SDV Insights

Hiring a Disability Insurance Attorney Before Choosing Your Policy


The experience of applying for disability insurance coverage carries with it novel information. Depending on your profession, policy features and coverage costs could raise questions. Further, the purchase process is often time-consuming and invasive. After all, a disability carrier asks about your medical history, requires you to submit to a height and weight check, blood pressure read, EKG, and a blood draw. Additionally, disability insurance is non-cancellable. That means that the insurer cannot cancel the contract for so long as an insured pays premiums. So, the relationship with the insurer could extend for decades. But would you really need to hire a disability insurance attorney before deciding on a policy to purchase? Here are a few circumstances when you just might.

1. Reconciling Conflicting Information

In the purchase process, as a consumer, you might receive conflicting information from different insurance brokers selling similar policies. A seasoned disability insurance attorney is in a great position to serve as a neutral and can explain features of policies you are considering. Having served the interests of policyholders like you, a qualified disability insurance attorney can be invaluable in this process.

2. Health History That Raises Red Flags

You have a health history that you have been told not to disclose. Disability carriers require extensive health history information, and for good reasons. That is how they decide whether to issue you a policy and how much to charge. Full disclosure in response to the questions on the application is advisable. If you fail to disclose information on the application, it could come back to haunt you if you must eventually make a claim. If you make a claim within two years of policy issuance, the disability insurer can review the accuracy of the application answers. If there are material misrepresentations, the company can deny the claim and cancel the policy.

3. Various Options Concerning the Definition of Total Disability

Individual disability insurance products can have varying definitions of “total disability.” Should you purchase the policy that has an “own occupation” definition of total disability? Or should you save a few dollars on premiums and opt for an “own occupation” definition for a few years that becomes an “any occupation” definition after that? An experienced disability insurance attorney can explain how carriers treat these definitions in the context of a claim.

4. Confusion About Which Insurer You Should Contract With

A disability insurance attorney who has handled disability claims and litigations for several decades knows the companies that pay and the companies that force their insureds into battle when they make claims under their policies. Therefore, tapping into the expertise of a seasoned disability insurance attorney is a smart move, especially because the contract you enter into will likely be the beginning of a long relationship with that insurer.

5. You Have Other Disability Insurance and Are Not Sure Whether to Keep It

Sometimes a prospective insured already has individual disability insurance coverage. When shopping for new or additional disability insurance, it is important to understand what it would mean to cancel an existing disability policy and replace it with a new and different policy. Issues concerning the time limits regarding contestability of a disability policy often arise in this scenario. That is because policies often have incontestability clauses that preclude an insurer from voiding the policy based on material misrepresentations on the application after a period of time. Once a new policy replaces an older policy, that period is activated again.

Additional questions that might arise when shopping for disability insurance include pre-existing conditions, whether to purchase insurance to age 65 or lifetime, whether annual premiums remain the same over the life of the policy, and whether you can still work if you become disabled and make a claim under the policy.

If you have questions regarding the purchase of purchasing disability insurance, you can contact Eve-Lynn Gisonni at EGisonni@sdvlaw.com or by calling her direct line (203) 287-2158.
SDV is a national law firm devoted to representing policyholders under insurance contracts.
 






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