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Mental & Nervous Coverage

Stop!!! If you are like many people shopping for a personal disability insurance policy you may have the attitude of “I don’t care about whether or not my DI policy covers mental and nervous disabilities! It’s never going to happen to me, or I’m not crazy.” 

You should absolutely care about whether or not your policy covers mental or nervous disabilities. In 2014 the Council for Disability Awareness published a study showing 8.3% of all new long term disability insurance claims were mental or nervous claims. I would also venture to guess that most of those claimants never thought for an instant that they would suffer a long term claim because of anything mental or nervous related. 

Many disability insurance carriers have scaled back the policies they offer consumers to only cover mental or nervous claims for two years, instead of having coverage to age 65 or longer. As a generalization, and it is a broad generalization, you as a consumer get charged about 10% less for policies that only cover mental and nervous claims for two years. You also need to understand there is a valid reason those carriers can reduce their premiums they charge you by 10%, there is a good chance that you may need coverage before you reach retirement age. 

Excuse my language, I am just being blunt and paraphrasing some things I have heard from people shopping for disability insurance over the years. The “I’m never going to go crazy”, or “I’m only getting this coverage for a catastrophic scenario” thought process isn’t realistic. I have had many clients who have had to use their disability insurance policies during my career, and I have had clients who have had to use the mental and nervous protection to age 65. None of them ever thought in a million years they would be disabled from a mental or nervous disorder. 

Some occupations are clearly more stressful than others, I would venture to say that an anesthesiologist, emergency room physician, anesthetist or pain management physician has a bit more stress to handle every day than a middle manager in a corporation, teacher, or consultant has to deal with. Some occupations do have more mental and nervous claims than others simply because of the deep stress associated with having patients’ lives in your hands every day. As a result there are some disability insurance companies like Berkshire Life who offer protection to age 65 or longer for mental and nervous1 claims, with the exception of some of the more stressful occupations like those named above. 

My point is that “Life Happens”, and none of us are in control of what is going to happen to us in this life. You buy a personal disability insurance policy to protect your most important asset, your ability to bring home an income, and when you are evaluating the many choices on this market, make sure you don’t short yourself by purchasing a policy that limits mental and nervous disability protection. Berkshire, with the exception of a few higher risk occupations, treats mental and nervous disabilities just like any other claim to age 65 or longer…and that is a big advantage to you as a consumer.

1. A twenty-four month mental and/or substance-related disorders limitation is included on all policies issued to anesthesiologists/anesthetists (MD, DO), emergency room physicians, pain management physicians, and nurse anesthetists. Limitation also applies to all new policies issued in the states of California and Florida, however, the limitation does not apply to policies issued as a result of a future increase option or future purchase option where the policy from which the option is exercised does not contain such a limitation. The limitation does not apply to any policies issued in the state of Vermont, regardless of occupation.
The information displayed on this page are the opinions and views of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions and views of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), or any company that is an affiliate or subsidiary of Guardian. 
Steven Crawford, General Agent, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) New York, NY. 

2017-51940 Exp. 01/20

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