The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is one of the most highly rated disability insurance providers by third-party reviewers. According to these reviewers, Guardian differentiates itself by:
- The range of options it provides
- Its financial stability
- Its service, including the ease of filing a claim
- The ability to get a quick quote online
Investopedia named Guardian its best overall disability insurance carrier for 2021. The Balance, another personal finance news website, named Guardian its runner-up for best disability insurance provider.
Dell & Schaefer, a national disability insurance law firm, writes:
“Unlike most other disability insurance companies, you are lucky to have a Guardian disability policy. Guardian is a large company with more than 5,000 employees and over 5 million customers, but they are managed very well by experienced disability claim managers and examiners.”
- Individual disability insurance
- Group disability insurance
- Short term disability insurance
- Long term disability insurance
- Supplemental disability insurance
Its supplemental disability coverage is available without a medical exam. Guardian’s group policies max out at 60 percent of your income.
Guardian’s coverage includes an own-occupation provision. This means your policy will replace a portion of your income if you can’t remain employed in your regular job or career, even if you’d be capable of doing other forms of work.
Its long-term coverage offers elimination periods of 90 or 180 days. Benefit periods last two years, five years, 10 years, 20 years, or up to retirement. Guardian offers a residual benefit that requires a 15 percent loss of income.
In 2020, Guardian launched a disability insurance feature for stay-at-home spouses. Under the Spousal Coverage Program, the non-income-generating spouse will receive the total disability benefit when, because of sickness or injury, he or she is unable to perform all the substantial and material duties they typically perform.
If disabled, the spousal coverage provides up to $2,500 a month to the spouse of the primary policyholder. These benefits can be used for any purpose, including to pay for childcare, cleaning services, home health aides, and other new household needs.
Built-in features of the company’s individual disability policies include:
- Waiver of premium, which means you don’t have to keep paying on the policy if you’re receiving benefits from it. Guardian also continues to waive premiums for six months after your benefits end.
- Hospice care benefit, which waives the elimination period if you are admitted to hospice care.
- Unemployment premium suspension, which enables you to keep your policy but stop paying premiums during periods of unemployment, though it also suspends your coverage.
- A benefit that helps pay for occupational rehabilitation expenses plus the cost of modification to your work environment to accommodate physical limitations.
Guardian’s individual policies also offer the following optional riders for an additional cost:
- Future increase option, which enables you to increase coverage as your income rises, without having to undergo a medical exam or provide proof of medical insurability.
- Cost-of-living adjustment, which will increase your benefit to account for inflation.
- Catastrophic disability benefit, which provides extra funds – up to 100 percent income replacement – if due to injury or sickness you are unable to perform two or more activities of daily living, or are cognitively impaired.
- Student loan protection rider, which provides extra money to make student loan payments during the benefit period.
- Retirement protection that replaces the contributions you would have made to your defined contribution plan while totally disabled.
- Unemployment waiver of premium, which waives your premiums while you’re unemployed, allowing you to stop paying premiums but continue owning the policy. With this rider, you may remain eligible for disability benefits should you become disabled during that time, since your policy remains active.
- Social insurance substitute, a benefit that coordinates with payments received under Social Security and other government programs.
Learn More: Disability Insurance Riders
Below are quotes received on Guardian’s website:
A 30-year-old female registered nurse earning $60,000 a year in Utah was quoted:
- A monthly rate of $135 for a $3,000 monthly benefit up to age 65 with a 90-day elimination period.
- An extra $14 for a residual disability rider.
- An extra $16 for a cost-of-living adjustment benefit.
- An extra $14 for an additional $1,000 a month for student loan payments.
A 40-year-old male office professional earning $70,000 a year in Missouri was quoted:
- A monthly rate of $133 for a $4,000 monthly benefit up to age 65 with a 90-day elimination period.
- An extra $17 for a residual disability rider.
- An extra $20 for a cost-of-living adjustment benefit.
- An extra $11 for an additional $1,000 a month for student loan payments.
A 45-year-old female attorney earning $120,000 a year in North Carolina was quoted:
- A monthly rate of $214 for a $6,000 monthly benefit up to age 65 with a 90-day elimination period.
- An extra $29 for a residual disability rider.
- An extra $31 for a cost-of-living adjustment benefit.
- An extra $21 for an additional $1,000 a month for student loan payments.
A 50-year-old male financial professional earning $140,000 a year in Pennsylvania was quoted:
- A monthly rate of $270 for a $7,000 monthly benefit up to age 65 with a 90-day elimination period.
- An extra $41 for a residual disability rider.
- An extra $40 for a cost-of-living adjustment benefit.
Learn More: How Much Does Disability Insurance Cost?
The company has existed since before the U.S. Civil War, having been founded in 1860. It is ranked in the Fortune 250. As a mutual insurance company, Guardian is owned by policyholders, who have been paid an annual dividend every year since 1868.
Guardian has the highest financial rating given by A.M. Best, an A++. It is also rated:
- Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service (3rd highest of 21 ratings)
- AA+ by Standard & Poor’s (2nd highest of 22 ratings)
- AA+ by Fitch (2nd highest of 21 ratings)
Learn More: Insurance Company Ratings, Explained
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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