; to age 67 or to age 70
Removal of Mental Disorder/Substance Abuse Limitation Rider: removes the on disabilities from mental disorders or substance abuse issues, extending benefits for the entire duration of the benefit period.
For more, please see our Ohio National review.
Principal Financial is a top disability insurance company providing solutions for individuals and business owners. Among the different product offerings is its Individual Disability Income Insurance Policy. Depending on the benefit amount you need, you can get simplified underwriting on benefit amounts up to $4,000.
Individual Disability Income Insurance Policy snapshot:
- Available for ages 18-60
- All occupation classes available
- Benefit periods available are 2 years, 5 years, to Age 65, to Age 67, or to Age 70.
- Benefit maximum: Up to $20,000 per month issue limit; up to $30,000 per month participation limit with other disability coverage
- Additional disability income insurance riders are available to for maximum customization.
For more, please see our Principal Financial Group review.
The Standard offers three different policies covering Income Protection, Business Protection and Guaranteed Standard Issue. Let’s take a closer look at the Company’s income protection LTD insurance policy.
For more, please see our The Standard review.
How Individual Disability Income Insurance Works
There are a handful of questions you need to ask yourself when considering whether or not individual disability insurance is for you:
- Do I Need DI Insurance?
- Can I Get DI Insurance?
- What are the Features of DI Insurance?
- What Type of DI Insurance Do I need?
- What DI Company is Best for me?
- How Do I Get Started?
The first step is to consider whether or not you need disability income insurance. Some things to consider would be, do you have dependents that rely on your income? Do you have a plan in place if you become disabled to cover your bills, including your mortgage, auto loan, insurance policies, credit card bills, etc.?
According to statistics, a 20 year old has a 25% chance of becoming disabled by the time they retire. According to census.gov, 1 in 5 Americans have a disability. Of people in the U.S. with disabilities, over half are ages 18-64.
A disability can lead to financial disaster. You can lose your home, your vehicles, your livelihood, your family. But despite the fact that you have a higher likelihood of disability while you are young, most people only focus on term life insurance.
If you are an employee that has a group disability insurance policy through your employer you may need to consider getting a supplemental disability insurance policy that you own personally. Many times employer based disability insurance policies do not provide enough benefits or the definitions used are too restrictive.
There are different types of disability insurance policies. The best disability income insurance policies require at least some underwriting. In particular, if you want the best disability insurance quotes possible, you will want to choose a fully underwritten policy, rather than simplified issue or graded benefit disability income insurance.
The best disability insurance companies may require any and all of the following information on a fully underwritten disability insurance policy. If you want disability insurance coverage, be prepared to supply some or all of the information below.
- Personal Information: Name, gender, date of birth, address, occupation, income, dependent status, etc.
- Pre-Existing Conditions: Any pre-existing medical conditions or lifestyle choices that may be considered high risk, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, tobacco use, high risk hobbies, etc.
- Background Check: The insurance company will normally do a background check into the MIB Medical Information Bureau, Prescription Database and MVR records to verify your health status and if you have existing disability insurance policies.
- Individual Insurance: In order to make sure you are not over-insured, the disability insurance company will inquire into any individually owned life, health and disability income insurance including who the coverage is with, how much coverage you have, and who the beneficiaries are.
- Liabilities: What are your monthly expenses such as food, rent, bills, etc.
- Business Information: What is your business address, your earned income, explain your specific occupational duties, any employee benefits, such as health insurance, group life insurance, pensions, sick pay, etc.
- Other Assets: How much is in your savings, any investments and any passive income.
- Statutory Benefits: The disability insurance company you apply with may want to know if you are eligible for workers compensation, social security disability insurance, or other types of statutory benefits.
Your occupation is probably the #1 factor in determining your eligibility. There are many occupations that are excluded from fully underwritten policies. The higher your occupational class rating, the better benefits you will qualify for. The main concern for disability insurance providers is how much manual labor you perform, how much travel you engage in and how hazardous the environment you work in.
Depending on the disability issuance carrier, the occupational classes are broken down as follows:
- Class 6: Business Professionals, Executives (Most favorable)
- Class 5: Business Professionals, Executives
- Class 4: Professionals and Certain White Collar Occupations
- Class 3: Occupations with Minimal Environmental Hazards
- Class 2: Occupations requiring Light physical exertion, Moderate travel
- Class 1: Occupations requiring moderate physical exertion, moderate contact with hazardous environments
- Substandard Class: Occupations with moderate to heavy physical labor and significant exposure to workplace hazards.
- Uninsurable Class: Occupations with excessive exposure to hazardous workplaces
Note: Some carriers provide alternative categories for specific occupations, such as physicians.
The following table provides examples of what a disability insurance company may offer for the maximum benefit amount and maximum benefit period based on occupational class. This is for informational purposes only and does not reflect what actual disability income providers may offer.
|Occupation Class||Maximum Benefit Period||Maximum Benefit Amount|
|Class 2||To Age 65||$15,000|
|Class 1||5 Years||$10,000|
When considering disability income insurance it helps to have an understanding of the following terms:
- Elimination Period
- Benefit Amount
- Benefit Period
- Guaranteed Renewable
- Own Occupation
- Any Occupation
- Total Disability
- Partial Disability
The elimination period is the wait period that must pass from the time you receive treatment. Once you file a disability insurance claim and before you can begin to receive your monthly benefit amount, you must wait out the elimination period.
The benefit amount represents the amount of money you will receive upon the end of the elimination period.
The disability insurance benefit period is the time your benefit amount will be paid. Benefit periods vary based on the type of policy, but generally range from 3 to 12 months on short term policies and 2, 5 10 years, to age 65 or 67, up to lifetime benefits on long term policies.
Guaranteed renewable means you have the right to continue your coverage for the agreed on coverage end date.
A policy that is noncancelable protects you from the insurance provider raising your premiums during the life of the policy.
The definition of total disability depends on whether or not you have an “own occupation” or “any occupation” disability definition. The primary criteria for both is your inability to perform the substantial and material duties of your own occupation or any occupation. Some companies also require you to receive medical care, unless your disability is considered presumptive.
If you can work under the any occupation disability definition or own-occupation disability definition, but for less money than prior to your disability, the insurer will typically pay you a decreased proportional amount to help make you “whole” compared to where you were financially before the disability.
Own occupation definition of disability means you cannot perform the substantial and material duties of your own occupation. This is a more narrow definition than any occupation and allows you to work in another job and still receive benefits if you are not capable of working in your true own occupation.
Any occupation definition of disability means you cannot perform the substantial and material duties of any gainful employment.
There are three primary types of disability income insurance: accident, short term and long term.
There are four different policies you can choose: fully underwritten, simplified issue, graded benefit and guaranteed issue.
As you can probably tell, there are a lot of variables that go into the ideal disability insurance policy. And there are a lot of different disability insurance companies to choose from. In addition, you also need to be aware of the different disability insurance riders available.
Disability Income Insurance Riders
Own-Occupation Disability Definition Rider: A valuable rider if you want to extend the true own occupation total disability definition to a longer period than offered in the base policy.
Automatic Benefit Increase (Enhancer) Rider: A typically free rider offered by some companies which increases the monthly benefit after benefits have been paid for a year, up to an increase of 5 years or more.
Guaranteed Insurability Rider: allows you to raise your disability policy benefit amount by buying additional amounts of coverage without requiring evidence of insurability.
Return of Premium Benefit Rider: Assuming you do not become disabled, this rider allows you to recapture your premiums upon cancellation or the end of the policy.
Waiver of Premium Rider: The disability insurance provider typically waives premiums due after 90 days if you are disabled. Most companies allow you to get a refund on premiums paid during that 90 day period.
Critical Illness Benefits Rider: Receive a lump sum benefit if you are diagnosed as critically ill.
Hospital Confinement Indemnity Benefits Rider: You can receive a daily income benefit if you are confined in a hospital due to injury or sickness.
The quickest and most efficient way to get started on your own individual disability insurance policy is to get a quote. We will ask you the right questions and guide you to the company that is best for you—based on your unique needs and objectives.
We have no allegiance to any particular company. Rather, our allegiance is to you, our client. It is our goal to serve you to the best of our ability, which includes placing you with the right company and policy that fits your need.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between long term care vs disability income insurance?
Long term care insurance requires that you be unable to perform 2 of 6 activities of daily living. Your long term care benefits are generally used to cover the costs associated with nursing care, home care, or care in an assisted living facility.
In contrast, disability income insurance provides income replacement if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury. The requirements to receive benefits under long-term disability insurance are generally less restrictive than long-term care insurance.
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