Determining whether a disability will qualify you for a claim depends upon the policy’s “definition of disability”. It’s not something where one type of disability is covered and another may not be just because it’s a different kind. It’s about whether your specific disability is covered under policy’s definition of disability.
The definition of disability is the most important factor under any disability insurance policy. A disability insurance policy will have 1 of 3 definition options (varies by carrier – some may only offer one definition, others may offer more than one as it would then depend upon type of disability policy being set up (e.g. long-term vs. short-term, group vs. individual, etc.)) – 1) True Own Occupation, 2) Modified Own Occupation, and 3) Gainful Occupation.
True Own Occupation is the most desirable definition you can have on a disability policy. This says that you are considered completely disabled if (due to injury or sickness) you are not able to perform the duties of your job, EVEN IF YOU ARE WORKING AT ANOTHER JOB (this last part is key!).
Modified Own Occupation is the most common definition that policies offer in today’s marketplace. Under this definition, you are completely disabled if (due to injury or sickness) you are not able to perform the duties of your job, AND ARE NOT WORKING IN ANY OTHER JOB (again, this last part is key!).
Gainful Occupation is typically seen in group disability policies and policies offered by property and casualty companies that offer disability policies. This definition is the most stringent saying that you can’t work in your own occupation and unable to work in any gainful occupation for a period of time (e.g. 12 months, 24 months, etc. – can vary by company).
Also, whether you want to buy a short-term disability policy or a long-term disability policy is important too. You can have a combination of both.
I would recommend reviewing your needs and goals with an independent agent who works with multiple carriers and can help determine the program structure that will best serve your needs because disability policies are very customizable as there are a number of additional options to choose from that affect the rates. It’s not a “just pick and choose who has the lowest rates” type of insurance – you really want to make sure you’ve got the right coverage for what you’re trying to accomplish.
I hope the information is helpful – please feel free to contact me for help with your coverage and if you have any other questions. Thanks very much.