Consumers who become disabled - meaning they are unable to work because of a physical or mental health condition - need to be able to provide for themselves until they can go back to work, or perhaps until they reach retirement age. Disability insurance allows workers who are unable to work for an extended period of time to receive income so that they can continue to support themselves while they heal.

Top 10 Best Rated Disability Insurance Providers

Social Security Disability is a government program that protects plan holders' income should they lose the ability to earn. The program is run by the Social Security Administration, which is now more than 80 years old.
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co. is an insurance company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. Founded in 1939, the company offers consumers disability insurance for when they are injured or sick.
Aflac is a large insurance company that offers a range of insurance policies, from life insurance to dental insurance. The company also offers short-term disability insurance, which pays benefits when a person is unable to work.
Mutual of Omaha is a large insurance and financial services company located in Omaha, Nebraska. The company offers a selection of disability insurance plans, including accident-only plans and accident and sickness plans.
Headquartered in New York, NY, MetLife is a company that is known for offering life insurance. MetLife also offers disability insurance, which consumers can purchase via their employer or through an individual plan.
Aetna is one of America's largest insurance providers. The company offers individual disability insurance plans, and they can cover lost income for weeks or months when a consumer is not able to work due to injury or illness.
Matrix Absence Management is a company that works with employers to provide people with disability insurance should they be unable to work. The company is a member of the Tokio Marine Group, and they are headquartered in Phoenix.
The Hartford is one America's oldest insurance companies, founded in 1810 in Hartford, CT. Today, the company offers a range of disability insurance policies, including long term and short term disability insurance.
Unum Insurance Company is an insurance company that was founded in 1848. The company is considered to be the leading provider of group disability benefits in the United States.
Liberty Mutual is one of America's biggest insurance companies, founded in 1912 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The company offers group disability plans that employers can provide employees.

Matthew Brodsky is an established expert on insurance, having written hundreds of articles and other pieces of content on the subject, interviewed countless practitioners, and attended dozens of conferences and events. He served as an editor at industry magazine Risk & Insurance for six years.

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What features matter most?

Cash benefit based on salary

Most types of disability insurance offer cash benefits based on how much salary policyholders would ordinarily receive if they were still able to work. These cash benefits allow users to continue supporting themselves and their families while they are unable to work.

  • Group short-term disability plans typically cover about 60% of regular salary: For every $100 the consumer usually makes, he or she will probably get about $60 via disability insurance. This money can help pay bills or buy food while the employee is unable to work.
  • Individual coverages may be higher: Users can purchase supplemental insurance to get up to $70 or $80 per every $100 they would normally earn, for instance.
  • Inflation riders: Users can purchase a rider for a small increase in premium that will increase their benefits each year, based on the rate of inflation.
  • Residual or partial payouts: A rider can be purchased on certain disability insurance policies that allow you to return to work part-time, receive partial salary and still receive payouts from your policy.
  • Individual factors in price: Besides how much salary a person earns, other factors that determine the price of disability insurance include: age, sex, current health condition, bad habits like smoking and type of job.

Benefit time period

Consumers can choose from two major types of disability insurance: short term and long term. Within each of these types, they can pick from varying lengths of coverage, with longer lengths generally costing more.

  • Short-term coverage: Short-term coverage is offered by many employers as a benefit; it allows for workers to collect disability benefits for a limited period of time, ranging from 30 days to two years.
  • Long-term coverage: Users who are permanently disabled or who are unable to work for longer than a year may need to rely on long-term coverage, which can last from 2 to 10 years, or for the rest of the insured’s lifetime.
  • Until retirement age: Users can elect to stop coverage once they reach retirement age. This often makes sense, as Social Security and other retirement benefits should begin to apply.

Group plans

Many employers offer group disability plans as a benefit of employment. These plans are purchased by employers at a discounted rate and are often cheaper for employees to sign up for than individual disability insurance. They typically include short-term disability coverage.

  • Pay up to 60% of salary: These plans typically cover up to 60 percent of the user's salary in the event of disability.
  • Often time- and benefit-limited: Group plans tend to offer short-term coverage, often lasting from 30 days to two years, although some employers may offer long-term policies. Payout benefits may not be as high as consumers could purchase on an individual basis.
  • Lower premiums: Users pay typically less premium each month for employer-sponsored insurance, and often payments are deducted automatically from pre-tax pay.

Individual coverage

In addition to group insurance, most disability insurance companies offer individual disability insurance. It can serve as supplemental insurance that offers additional benefits on top of employer-sponsored insurance, especially for providing longer benefit periods, or it can serve as stand-alone disability coverage.

  • Pay higher benefits: Individual insurance plans may offer benefits of as high as 80 percent of the user's base salary.
  • May be longer duration: Individual disability insurance can be used to provide a longer-term coverage than group plans.
  • Higher premiums: Individual supplements are generally more expensive than group plans.

Elimination period

The elimination period is the amount of time users have to wait after a disability begins before they can begin collecting benefits. Different insurance plans offer different elimination periods; longer periods translate to lower premiums, but policyholders must be certain they can afford to wait for benefits to kick in.

  • Standard elimination period: Employer-sponsored short-term disability plans can have an elimination period of zero to 14 days. Long-term disability insurance can have elimination periods from 30 days to one year.
  • Payment after elimination period: Something to be aware of is that individual disability policies commonly send monthly payments to insureds at the end of the month. So the first payment after a month-long elimination period would not reach a person until after the second month post-disability.
  • Lengthy elimination period: The longer the elimination period, the less expensive monthly premiums are, but users will have to wait longer before insurance kicks in after suffering a disability.

Locked-in premiums

Users can sometimes purchase disability insurance that has a locked-in premium, meaning the premium amount doesn't change regardless of economic conditions. It is often called non cancelable coverage.

  • Users pay same premium year after year: Locked-in premiums allow users to continue to pay the same amount over the course of years, making financial planning easier.
  • Installment vs. lump sum: Users may need to pay the same amount monthly or may be able to make one annual payment to get coverage.
  • Guaranteed renewable: Another option similar to non cancelable coverage is a policy that guarantees you can get the same benefits from the same insurance company every year. With this approach, however, the insurance carrier can raise your premiums in certain circumstances.
  • Return and waiver of premiums: Consumers can add additional features to a policy that will require insurance companies to return premiums if no claim has been made after a specific period of time, as well as waive further premium payments if an individual has been disabled for more than 90 days.

What are different types of Disability Insurance?

Long-term insurance

Long-term disability insurance covers people who are disabled and unable to work for a longer period of time. This type of insurance has longer time limits – from two years to a lifetime – so users don't have to worry about benefits running out if they are disabled for more than 90 days.

Short-term insurance

This coverage works best for injured or sick people who can go back to work within 30 days up to two years.

Governmental insurance

The government of the United States offers disability insurance in the form of Social Security payments. There is a lengthy application process for this type of insurance.

Own occupation insurance

Own occupation insurance covers people who are unable to perform their normal job duties because of a disabling condition.

Any occupation insurance

Any occupation insurance requires users to prove that they are unable to work at any job prior to receiving benefits.

Who's it for?

People who have been injured

Serious injuries may leave people unable to work for a period of time.

People who are recovering from surgery

Often, people are limited in their activities following surgeries. They may be bed-ridden or required to receive therapy, or they may not be allowed to lift heavy objects or drive for a period of time following surgery.

People who have a chronic condition

People with a heart condition, asthma or other life-threatening condition may not be able to work for a period of time or may not be able to fully perform job duties because of restrictions on their activity levels.

People who cannot work at all

People who have severe injuries, illnesses or other disabilities may not be able to work for the rest of their lives and need disability insurance to help them support themselves and their families.

Company reviews

  • Aflac

    Aflac is one of the best known American insurance companies. It offers various types of insurance, including disability insurance.

    • Real cost calculator online: Users can calculate the probable cost of medical care for injuries or illnesses prior to beginning a claim.
    • Health insurance as well as disability insurance: Users can purchase insurance to cover specific medical conditions or general medical care as well as disability insurance.
    • Short-term disability insurance available: sers can get short-term insurance to cover them when a temporarily disabling condition hits.
    • Lump-sum policies cover long-term illness: Although Aflac doesn't offer long-term disability insurance, users can get a lump-sum benefit for a critical illness, allowing them to continue to support themselves.
    • Rapid online claims processing: Users can file claims online and upload documents to get their benefits within 24 hours.
    • Best for People who have been injured, people recovering from surgery and people with a chronic condition.
  • The Hartford - Disability

    The Hartford offers a number of insurance options, including disability insurance. It offers a large number of options and unusual benefits. such as face-to-face or telephone counseling.

    • Offers multiple benefit options: Users can choose the percentage of their salary they want disability insurance to reimburse.
    • Offers both short-term and long-term disability insurance: Users can purchase the type of insurance they think is most likely to meet their needs.
    • Covers a wide variety of disabilities: Users who have back injuries, mental health issues and other problems that are not always covered can get disability insurance through this company.
    • Offers counseling: Users who are suffering from a disability can receive three face-to-face counseling sessions and unlimited phone counseling with associated providers.
    • Short-term insurance covers pregnancy: Users who cannot work while pregnant can get disability insurance benefits.
    • Best for People who have been injured, people recovering from surgery,, people with a chronic condition and people who cannot work at all.
  • Liberty Mutual - Disability

    Liberty Mutual has been providing a variety of insurance coverages to individuals since 1912. It is currently the third largest property and casualty insurance provider in the United States.

    • Offers integrated group plans for employers: Employers can purchase insurance for employees that includes both long-term and short-term options.
    • Offers additional tools for employers: Companies can get help with compliance with ADA regulations for employees with disabilities or monitor lost work time and track claims payments using online tools.
    • Return To Work Toolkit: The Return to Work Toolkit helps employees get back to work faster after suffering a disabling condition.
    • Fully functional online portal: Users can make and track claims online.
    • Full support for employees: Users can visit a regional center, make claims online or by telephone, or participate in an employee assistance program to get disability-related problems handled.
    • Best for People who have been injured, people recovering from surgery and people with a chronic condition.
  • Unum Insurance Company

    Unum is one of the oldest insurance companies in the United States, having first offered insurance prior to the Civil War. It became the first disability insurance provider in the United States in 1939.

    • Online tools to help users choose the right policy: Users can answer questions online to find out which disability policy is right for them.
    • Covers childbirth as well as short-term illnesses: People who cannot work while pregnant or due to complications of childbirth can take advantage of short-term disability benefits.
    • Individual supplement available: Consumers who depend on commissions or bonuses at work can purchase supplemental insurance to protect them in the event of a disabling condition.
    • Group plans for employers: Many users can purchase this insurance through their employers.
    • Offers clear information online: Users can find out exactly what each policy covers by looking at the company's website.
    • Best for People who have been injured and people recovering from surgery.
  • Prudential Disability Insurance

    Prudential has been offering insurance for over 140 years. It currently has offices in Asia and Europe as well as in both North and South America.

    • Offers group insurance: Users can purchase insurance through their employers.
    • Offers rehabilitation services: Users can get assistance with healing and getting back to work.
    • Offers partial benefits: People who can do some work but can't return to their full job duties may be able to get partial benefits while back on the job.
    • Can help employers with site modifications: Users can get assistance with getting modifications at work so that they can continue to perform jobs following the onset of a disability.
    • Paycheck deductions: Employees can have premiums deducted automatically from each paycheck prior to getting paid.
    • Best for People with a chronic condition.
  • MassMutual Disability Income Insurance

    MassMutual has been offering insurance since 1851. It is a mutually funded insurance company, which means that consumers are considered shareholders and are eligible to vote for the Board of Directors and/or receive dividends.

    • Retirement planning included: Users may be able to replace contributions to their retirement plans with some of the benefits they receive from this company's disability insurance.
    • Customizable policies: Consumers can choose the features that best meet their needs, such as policy length, inflation riders or supplemental services, and they can change their policies at any time.
    • Partial disability option: Users can elect to get partial disability coverage so that they can work in a limited capacity following a disability.
    • Inflation riders available: Users can elect to automatically add additional protection as their salary grows so that they will get more coverage when more is at stake.
    • Long and short-term insurance available: Users can get the insurance policies that best meet their needs as far as length of coverage.
    • Best for People recovering from surgery, people who have been injured and people with a chronic condition.
  • MetLife Disability Insurance

    MetLife is a well-known insurance company that has become famous for its commercials using characters from the "Peanuts" comic strip. It offers a variety of insurances, including disability insurance.

    • Offers real life stories on its website: Users can watch videos featuring people who became disabled so that they can learn more about disability insurance.
    • FAQ and tips online: MetLife offers a FAQ section and tips for dealing with disability insurance on its website.
    • Offers individual supplements: Consumers can purchase the exact insurance they need rather than depending on an employer-offered insurance plan.
    • Offers both short- and long-term insurance: People who are disabled for a long period of time don't have to worry about their benefits running out.
    • Online calculator helps people figure out their insurance needs: MetLife's online calculator predicts how much insurance people will need if they become disabled for various periods of time.
    • Best for People with chronic conditions, people who have been injured and people recovering from surgery.
  • Mutual of Omaha Disability Insurance

    Mutual of Omaha is a mutually funded insurance company headquartered in Nebraska. It offers insurance in almost every state via its 4,900 associates.

    • Location-specific plans: Users can provide their address to receive policies customized to their region, browse plans online or get general information if they don't want to provide a location.
    • Offers needs assessment calculator: Consumers can determine how much coverage they need by using this online tool.
    • Guaranteed renewable: Insureds can renew their policy annually until they reach the age of 67, regardless of their health status.
    • Offers business overhead expense insurance: Individuals who own their own business may want to purchase a plan that covers overhead expenses if they become too disabled to run their business.
    • Offers accident-only plan: Users who are in good health and don't want to pay a lot can purchase a policy that covers short-term disability only in the event of an accident.
    • Best for People who have been injured and people who are recovering from surgery.

11 – 16 Best Rated Disability Insurance Providers

The Standard Insurance Company offers individual disability insurance plans to consumers. The company has three disability insurance plan options, including Protector Platinum, Protector+ and Protector Essential.
Prudential is a large insurance and financial services company, and they offer customers a range of products, including life insurance and retirement accounts. The company offers group disability insurance plans for employers.
Cigna offers short-term disability insurance plans to employers and employees. The company is headquartered in Bloomfield, CT, and they have been offering insurance solutions since 1982.
Assurant, founded in 1892, provides niche-market insurance solutions, including health, life, property insurance and more. The company offers payment protection to individuals, should they lose their ability to earn.
Phoenix Home Life Insurance was founded in 1851 and to this day provides help to protect their customers futures in preparation for retirement.
Headquartered in Springfield, MA, MassMutual Financial Group is a company that was founded in 1851. The company offers individuals disability income insurance to protect their income should they experience an inability to work.