1. Jason GoldenzweigPRO
    Co-Founder, TermInsuranceBrokers.com, Goldenzweig Financial Group, Haymarket, Virginia
    The purpose of disability insurance is to provide income if you are unable to continue your work for an extended period of time due to an illness or and injury. In disability insurance, there are 3 types of definitions that a policy can use - the definition of disability in the policy is the MOST CRITICAL item to look at in your coverage. As to which policy features which definition, you need to look at which carrier you're using and what definition options their policies offer.

    The 3 definitions of disability that a policy can use are true own occupation, modified own occupation, and gainful occupation.

    True Own Occupation (commonly referred to as "own-occ") is the most favorable definition you can have on your policy. This definition says that you are considered totally disabled if, solely due to injury or sickness, you are not able to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, even if you are at work in another occupation. 

    Modified Own Occupation has become the most common definition that most disability policies offer today. The first part of the modified definition is similar to the True Own Occupation definition, however, the second part of the modified definition is where the major change comes into play. The definition says that you are considered totally disabled if, solely due to injury or sickness, you are not able to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, and are NOT engaged in any other occupation.

    Gainful Occupation is a definition that is more commonly seen in group disability plans or plans offered by property and casualty companies that offer disability coverage. This definition provides the least coverage out of every disability plan. If you have a disability plan with this definition, you may want to look at securing coverage with a modified or true own occupation definition - or at the very least supplement the coverage. Many people who are looking for the cheapest disability plan will often end up with this definition on their policy

    Disability insurance is a very complex type of insurance with many moving parts and quotes depend on a variety of factors. You cannot simply shop for a disability policy as you would for a term life insurance policy. For this type of coverage, you want to work with agents that have in-depth knowledge of products, how disability insurance works, and experience with these programs to help you through the process from start to finish.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!
    Answered on May 2, 2014
  2. J Paul Wilson CFP CLUPRO
    Certified Financial Planner, JPW Insurance Retirement Investments, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Occupation Disability Insurance is usually defined as "own" occupation or "any"occupation. I can only provide you with a general understanding since the wording is specific to each policy.

    A policy could define disability as not being able to perform the duties of "any" occupation based on your education, training or experience. An "own" occupation definition means you unable to perform the main duties of your occupation. This means that you will be paid disability benefits even if you are working and being paid to do something else. For example a surgeon cannot perform surgery, but can work as a doctor.

    Some policies provide own occupation protection for 2 years or 5 years while others provide coverage to age 65

    If you have further questions, or feel that I could be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    If you would like to work with a local life insurance broker, you could start with a Google search. For example, if you search for: life insurance broker Halifax or life insurance agent Halifax, my name, along with several others, will come up. You can use the same method to find a life insurance broker in your community.
    Answered on May 2, 2014

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