When shopping for Own Occupation coverage to protect your specialty, it is important to learn about all options that are available to you as well as paying attention to the price-per-dollar of coverage. This is why we wanted to make you aware of product changes at Guardian.
A quick disclaimer as we begin, to let you know that we are not supporting Guardian specifically as the must go-to for your disability insurance planning as they are just one of several options we look at for clients.
But, if you want to customize your plan type by being able to choose your partial disability rider option, often called the Residual Rider, while also being able to select the type of Future Purchase Option, you may be in luck now with the newer version of the Premier product that goes live the 22nd.
**Please note this doesn’t change any current contracts that are active as those policies are guaranteed to renew based upon the product you purchased at the time of approval.**
Now let’s dive in on some of the fundamentals that we know about, while we wait for the full launch to occur February 22, 2021.
The definition of disability is now tied to the package option that you choose to select, so be careful not to think, “Hey! I bought Guardian so I know my product is solid!” as customization can make it better or worse. These are the base contract definitions to now
o Premier = True Own Occupation for the full benefit period you select
o Select = Two-year Own Occupation with Not Engaged language thereafter
o Essential = Two-year of Own Occupation Not Engaged, then the policy changes to
unable to do any occupation thereafter
*Please see our Disability Options Guide for further explanations of carrier definitions.
All Guardian riders are now “a-la-carte” and can be selected to fully customize how you design the policy once you have selected your definition of disability; which in turn drives the policy series.
Plus, there is a New Partial Enhancement program where the insured can upgrade from Basic to Enhanced Partial without future medical underwriting, if their employment changes from W2 to Self Employed.
This may be too many details for some but could be a way to reduce the costs while in training. Because the Basic partial disability rider costs less for a W2 resident you can save now, while knowing that you can upgrade it to their Enhanced Partial Disability Rider if/when you start your own practice. Be mindful that you will have to remember to do that or at claim time you might have less than what you had wanted.
Another interesting change is being able to select the type of mental/nervous rider on the contract. And you can choose a full mental nervous option that lasts throughout your benefit period depending on your medical specialty as that drives eligibility. Other selections are a 24-month mental/nervous limit that gives you a 10% discount or you may go with their new option of a 12-month limit which gives you a 12.5% discount.
Making moves such as this may be confusing when learning about products in general and choosing the basic residual will also require you having to remember when you may qualify and what paperwork to submit.
This is why working with an independent insurance advisor will be important for you when shopping so you may look at the whole picture; to determine what type of contract is good for you now and also in the future. For other complimentary resources to help you with your Disability Insurance Shopping, please see our:
Free Physician Checklist &
Physician Guide to Disability Insurance
Pro Tip: These product changes can keep the costs lower now on the Guardian contract and allows for increased protection later on their contract later. All carriers will have different pricing based upon these variables:
- The contract base cost depending on gender and your specific benefit amounts in the state that you reside in;
- The benefit period and the elimination period (waiting period) you choose at application and what you have purchased at approval;
- What optional riders you have selected such as COLA, CAT, mental/nervous type; and
- Whether or not your employer has a discount available for you
We recommend taking a look at all carrier options so you can find the right blend that fits your needs and your budget. This can be done through an independent broker who can educate you on the product type, contract definitions and that can get you access to the best discounts in the nation.
Any company is good at taking your premium dollars but our goal is to understand what your expectations are at claim time so that we can build a contract with terms needed to meet those expectations. We never want to have a situation where someone feels that ‘The carrier found a loophole’, so let’s build it right and there won’t be any disappointments in the future.