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Disability insurance is insurance that pays cash benefits to a policyholder (or beneficiary) in the event the insured is unable to work due to an accident or illness.  There are several different types of disability insurance, each designed for a specific purpose.

There are two basic types of policies. An "own occupation" policy provides benefits so long as you cannot perform the duties of your own occupation. An "any occupation" policy stops paying benefits as soon as you are able to return to "any occupation for which you are qualified by reason of education, experience, or training".

All disability insurance have the following components:

The Elimination Period is the period of time which you must be disabled before the insurance company will begin to pay benefits. Elimination periods may range from 0 days to 365 days.

The Benefit Period is the period of time that the insurance company will continue to pay benefits after you become disabled. Benefit periods may range from 1 year to Lifetime.

Benefit Amounts under disability policies are paid monthly. Depending on occupation, a person can generally qualify for a benefit between 50% to 65% of his or her normal gross income.

There are various factors that affect the price of disability insurance. As with many other types of insurance, your health is an important factor. Tobacco use is another important factor. Of course, benefit levels will also affect the price of your policy: the higher the benefits, the higher the price.  Another factor that will affect the price of your policy is your occupation. Statistically speaking, different occupations lead to different rates of disability. Therefore, the risk attributed to your occupation will determine, to a large extent, the price that you will pay for your disability insurance.

Your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is not affected by any private insurance you may have.