What is Own Occupation Disability Insurance?

What is Own Occupation Disability Insurance?


Own Occupation Insurance allows you to file a claim for disability even if you can still work in another occupation

Disability Insurance is the first financial stepping stone to protecting your income from the financial risk associated with losing your income should you become sick or injured and you are unable to work.  Every disability policy outlines the specific degree in which you would have to be disabled in order to qualify when filing a claim for coverage.  This explanation can be found in your policy definition for “Total Disability.”  Disability Insurance policies can differ on their definition of what they consider a total disability to be and it’s imperative that you pay close attention to the language of this definition.  Ultimately what you want to have is a policy that provides a definition of Total Disability known as Own Occupation.

Own Occupation Disability Insurance (Specialty Specific or Regular Occupation) is a policy that provides a definition of Total Disability where you are considered totally disabled and eligible for your full disability benefit when you are unable to work in your occupation.  It will read “EXACTLY” like this

Total Disability or Total Disability Means that soley due to sickness or injury, you are not able to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation. 

— DInamic Foundation Ameritas Definition of Total Disability

Your Occupation means the occupation or occupations that you were engaged in, based on the duties you were performing for wage or profit, at the time disability began. If you are not employed at the time of disability, your occupation means any occupation you are able to perform based on your education, training and experience.

— DInamic Foundation Ameritas Definition of what your Occupation means

If you are a physician or dentist and have limited your duties to the performance of the usual and customary functions of a specific, professionally recognized medical or dental specialty, we will consider that specialty your occupation. 

— DInamic Foundation Ameritas Specialty Specific Language for Physicians and Dentists

This means that under an Own Occupation Definition for Total Disability when you become disabled you can collect your full benefit even if you choose to work somewhere else.

If you are a physician, Own-Occupation disability insurance is NOT provided through your employer-sponsored Long Term Disability policy and is only available for purchase individually from one of these 6 disability carriers:

Ameritas – Guardian – MassMutual – Ohio National – Principal – The Standard

What type of disability coverage should you avoid?

Transitional Own Occupation provides a definition for a total disability that allows you to claim benefits even if you choose to work somewhere else however this policy will take into account your earnings from your new job while you are disabled and your disability benefits will be reduced as you earn income.

Own Occupation Not Engaged (Modified Own Occupation) provides a definition for total disability that restricts your ability to work completely.  Unlike a Transitional Occupation policy, a Not Engaged definition of Total Disability will not pay any benefit if you are working in another job.  You will not be forced to work in another job but you will forfeit your right to collect any coverage if you elect to do so.

Any Occupation provides the strictest definition of Total Disability.  Under this definition of Total Disability, you will only be considered disabled if you are unable to work in any occupation for which you able to work based on your education, training, and experience.

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