Guardian Disability Insurance Review 2023

Guardian Disability Insurance Review 2023

Choosing the right disability insurance company is crucial. We are dedicated to reviewing the top providers to make this process easy for you. Here, you will find a comprehensive review of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

Guardian Berkshire Insurance Company

The Guardian Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America is one of the most reputable insurance companies in the USA. The company was started in 1860 by a group of 21 prominent German American businessmen at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York led by lawyer Hugo Wesendonck. It was named Germania Life Insurance Company of America before being renamed The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America in 1918 and converted to a mixed stock and mutual company in 1925.

The company is headquartered in New York, with Andrew McMahon as the president and CEO. It’s grown into one of the biggest disability insurance companies in the world and offers its own occupation and other products to policyholders.

What is Guardian’s disability insurance policy?

Guardian Insurance offers several long-term and short-term policies. Here is a breakdown:

True own occupation disability insurance cover

This a guaranteed renewable and non-cancelable cover with a 30 to 720 days elimination period based on the underwriting and premiums. The benefits period starts from 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and from age 65 to 70. Features include automatic benefit enhancement, occupational rehabilitation, hospice care, waiver premium, and unemployment premium suspension.

Individual disability insurance policy

Another great way to get disability benefits is through the individual policy. This cover protects the policyholder from income and injury. It’s also called a private cover because it only covers one individual who pays the premiums directly. It’s a non-cancellable policy with a 90-day elimination period. The monthly benefit will begin once you provide evidence of the disability.

Group disability

Employers can take advantage of the group disability cover to protect their employees from those unpredictable situations. It covers more than one individual, which reduces the premiums. There must be at least 10 employees for this to work effectively. Short-term policies can start paying benefit periods within 14 days, while long-term ones start at 90 days.

Short-term disability insurance from Guardian

Short-term disability insurance covers replacing a percentage of the holder’s income through weekly benefits when they experience temporary injuries that prevent them from effectively working. This is an ideal policy for situations where you cannot work for a short period – you are reimbursed for about 60% of the wages you lose. You can take advantage of this as a rider when taking a medical student loan. A holder can place a disability insurance claim and get paid within 14 days. The waiting period is usually shorter, though. Consider this as you would a social security disability, which shields you from temporary loss of earnings.

Long-term disability insurance from Guardian

This is a disability income insurance that pays the policyholder a portion of their monthly earnings when they become disabled. Unlike the short-term policy, which covers partial disability, the long-term disability policy from Guardian covers serious injuries that can keep one from work for three months or more. It also covers permanent disabilities. Choose this policy if you need financial strength during your most vulnerable times.

Universal life insurance

This is a policy with disability coverage that goes for a lifetime. The cash value depends on the current interest rates. The death and premium payments for these insurance plans are flexible.

Available Riders

Disability insurance riders allow you to earn more or get more future increase options from a policy. However, they increase the cost of a policy.

Here are the common optional riders for Guardian Insurance:

  • Basic partial disability benefit. This is for an injury or medical condition that does not cause total disability.
  • Enhanced partial disability rider. This rider offers benefits when you suffer an income loss of more than 15% due to sickness or injury.
  • Student loan protection. Get extra money to pay student loans according to the provider’s choice. It’s especially useful for dentists, physicians, and anyone else who has invested heavily in education.
  • Lump sum disability rider. Get a bonus at age 60, equal to 35% of all total and/or partial benefits you paid until the day the disability started.
  • Future increase option. You can increase coverage in the future as per the increase in your earnings.
  • Retirement protection. This rider replaces the contributions you would have made to your total disability plan, protecting your retirement savings.
  • Cost of living adjustment. Your benefits are increased to meet the rising inflation.

How Guardian Long-Term Disability Denials Work

As per the definition of disability from Guardian Insurance, a policyholder will get long-term disability benefits after a loss of income from a permanent injury or illness. However, some claimants find their claims rejected. This will happen if you don’t meet the definition of disability in the underwriting, and the company will send you a letter explaining why it was denied. Also, you will receive a notification if you are receiving benefits, and then they stop. An insurance policy will always have a disclaimer, which is important information for such situations.

Read the denial letter carefully to understand its contents before filing any appeal. The letter will also have instructions on how you can appeal. Some of the reasons to deny a claim include the following:

  • Insufficient evidence of disability
  • Missed deadlines
  • Video surveillance
  • Guardian has its own doctors who will do the evaluation.
  • Own occupation/any occupation policy underwriting

Before signing any policy, it’s crucial to read and understand the underwriting. This will come in handy when you file a claim. For instance, long-term disability plans may require the claimant to be disabled from their own occupation.

Complaints About Guardian Disability Insurance

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers data and crucial information to customer experience for many insurance coverages. To rate it, they will come across various disability insurance products, the company’s market share, and reputation. The baseline is 1.0 – a company with anything above 1.0 has received more complaints than expected.

The Guardian insurance has a rating score of 0.64. This means it has received very few complaints for a specific period.

Third-Party Ratings of Guardian Disability Insurance

Guardian disability insurance benefits provide policyholders with an alternative income – and it actually pays. And because of its market position, it has received an AM Best rating of A++. This means The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is a strong and stable company that is likely to meet its obligations. This rating is the highest from AM Best.

The company also received a score of 775 (slightly below the industry limit of 776) out of a 1000-point scale in the 2021 J.D. Power Individual Life Insurance Study. It’s a measure of how well customers perceive any Guardian policy and its services.

How do Disability Insurance Claims work?

The disability insurance claim is relatively the same for all providers. As long as you have the policy, you can claim it any time when you meet the requirements. Here are the steps:

  • Review your eligibility. Check the definition of disability by the provider.
  • File the claim. You can get the claim form easily from the website or insurance offices.
  • Get a medical certification. Guardian Insurance uses its own doctor to assess your condition.
  • Approval. Wait for the determination of your eligibility status.
  • Start/ stop getting the benefits.

It’s that simple. If your claim is denied, you can appeal through legal channels, as indicated in the letter.

Wealthcare’s Rating of Guardian Disability Insurance

Guardian is among the best disability insurance for group and individual policies. We compared it to many other insurance companies, and it stood out in the following areas:

  • Customer satisfaction. The company offers high-quality service standards. Low customer complaints mean it’s a reputable, trustworthy brand.
  • Services. The individual disability policy replaces your income when you become disabled. They also offer group plans cover, a type of insurance that replaces your worker’s compensation packages when they face a critical illness or injury and are unable to work. It has DI cover for white collars and insurance for new professionals, offering flexibility.
  • Easy underwriting. We discovered the process is quite simple. They come with a clear definition of disability and other features that make the applicant feel comfortable.
  • Financial strength. With high ratings from AM and Fitch, it’s clear that Guardian insurance has a strong financial foundation to meet its obligation.

We collected more than 4000 data points for over 50 insurers across New York, California, and the surrounding regions and compared them using 100 metrics. We placed the metrics in categories to see how each insurer performed. Guardian received an overall score of 7 from the 100 metrics, making it a recommendable insurer.

Common Questions About Guardian Disability Insurance?

Does Berkshire own guardian?

In July 2001, Guardian merged with Berkshire Life Insurance Company. So, Berkshire is a subsidiary of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. It maintains autonomy as a standalone, responsible for its own claims and liabilities.

Is getting disability insurance worth it?

Yes. Life is quite unpredictable, and you may lose your ability to work at any time. Disability insurance replaces your earnings. Always compare several insurance quotes and underwritings before choosing one, though.

What is the difference between Guardian and Berkshire?

Guardian insurance merged with Berkshire in 2001, through which it started offering disability insurance services. Both companies enjoy autonomy as standalone, with their claims and liabilities.

Does the government offer disability benefits?

Yes. The government provides free or low-cost medical benefits for disabled people through Medicaid. However, it’s much more challenging to qualify than with private companies.

What does Guardian Insurance cover?

Guardian Insurance offers various products. These include term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and disability insurance.

What is the cost of Guardian Insurance?

The cost of life insurance is average at Guardian insurance. The exact price will depend on the specific policy you choose, your age, and the riders that come with it. Check out this table:

What is a disability policy?

A disability policy is an insurance cover that replaces your income when you become disabled through an injury or disease; then, you are not able to work in your occupation. You pay monthly premiums, just like any other insurance policy.

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