Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTD) helps replace some of your income when you can’t work at all or can only work part-time because of a disability. Private companies that provide LTD policies have different enrollment requirements and benefits. LTD insurers publish summaries of the particular plans they offer.

How to Get LTD Insurance

Some people have LTD insurance through an employer, union, or other professional organization. This type of policy is known as group coverage. You can also purchase individual coverage directly from an insurance company/agent. If you have group coverage and leave your employer or professional association, you may be able to convert your group policy into an individual one.

Your Medical History and Pre-Existing Conditions

LTD providers consider your medical history when you sign up. Depending on which coverage you are getting, Individual Coverage or Group Coverage, LTD providers will look at your medical history differently.

  • Individual Coverage: The insurance company decides what conditions might cause a disability in the future. These are called “potentially disabling conditions”. Some LTD insurers will not approve you for individual coverage if you have had treatment for a potentially disabling condition within a certain period of time. Treatment includes advice from a doctor and medication. The review of your medical history is known as medical underwriting.
  • Group Coverage: If you have had treatment for something within the past 3 to 6 months, you have a Pre-Existing Condition. LTD providers will still offer you Group Coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, however, there will be a set period of time when they won’t pay a benefit if this condition causes you to miss work. The period of time is generally 12 to 24 months and is called the pre-existing condition exclusionary period.