- Payments until retirement: Your policy should pay full benefits up to the your retirement age (social security), when you will become eligible to receive social security benefits.
- Cost of living adjustments: Disability policies that provide Cost Of Living Adjustments (aka COLA) are more expensive than fixed-benefit policies, but provide better coverage. The amount that you receive if say you were 20 may be adequate, but with inflation it will not be when you're 60.
- Renewability and non-cancelability: A disability insurance plan should be guaranteed renewable or, even better, non-cancelable by the insurer. A guaranteed renewable plan assures you of your right to renew the policy, though the rates may increase. A non-cancelable plan prevents the insurer from raising premiums or canceling your coverage because your medical condition changes.
- Ability to be employed while disabled: Make sure that the policy defines disability as the inability to work at your chosen occupation and will not reduce your disability benefit if you earn income from another job while disabled.
- Choice of waiting period: Since disability insurance policies call for a waiting period before benefits begin, try to find a plan that lets you choose how long the period will be. In general, it can vary from 30-180 days or more. Typically, the longer the waiting period, the lower the premium. Remember, you're supposed to have 6 months worth of an emergency fund, so if have that then you can wait 6 months for benefits and reduce your premium. The rich get richer and money begets money.
- Discount: What tip would be complete without a discount?! You may be able to purchase a plan through a professional organization, union, or other membership association. Such organizations often offer insurance at substantial discounts.
Not all private disability insurance is alike. You need to look at more than just the amount of coverage and the cost of premium. When you look for an affordable policy, try to find one with as many of these features as possible.
This website was created due to the atrociously misguided financial advice that I've heard over the decades. Financial freedom is not intellectually strenuous, but it takes discipline.