Here’s The Best Way To Buy The Right Disability Insurance | 5 Steps To Selecting The Right Disability Insurance For You

Updated: April 12, 2024 at 9:39 am

We all want to buy the right insurance for our needs, and this insurance includes disability insurance.

However, technology has changed how we purchase. We open our iPad or phone, go online, and purchase goods.

It’s easy to just go online and buy things, right?

The same is true for insurance.

You can go online and purchase auto and home insurance with no issues.

The same nowadays for life insurance for the most part. Additionally, dental and health insurance carriers allow online enrollment and purchase.

You can buy insurance while wearing your pajamas now!

Currently, there are a couple of carriers that allow the online purchase of disability insurance.

That’s right. You just click on their link, make some selections, and apply. You don’t need to meet with an agent!

While that seems like the easy thing to do, you may end up with the wrong plan or product.

Additionally, you’ll potentially waste your hard-earned money if you don’t know what you are buying. (Don’t worry; we will show you.)

Why? Disability insurance is a bit different than other types of insurance. You really want the “best” disability insurance that fits your needs.

In this article, we discuss the best way to buy the right disability insurance for you.

Here’s what we will discuss:

Let’s jump in and quickly discuss the buying habits of today.

How People Are Buying Insurance Today

I think you will agree with me that technology has changed how we buy things and do business.

If we need something, we go online and buy it. Nowadays, the product arrives the next day!

We do our banking online, order our food online, and go to church online (if we prefer to).

Now, we can purchase insurance online.

For example, you can buy term life insurance directly yourself. It takes 10 minutes to apply, and then the carrier makes a decision instantaneously.


Same with homeowners and auto insurance.

However, disability insurance is another story. It’s not as easy to buy disability insurance online as many think.

Before we discuss the reasons why, let’s discuss the moving parts of disability insurance. This will really explain why it’s hard to buy disability insurance online.

The Moving Parts Of Disability Insurance

to show the reasons why buying online is the wrong way to buy disability insuranceAs you are aware, disability insurance pays you a benefit if you are hurt or sick and can’t do your job. That is it in a nutshell.

It is extremely important insurance. This type of insurance essentially keeps you in your home and puts food on the table if you can’t work.

However, as simple as it sounds, it can be a complex product with many moving parts.

The first thing is disability insurance underwriting is way more complex compared to, say, life insurance.

For example, your occupation plays an important role in determining the right carrier for disability insurance. It’s a key component in the underwriting process.

Same with your income and health.

In addition, most carriers offer many riders. Riders customize your policy to your needs.

Plan structure, underwriting, and riders are all different. So, you can’t just apply with any carrier.

If you want to buy the right disability insurance for your situation, you need to know all of this. This brings us to our next section about the wrong way to buy disability insurance.

Here’s The Wrong Way To Buy Disability Insurance

In our last section, we touched on the moving parts of disability insurance. These moving parts include:

  • Plan structure,
  • Underwriting, and
  • Riders

While carriers align, generally, on other types of insurance like term life insurance, that’s not the case with disability insurance. (Moreover, with term life insurance, I wouldn’t suggest applying online directly unless you are generally healthy, not overweight, with no recent hospitalizations and limited medication.)

For example, a web designer contacted us after being declined by a disability insurance company for her anxiety and depression. After discussing her situation, we felt the carrier was conservative with their underwriting. We were able to get her disability insurance with another carrier.

Talk about a disparity!

I’ll show additional, real examples of this disparity among carriers. It can be significant.

Lately, agencies have been offering disability insurance directly to you, the consumer, online. They say things like, “here’s the smartest way to buy disability insurance” or something like that.

They want you to apply right on your computer with them. That’s great, right?

Probably not.

Buying disability insurance online isn’t like buying a shirt. You can’t necessarily “return” the disability insurance if it doesn’t fit.

If you end up with the wrong plan, that is on you. You probably won’t know that until you make a claim.

Currently, You Apply With One Carrier

What you don’t know is that, currently, when you apply for disability insurance online, you are applying with one carrier (maybe 2 carriers). (Note: I am talking about an actual application, not an online contact us request for more information such as we have.)

That’s like William Ford saying, “Any customer can have a car painted in any color, as long as it is black”.

In other words, you have one (or two) options. How do you know that the carrier you are applying with is the right one for you?

You really don’t if you blindly apply online.

What if you were the woman I described earlier and declined?

Declines show up on your MIB. Potentially, declines are a cause for concern with future applications.

If you’ve spoken to me before, you know I always say that some coverage is better than none. However, the assumption with my statement is that you have researched and determined the carrier you are applying with is the right one for your situation.

So, what I am saying here is that, currently, applying online isn’t the way to go for disability insurance.

Additionally, neither is applying with a captive agent…at least right away.

What are captive agents? They only work with one carrier. So, your choices are limited to that one carrier. Additionally, the agent is beholden to the carrier he or she works for, not for you.

Sorry, but that is the truth.

Now, I am not saying those policies offered by captive agents are bad. No, they aren’t. They are some of the best all-around.

But, how do you know which is right for you?

Now is a good time to discuss the best way to buy the right disability insurance for you.

Here Is The Best Way To Buy The Right Disability Insurance For You

So, if buying online directly and possibly from a captive agent (more on that in a minute) is the wrong way, what is the best way to buy the right disability insurance for you?

Simply, it is to seek out an independent agent experienced in disability insurance.shows why working with an independent agent is the best way to buy disability insurance

Of course, we are independent. However, this isn’t a shameless plug.

An independent agent knows the market and can offer a plan that is unique to your situation. He or she works with many carriers. The more carriers, the more solutions.

It is really the best way to buy disability insurance. At least, currently.

There is no need for “square-peg-round-hole” or “everything-looks-like-a-nail” solutions. The agent should have a disability insurance solution no matter your situation, even if you have been declined for disability insurance before.

Sure, going online and applying is easy, but it could be the wrong choice in the long run.

Why? Again, as we said before, there are many moving parts with disability insurance. For example, do you know what a partial disability benefit is? Likely not. It’s important. Moreover, did you know that carriers differ, sometimes greatly, on their definition of a partial disability?

That would stink if you applied to a carrier that had a weak definition and then you faced a partial disability.

That can happen when you blindly apply online or you don’t do your homework. It’s why it is important to work with an agent who knows disability insurance and works with many carriers (hint, hint My Family Life Insurance).

Let’s briefly discuss captive agents. Is working with them bad? No. It is not. However, they have only 1 product available to them. Of course, there are fine captive agents offering fine products. You, however, just want to make sure what they are offering fits you and your situation. If not, then a reputable independent agent can help.

5 Steps To Buying The Right Disability Insurance

There are 5 easy steps to buying the right disability insurance coverage for you.

Click on the links above to see how complex disability insurance can be if you are trying to buy it on your own, directly online, without the aid of a reputable agent.

OK, John. Can you show me some examples?

Sure, now is a good time to show examples of the wrong way and the best way to buy disability insurance.

Comparison Between The Wrong Way And The Best Way To Buy Disability Insurance

to show the 5 steps on how to buy the best disability insuranceHere are some real examples if you purchased disability insurance online compared to working with an independent agent like us.

To keep comparisons easy, the comparisons include a 90-day waiting period and 5 year benefit period. We assumed non-tobacco and non-marijuana use. Premiums are subject to change.

Female Dental Hygienist Age 30

We help many dental hygienists obtain disability insurance, and we know which carriers work best for that occupation.

Let’s say the hygienist makes a $50,000 salary. By working with us, she will have a $2,500 monthly benefit, true own occupation for the 5 years, with a guaranteed purchase option, and residual benefits for about $56 per month. It also includes a provision that increases her benefit automatically by 3% per year for the first 5 years.

The online plan?

Well, they can offer a $2,980 monthly benefit. But, the other options are similar. Their plan costs $80 per month.

(Note: if you think the premium increase is due to the monthly benefit, it really isn’t. Taking the online plan to $2,500 yields a premium of $70 per month.)

So, would you spend $56 or $80?

What would happen if you saved that $24 per month?

Well, over 35 years, that difference would yield about $56,000 by age 65, assuming an 8% interest rate.

Male Massage Therapist Age 40

The massage therapy occupation is another occupation we help quite a bit.

For simplicity, let’s say our massage therapist makes $50,000 and is self-employed.

He can receive a $3,125 monthly benefit. He will have the true own occupation definition for the duration of the 5-year benefit period. The cost is about $73 per month.

The online option can offer a $3,420 monthly benefit, but $1,220 coordinates with social security. They’ll force him to coordinate based on his occupation class. As we wrote in our disability insurance rider article, we believe you should avoid any coordination if you can help it.

Moreover, their true own occupation definition only lasts 2 years. If you are still disabled after 2 years, the disability definition reverts to the stringent any occupation definition.

On top of it all, their plan costs $116 per month.

That’s a $43 per month mistake by going online without doing your homework. Translate those savings for 25 years. What does that yield? At an 8% average return, about $41,000.

Female Digital Marketer/Web Designer 37 Years Old

Here’s a recent case we did for a client. She is a web designer/digital marketer.

A little change here. She goes to the chiropractor 2 times each year for maintenance. There’s no record of back, neck, or spine issues.

Additionally, she smokes marijuana recreationally. Not a lot. On average, 1 time per month.

In her case, we were able to get her a $3,500 monthly benefit, true own occupation definition, residual disability with guaranteed purchase options and automatic increase benefits. This all costs $66 per month. Moreover, there were no exclusions on her back and spine and no rate up for the marijuana use.

What about the online, direct option? They offer a monthly benefit of $3,420. So, about the same. However, they place an exclusion on the spine and back. Additionally, they rate up marijuana use and categorize it as tobacco use, even for recreational use. Finally, because of the rate up, they do not offer a guaranteed purchase option or an enhanced residual benefit. Their cost? It is about $121 per month.

It is obvious whom you’d want to apply with. However, what if you applied directly online? That would stink.

The list goes on and on. It doesn’t matter what occupation you are. We can always help you obtain the right level of benefits for the premium. We also work with a Christian organization that offers disability insurance. If you are a practicing Christian, then this is a solid and affordable option for you.

Now You Know The Best Way To Buy The Right Disability Insurance For You

Buying online is easy, right? Usually, yes. In this case, however, buying disability insurance online may not be the easiest or best case for you. The reason? You are currently limited to a couple of carriers…at most. How do you know if they are right for you? You really don’t. This isn’t like buying a shirt online. You are buying a very important type of insurance.

The best way to buy disability insurance is to work with an independent agent who understands the market. Of course, we would love to help. However, truthfully, there are great independent agents everywhere. What about captive agents? There are great captive agents as well; you just want to make sure the one carrier they offer is right for you.

We gave real examples of the policies we placed versus the online, direct carrier. We allow our clients the best possible coverage for the lowest price for their unique situation.

Would you like to learn more? Feel free to contact us or use the form below. I think you can see we will put your needs and interest first. It is the only way we know how to work with our clients. If we can’t help, we will point you in the right direction as best we can. You can always reach back out to us anytime if your needs change.

Learn More

Are you interested in learning more about the information in this article? Please fill out the form below, and we will email you additional information or give you a call. We always work in your best interest. By entering your information, you are providing your express consent that My Family Life Insurance may contact you via e-mails, SMS, phone calls, or prerecorded messages at any phone number(s) that you provide, even if the number is a wireless number or on any federal or state do-not-call list. Additionally, you understand that calls may be placed using automated technology, and that consent is not a requirement for purchase. Your information will NOT be sold and will remain private. However, you may opt out at any time. We respect your privacy first and foremost. By contacting us, you agree to receive text messages from our number (800) 645-9841. If you no longer wish to receive text messages, you may opt out at any time by replying "STOP".

Published by


I am a CFP® Professional and have an MBA. I founded My Family Life Insurance to provide honest, trustworthy advice and economical insurance solutions to individuals, families, and business owners. Contact me if you have any questions. There is no risk! If I can't help you, you've learned a little more, and we'll part as friends. Seriously! Can your current agent say this? View my linked-in profile here:


Copyright © 2024 • My Family Life Insurance | 300 Brickstone Square, Suite 201, Andover, MA 01810 | (800) 645-9841. All rights reserved. • Privacy Policy • Marketing by Vision Advertising