How does disability insurance work?

Short term disability income insurance helps fill in the financial gaps if your paycheck stops because of sickness or injury.

What Haven Disability can offer you

If you suffer a disability that prevents you from working, Haven Disability helps you stay on track with the bills that matter.

Haven Disability at a glance

Product type Short term disability income insurance
Issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual)
Application Digital
Age eligibility 18-55
Coverage amounts $500 - $5,000
Benefit period options 3, 6, and 12 months
Elimination period options 14, 30, and 60 days
Premiums paid Monthly or annually
Benefit payments Tax-free
Guaranteed renewable To age 65
Availability All states except CA, DE, FL, MT, ND, NY, SD, and WY (more coming soon)

Learn how disability insurance works

The basics

Why disability insurance?

If you're like most Americans, missing even one paycheck could put a serious strain on your finances. And unfortunately, it's more likely to happen than you might think. According to the Social Security Administration, more than 1 in 4 of today's 20-year-olds will experience a disability before their retirement age that prevents them from working for at least a year.

That's where disability income insurance comes in. If you're sick or injured and can't work, your short term disability policy will help support you financially in a time of total disability.

Who needs disability coverage?

Most people are likely to benefit from disability insurance, but there are some situations in which coverage is especially important. Those include:

  • If your income is needed to pay some or all of your family's important monthly expenses (especially single parents)
  • If you have a physically demanding job
  • If you don't have enough emergency savings to cover your most important bills for several months

Basically, if the thought of missing multiple paychecks causes you to sweat, disability insurance might be a good idea. On the other hand, if you're retired, your income isn't reliant on earning a paycheck, you have a partner whose income could comfortably pay the bills, or you have multiple months of emergency savings to lean on during a temporary disability, you may not have an urgent need for short term disability insurance.

How does disability insurance work?

What is disability insurance?

There are two main types of disability insurance: short term and long term. Which you should choose depends on your situation, and many will find having both types of disability insurance coverage makes sense.

Short term disability policies, such as Haven Disability, are intended to cover immediate needs if you're unable to work for a short period of time. The benefits can begin after as little as 14 days of disability, and last between 3 months and one year.

Long term disability insurance is intended to cover more serious illnesses and injuries that leave you unable to work for much longer periods. With long term disability insurance, the benefits typically last for years, but you may also need to wait longer to begin receiving benefits.

What does disability insurance cover?

Haven Disability helps replace lost income if you can't work because of a total disability. Since it's an important term, we have to be extra specific about what that means. (Apologies for the legalese.) A total disability occurs when...

  • You have a condition caused by sickness or injury that prevents you from doing the important tasks, functions and operations generally required for your occupation that can’t be reasonably omitted or modified
  • You're under a doctor’s care
  • The disability begins while the policy is in force

We consider your occupation to be your regular profession(s) or business(es) at the start of a disability for which you receive or can receive remuneration.

What isn’t covered by Haven Disability?

There are some disabilities that may cause you to miss work for an extended period, but aren't eligible for Haven Disability benefits in most cases. These include (but aren't limited to):

  • Normal pregnancy and childbirth
  • Substance abuse
  • Most cosmetic surgery
  • Self-inflicted injuries

Terms you should know

We try to keep insurance jargon to a minimum, but there are some terms we can't avoid. Don't worry - they're all pretty simple once you know what they mean.

Monthly benefit

Your monthly benefit is the amount of money you'll receive each month if you're sick or injured and can't work. With Haven Disability, you can choose a monthly benefit from $500 to $5,000 per month.

There's also a maximum of 60% of your income. If you earn $4,000 per month before taxes, the highest monthly benefit payment you could choose is $2,400. But, since Haven Disability is purchased with after-tax money, disability benefits are tax-free. A monthly benefit payment of $2,400 means you'll receive $2,400.

Benefit period

Your benefit period is the maximum amount of time you'll receive benefits for each approved disability claim if you're sick or injured and can't work. With Haven Disability, you can choose a benefit period of either 3, 6, or 12 months.

Elimination period

Your elimination period is the amount of time you'll need to be disabled before you're eligible for the disability benefit. Haven Disability offers elimination periods of 14, 30, and 60 days. With a 14 day elimination period, you'd be eligible for benefits if you suffer a disability that prevents you from working for more than two weeks.

That doesn't mean you have to wait for your elimination period to pass before filing a claim. If it's clear you'll be unable to work for an extended period, it's best to file as soon as possible so we can get to work processing your disability claim. However, monthly benefits don't begin to accrue until the end of the elimination period.

We've got your back

...and MassMutual has ours. Every Haven Disability policy is issued by MassMutual, one of the country’s oldest and most reliable insurers.

Finding the right fit

Who is eligible for Haven Disability?

To qualify for Haven Disability, you'll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Between 18 and 55 years old
  • Actively working at least 25 hours per week
  • Earn at least $30,000 per year in an hourly or salaried (W2) job
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Not active military or in the process of enlisting
  • Not been convicted of a felony in the past 10 years

How is Haven Disability different from employer-provided plans?

If you receive short term disability insurance through your employer, great! Group policies are typically a little less expensive than individual, and in many cases the employer pays for the coverage entirely. It's a nice perk. However, there are some differences between employer-provided and individual disability insurance you should be aware of.

If your employer pays for your short term disability insurance, or if you pay for it with pre-tax money, the disability benefits you receive will likely be subject to taxes. That means you may not have quite as much coverage as you think.

We can't offer Haven Disability to anyone planning to replace an existing disability policy, but it can be used to supplement your coverage. If your workplace disability policy won't quite cover your monthly bills, choosing a small individual policy may help fill the gap.

Second, employer-provided policies are tied to your current workplace. If your job situation changes, you'll likely lose your disability benefits. Individual policies like Haven Disability are portable, which means you can take it with you if you leave your employer.

Once you're approved for Haven Disability, you'll have the option to renew until age 65. That can be a big deal if your health situation changes later, preventing you from being approved for disability coverage.

What if I have a pre-existing condition?

Having a pre-existing condition doesn't mean you'll automatically be denied coverage. In most cases you can still purchase coverage, but disabilities caused by the pre-existing condition may not be covered.

Disabilities caused by a pre-existing condition we ask about on the application won’t be covered if the disability begins before the policy has been in force for 24 months. Disabilities caused by a pre-existing condition we don’t ask about won’t be covered if the disability begins before the policy has been in force for 12 months. Disabilities that begin after those periods have elapsed are not excluded.

For reference, a pre-existing condition is one for which (whether disclosed in the application or not)...

  • Symptoms existed that would reasonably cause an ordinarily prudent person to seek diagnosis, care, or treatment within the year before the policy issue date, or
  • Medical advice, diagnostic testing, or treatment was recommended or received by a physician within the two years before the policy issue date, or
  • A qualified health professional prescribed drugs or medication within the two years before the policy issue date.

You're nearly at expert status

If you’ve read this far, it probably means you’re pretty dedicated to making smart financial decisions. We appreciate that about you. If you’re ready to see the numbers, it might be time to get an estimate using our quote tool:

Taking a look at the numbers

How much does a disability policy cost?

The answer to how much short term disability insurance costs is "it depends." Haven Disability can cost less than $10 a month in some cases, but in most cases the premiums will be higher.

Some of the factors that may affect your premium are your age, gender, and occupation. The policy options you choose also have a large impact on how much you'll pay per month.  A larger monthly benefit or a longer benefit period will increase the premium, as will choosing a shorter elimination period.

Disability insurance rates by age and coverage amount

The easiest way to find out how much Haven Disability policy will cost for you is to get a quote. But if you'd rather see some numbers first, we totally get it. The example rates for people in a few different situations below should help give you an idea. (They're all calculated for non-smokers from WA in good health. Refer to important information about policy limitations and exclusions.)

25-year-old woman, graphic designer

$500 monthly benefit $1,500 monthly benefit $3,000 monthly benefit
3 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$8.28/mo $18.85/mo $34.70/mo
6 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$10.46/mo $25.39/mo $47.78/mo
12 month benefit period
(30 day elimination period)
$12.51/mo $31.53/mo $60.07/mo

30-year-old man, server

$500 monthly benefit $1,500 monthly benefit $3,000 monthly benefit
3 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$10.28/mo $24.83/mo $46.66/mo
6 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$14.81/mo $38.44/mo $73.88/mo
12 month benefit period
(30 day elimination period)
$16.81/mo $44.42/mo $85.85/mo

35-year-old woman, retail sales

$500 monthly benefit $1,500 monthly benefit $3,000 monthly benefit
3 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$8.85/mo $20.55/mo $38.09/mo
6 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$11.52/mo $28.57/mo $54.14/mo
12 month benefit period
(30 day elimination period)
$13.79/mo $35.37/mo $67.73/mo

40-year-old man, executive assistant

$500 monthly benefit $1,500 monthly benefit $3,000 monthly benefit
3 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$8.15/mo $18.44/mo $33.88/mo
6 month benefit period
(14 day elimination period)
$10.77/mo $26.30/mo $49.60/mo
12 month benefit period
(30 day elimination period)
$12.49/mo $31.47/mo $59.95/mo

Curious what your quote will be?

Finding out is faster and easier than you might think. Pinky swear.

You're done researching. What's next?

How to buy disability insurance

We pride ourselves on offering a simple way to purchase dependable and affordable disability insurance coverage online. And the 4.8 out of 5-star rating from our customers reflects our efforts. Here’s what you can expect when you’re buying disability insurance from the comfort of your couch:

1. Get a quote

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how much coverage you need.

2. Apply online

Like what you see? Complete our streamlined digital application in minutes and get an instant decision.

3. Rest assured

If you get sick or injured and your claim is approved, we've got your back.

How to file a claim

We’ve made our claims as simple as possible, and our dedicated support will be with you every step of the way.

1. Notify us of your disability

Fill out our simple digital claims form if you get sick or injured and can't work.

2. We'll immediately review your claim

If approved, you'll receive your benefits in as little as 7 days.

3. Focus on what matters

We'll help you cover your most important bills, so you can focus on getting better.

Still have questions?

What else should I know?

We get it. There's a lot to learn. If you're really into the details, you can check out our FAQ page for more information, or contact our support team if you don't see an answer to your question. We're happy to help.

Our promise to you

You buy disability insurance so you can cover your most important expenses if you're too sick or injured to work. That’s a big responsibility and one we take very seriously. It’s why we work hard with our parent company, MassMutual, to develop dependable products and strive to build meaningful connections with our customers that go far beyond the traditional agency-to-policyholder relationship.

We promise to provide dependable coverage backed by an industry leader

We promise to treat you like more than just a policy number

We promise to never stop learning and looking for ways to improve

We promise to provide you with support that’s knowledgeable, caring and friendly

We promise to try to make this whole insurance thing something you can enjoy

pinky_promise 2

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1 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its subsidiaries C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company are rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of February 1, 2021 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.