If you want choices in a disability insurance policy from a well-respected insurer that dates to the 1880s, Ameritas may be worth a look.
Ameritas provides two policies from which to choose: DInamic Foundation and DInamic Fundamental.
One of the key differences between these policies is how they pay benefits.
DInamic Foundation is more a traditional disability insurance policy in that it pays a monthly benefit for each month you are disabled as defined in the policy. This benefit is based on a percentage of your pre-disability income.
DInamic Fundamental pays a single lump sum benefit if you become disabled. The benefit amount you choose can be any amount up to your annual earnings, with a maximum benefit available of $100,000.
Because they pay benefits differently, the two DInamic policies have different definitions of disability.
DInamic Foundation allows you to choose two definitions of disability.
The base policy includes an Own Occupation and Not Working definition. You can also choose a true Own Occupation definition as an add-on.
DInamic Fundamental requires three criteria in order to qualify for disability benefits:
- You are unable to work in your occupation or any occupation for which you are reasonably suited based on your education, training, and experience.
- Your disability is expected to last at least one year.
- You must survive the disability for at least 30 days.
Learn More: Own Occupation Disability Insurance
DInamic Foundation offers several options for elimination periods: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, 365 days, and 730 days. You can opt for one of the following benefit periods: 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, age 65, age 67, age 70.
The policy is guaranteed renewable. You can also select a non-cancelable option via an add-on.
The base policy also includes the following features at no extra cost.
Nondisabling injury benefit
The policy will pay for treatment by either a physician or a dentist resulting from an injury. Payment will be half your monthly benefit for total disability up to a maximum of $3,000.
Good Health Benefit
For every consecutive policy year in which you do not receive benefits, the company will reduce the elimination period by two days, though it will not be lowered to less than 30 days.
COBRA premium benefit
The policy will pay a maximum benefit of $1,000 for 18 months to help you pay for COBRA medical plan premiums if you become unemployed following a disability.
Presumptive total disability benefit
The policy will waive your elimination period if you sustain a total loss of at least one of the following: sight in both eyes, hearing in both ears, use of both hands, use of both feet, use of one hand, and one foot. The loss is not required to be permanent and the elimination period would be waived even if you are able to work.
If you become totally disabled as a result of being a transplant donor, the elimination period will be waived.
If you become totally disabled as a result of having cosmetic surgery, benefits will be payable, provided the surgery occurs more than six months after the issue date of your policy, and the elimination period is satisfied.
DInamic Foundation allows you to customize your policy with the following optional riders, available for an additional premium:
Enhanced or Basic Residual Disability
Choose between these two residual riders if you have a partial disability.
Cost of Living Adjustment
Choose between a 6 percent compound or a 3 percent simple increase in your total monthly benefit after a full year of disability.
Social Insurance Substitute
The rider provides income while you wait for other income sources such as Social Security disability or worker’s compensation.
Future Increase Option
This rider enables you to increase your base monthly benefit without providing evidence of insurability
This rider pays a monthly benefit due to severe cognitive impairment or the inability to perform two of the six activities of daily living.
Automatic Increase Rider
Your monthly benefit automatically increases by four percent each year for five years.
Student Loan Repayment
Adding this rider provides extra coverage to reimburse your student loan payments.
DInamic Fundamental is marketed as a simple approach to disability insurance, hence the lump sum payment and basic definition of disability.
The only other decision to make regarding this policy is whether to add any of the three optional riders:
Accident Only Disability
If you’re unable to work due to a disability caused by an accident, this rider pays a monthly benefit after 90 days of disability, for up to a maximum of two years. You may purchase up to 2 percent of your base policy benefit amount, up to $2,000.
This rider pays a monthly benefit due to severe cognitive impairment or the inability to perform two of the six activities of daily living. Benefits begin after 365 days of catastrophic disability for a maximum benefit period, to age 65. You can get a monthly benefit of up to 5 percent of your base policy benefit amount, up to $5,000.
This rider makes you eligible for an additional lump sum benefit if you’re diagnosed with cancer, heart attack, kidney failure, major organ failure with a transplant, or stroke. You can get up to 25 percent of your base policy benefit amount, up to a maximum of $25,000.
Ameritas has one of the longest histories of disability insurance carriers. It was founded in 1887 as Old Line Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska. That company later merged with Acacia Life and Union Central Mutual Holding Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Following the merger, the combined company was named Ameritas.
The Lincoln, Nebraska-based carrier serves more than 4 million customers.
In addition to longevity, Ameritas is rated high for its financial strength by independent rating agencies. As of May 2021, it carries a rating of A+, Strong, the fifth-highest of 21 rating classes by Standard and Poor’s. The company is rated A, Excellent, the third-highest of 13 ratings, by A.M. Best.
Ameritas has also earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Joel Palmer is a freelance writer and personal finance expert who focuses on the mortgage, insurance, financial services, and technology industries. He spent the first 10 years of his career as a business and financial reporter.
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