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Life's a Risky Business: Insurance Policy Prep Sheet

By Elaine Sambugaro |

Policy Prep Sheet

What follows is a quick checklist that you can print out and use in your meeting with your insurance broker or insurance sales representative. It contains 35 hard-nosed questions that you should get answers to before leaving the meeting.
  1. In the event that the policy is purchased through an insurance broker, who is my insurer? Where is their head office? Who is the main contact person? When can be reached? Does the company provide an emergency or after-hours contact number?
  2. What will my premium cost me every month?
  3. Will this cost increase during the lifetime of the policy?
  4. When will the policy expire?
  5. What is the definition of "disability"?
  6. Will the definition of "disability" change during the course of the policy?
  7. If so, what will it change to?
  8. Is the "own occ" definition incorporated into the definition of disability?
  9. Is it a non-cancelable policy?
  10. In the event that I become ill and can collect, when will the benefit payments begin?
  11. What are the cost savings associated with extending the elimination period?
  12. How long should an elimination period be extended?
  13. What percentage of my current income will the disability policy cover?
  14. What are the eligibility requirements before I collect?
  15. What steps do I have to take in the event that I become sick, to ensure that I can collect?
  16. What types of disabilities are excluded in the policy?
  17. Does the policy have a tax-free clause in the event that I decide to purchase the policy with after-tax dollars?
  18. What extra "riders" are available to me in the policy? For example, a future income rider which allows you to add more coverage without medical question as long as your income warrants the coverage? Or partial disability riders? Or, return of premium – returns 75% of premiums paid after 10 years, if you have not claimed?
  19. How much do these extra riders cost?
  20. How many riders are available under the respective policy?
  21. Are the monthly premiums I pay while I'm employed tax deductible?
  22. How do I submit a claim for DI benefits?
  23. Am I covered during a leave of absence? How does the policy define a "leave of absence"? Does pregnancy fall under this category? Bereavement periods?
  24. What is the cost difference between group plans and individual plans?
  25. Are my benefits affected by changes in the cost of living? (inflationary considerations). Will they be increased? Are there extra costs associated with the increase?
  26. If I opt for group DI, is it a good idea to purchase individual disability insurance on top of the group insurance? Are there cost savings if I choose to purchase the individual policy with the same insurance agency? What are the cost savings?
  27. What professions are excluded from disability insurance? Does my profession fall into that category? If so, are there any loop holes in the policy that will enable me to obtain partial benefits?
  28. Who can access personal information on my file if I purchase DI with a certain insurance company?
  29. What premium payment options do I have? Are there savings associated with bi-monthly payments or weekly payments?
  30. Will I have to continue paying premiums if I become disabled and am receiving benefits?
  31. Is it possible to purchase too much insurance? How do I avoid over-insuring myself?
  32. If I go back to work and then suffer a re-lapse, will I have to re-submit a claim to collect disability? Is there a shorter waiting period?
  33. How old do I have to be to purchase DI?
  34. What are my obligations when claiming disability? Will I have to be under the regular care of a physician? Will I have to attend regular independent medical examinations?
  35. What types of income will be deducted from my DI benefits? Why?

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