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I Am Pregnant...Can I Get Disability Insurance?
This is a common question that I get asked at least a few times per week by women who recently found out they are pregnant and would like some sort of income post delivery. Unfortunately, by the time that most people recognize the value of disability insurance they do not qualify for it. As the foundation to any financial plan, your income is the first thing that should be insured. Considering over 1 in 4 of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire disability insurance should be purchased prior to planning a pregnancy.1 The earlier you purchase this coverage the more likely you are to receive affordable rates and the less chance you have of receiving a policy with limitations. This article explains the importance of purchasing disability insurance prior to pregnancy and income protection options available if you are already pregnant.
Insurance is designed to transfer the liability of a random event happening on to another party for a small premium. It works effectively through the law of large numbers which essentially states that if a pool of X number of people is insured, a certain number will go on claim during a given year. Insurance companies do not necessarily know who will go on claim, but with an understanding of the factors surrounding disability they can accurately price the cost of coverage in comparison to that person’s likelihood to experience a claim. Thus, if a person possesses a greater chance of being unable to work because of factors that increase their chance of disability such as: overweight, older age, specific medical conditions, they will have to pay more for coverage. In order for insurance to be available for the participants in the pool when they need it, insurance companies must monitor the quality of entrants in their pool of insured’s and risk entrants in said pool.
When a person who is already pregnant applies for disability insurance the insurance company deems their pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. As such, if you apply for coverage in your first trimester you may be offered a policy, however under no circumstances will the policy pay a benefit if you are unable to work because of complications during your current pregnancy. If you apply for coverage after the first trimester most times you will not qualify for disability insurance at all because the risk exposure is too great from the insurance company’s perspective.
Income protection is a serious matter that needs to be considered early on when doing family planning. Your best option is to purchase an individually owned own occupation policy while you are young and healthy. By doing so, you have a greater likelihood of receiving optimal coverage at preferred rates without limitations for complications during your pregnancy that may limit your ability to work.
Anthony DelVecchio, Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. The views and opinions expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, its subsidiaries or affiliates.
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