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2024 Standard Disability Insurance Review

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Standard Insurance Company offers long-term, short-term, and accident-only disability insurance policies, in both individual and group plans.

Standard’s is well-known for its superior financial strength ratings, which means policyholders can count on the company’s ability to pay future claims.

With an optional student loan rider and future benefit increases, Standard may be a good choice for younger policyholders. It also offers a family care benefit for people who need time off work to care for children or parents.

Standard is also a good option for people in the medical profession, such as physicians and dentists. Its policy includes medical and dental specialty language in the regular occupation definition and own occupation definition of total disability.

However, if you want your policy to reflect an own occupation definition of disability, you can only get it as an optional rider on Standard’s policy. Many disability insurers provide an own occupation definition as part of the base policy. Also, the rider is only available with certain occupational classes. This provision states that the policy will pay benefits if an injury prevents you from working in your chosen field or specialty, even if you’re well enough to earn an income doing other types of work.

Standard is considered one of the best disability insurers by Investopedia and ranks the company as offering the best non-cancelable coverage.

About Standard Insurance Company

Standard Insurance Company was founded in 1906 as the Oregon Life Insurance Company. Today, it remains headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

The company is licensed in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and in the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Standard is well respected for its financial strength ratings. As of August 2020, the company carries the following grades from third-party rating agencies:

  • Standard & Poor’s - A+, Strong, 5th highest of 20 ratings
  • Moody’s - A1, Good, 5th highest of 21 ratings
  • A.M. Best - A, Excellent, 3rd highest of 13 ratings

In addition, Standard was recognized last year by Best’s Review for maintaining a rating of A or higher each year since 1928, the first year of A.M. Best ratings. They are one of only eight life and health insurers to achieve this recognition.

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Basic policy features

The Standard Platinum Advantage disability insurance policy offers five benefit periods. It enables you to choose among benefit periods of two years, five years, and 10 years, or up to ages 65 or 67.

Standard’s policy limits benefits on disabilities caused by mental disorders or substance abuse to 24 months over the lifetime of the policy. Coverage for mental disorders is not available on the Standard’s two highest occupational classes (Classes 4 and 5).

Benefits for disabilities caused or contributed to by medical or surgical treatment for a mental disorder or substance abuse will be limited to a total of 24 months during a lifetime.

You can also choose among four waiting periods. One of the disadvantages of Standard’s policy is that it does not offer a 30-day elimination period as other insurers do. Standard lets you choose 60-day, 90-day, 180-day, and 365-day periods.

Platinum Advantage is guaranteed renewable as long as the premium is paid on time. No provision of the policy can be changed except for the premium, before the termination date. The premium can be changed only after the policy is three years old and then, only if the change applies to all policies with similar benefits insuring the same risk class.

To avoid premium increases, you can add an optional Noncancelable Policy Rider (see the optional rider section).

Family Care Benefit

One feature that differentiates Standard from other providers is its Family Care Benefit. It pays you a monthly benefit if you are working at least 20 percent fewer hours and you have at least 20 percent less income while taking time away from work to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. The maximum amount is six times the basic monthly benefit.

This benefit is automatically included at no extra charge.

Included benefits

In addition, Platinum Advantage includes the following benefits at no cost:

  • A Presumptive Disability Benefit that applies if you suffer an injury or sickness that results in total and permanent loss of any of the following: speech, hearing in both ears not restorable by hearing aids, sight in both eyes after reasonable efforts are made to correct your vision using the most advanced medically acceptable procedures and devices available, or the use of both hands, both feet, or one hand and one foot.
  • A Survivor Benefit that pays an amount equal to three times the policy’s basic monthly benefit, if you die while disability benefits are payable.
  • A Premium Waiver Benefit that waives your premium requirements during the time you’re receiving policy benefits.
  • A Rehabilitation Benefit that will cover the costs for a voluntary rehab program to help you return to work.

Riders included with limited availability

Standard’s policy also includes a pair of riders at no cost, though applicants must meet eligibility requirements.

One is a Benefit Increase Rider. This benefit provides the option to purchase additional coverage, without providing medical information, every three years after the policy effective date. It is available to applicants up to age 50. It is not available to applicants working in the company’s lowest occupational classes.

Standard also provides an Automatic Increase Benefit Rider. It automatically raises your policy’s basic monthly benefit by 4 percent each year during the increase period, compounded during the increase period, without evidence of insurability. The increase period lasts for up to six consecutive years. It’s available to applicants up to age 59 and also excludes the lowest occupational classes.

Optional riders available for additional cost

Standard offers several optional riders to provide enhanced coverage.

Own Occupation Rider

With this rider, you will be considered totally disabled and eligible for full policy benefits if, due to injury or illness, you are unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your regular occupation. This applies even if you work in another job while receiving benefits. Physicians and dentists working in a recognized specialty will have that specialty deemed their regular occupation. Attorneys performing the usual and customary duties of a trial attorney will have trial attorney deemed their regular occupation. You must be receiving regular medical care from a physician appropriate for your injury or sickness.

Residual Disability Rider

Standard offers three levels of this common rider, which covers you in the event you become disabled but are still able to work in a limited capacity.

Noncancelable Policy Rider

This rider ensures that your premium rates will never change provide you pay them on time. It's available to policyholders up to age 60 as well as all occupational classes. Investopedia considers Standard the best disability policy for noncancelable cover. It does caution, however, that the feature is available as an additional rider and is not part of the base policy.

Catastrophic Disability Benefit Rider

The rider is available to all occupational classes and to policyholders up to age 64. It pays an additional monthly benefit if you can’t perform two or more of the six activities of daily living, have a severe cognitive impairment, or have a presumptive total disability.

Indexed Cost of Living Benefit Rider

The rider increases your benefit payments during the time you are disabled based on the rate of inflation, up to a maximum. You can select a maximum annual increase of either 3 percent or 6 percent.

Student Loan Rider

With this rider, you can receive an extra benefit amount to cover your monthly student loan bill.

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.

The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

— Published May 5, 2021
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