Disability Insurance: Exploring the Future Increase Option Rider

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Is it worth investing in a rider from your insurance provider that grants you secure additional coverage and the flexibility to enhance your disability insurance benefit amount down the line?

The future increase option rider can help you increase coverage as your future income increases

The Future Purchase Option: Enhancing Your Disability Insurance Over Time

The Future Purchase Option is a critical rider within disability insurance policies that empowers you to augment your own purchasing disability insurancebenefits as your earnings grow. This feature essentially secures your right to boost the monthly benefits of your disability insurance in the future, adapting as your financial situation evolves.

This option is particularly appealing to individuals in the early stages of high-earning professions—such as medical residents, dental students, or law students—who may not currently have the financial flexibility to secure the full extent of disability insurance coverage they ultimately will require. It offers a strategic way to ensure they can enhance their coverage in the future, bypassing the need for a medical exam or underwriting at the time of the increase.

If you’re navigating the early years of a career in medicine, dentistry, or law, and find the current premiums for comprehensive disability group coverageout of reach, this rider is designed for you. It’s also a prudent choice for professionals who currently have adequate group disability coverage through their employer but are seeking to supplement this with a portable policy that can be adjusted in the future.

Consider a scenario where your employer’s disability policy covers 60% of your income, and you’ve secured a supplemental policy for an additional 20%. If you’re contemplating a job change within the next five years—a move that would result in the loss of your employer-provided coverage—the future purchase option becomes invaluable. It allows the insurance carrier andyou to elevate your supplemental coverage from covering 20% of your income to 80%, ensuring continuous protection without the need for new medical assessments.

The Future Purchase Option: Varieties and Their Distinctions

Future Purchase Option in disability insurance encompasses a range of riders, each designed to allow policyholders to augment their coverage in response to changing financial circumstances. Though often grouped under the umbrella term “future purchase option,” these riders can differ significantly in terms of availability, cost, and conditions for increasing policyholder’s coverage Here’s an overview of the various types of future purchase options and what sets them apart.

Future Increase Option Rider (FIO)

The Future Increase Option Rider stands out by offering policyholders the flexibility to elect additional coverage andto enhance their coverage at any future date. Opting for this rider typically incurs an additional cost. Notably, only a select few companies, including Guardian, MassMutual, and Ameritas, provide the FIO rider. This option is particularly valuable for those who anticipate significant income increases or career advancements and wish to ensure their disability coverage keeps pace without undergoing further medical underwriting.

Benefit Increase Rider/Benefit Update

The Benefit Increase Rider, also known as the Benefit Update, is designed to facilitate the adjustment of coverage amounts every three years to align monthly benefit amountwith increases in the policyholder’s income. Remarkably, this rider is often included in policies at no extra premium, making it an economical choice for individuals seeking to maintain coverage that reflects their growing financial success without additional costs.

Benefit Purchase Rider

The Benefit Purchase Rider offers a targeted approach, allowing policyholders to acquire additional coverage during specific circumstances without the need for additional medical underwriting These circumstances include experiencing a significant income increase of more than 50%—commonly occurring after completing medical residency, dental, or law school—losing group policy coverage, or at predetermined intervals, typically every three years.

Most future purchase options are available during the initial 10 years of the long-term disability insurance policy, providing a window of opportunity for policyholders to adjust their coverage as their careers and earnings evolve. Understanding the nuances of these riders can empower individuals to make informed decisions about how best to protect their income with disability and life insurance policies that adapts to their life’s changes.

Who Benefits from a Future Purchase Option Rider?

Purchasing disability insurance with the opportunity to purchase additional coverage through a future increase option rider could be a smart move

The future purchase option rider is an essential tool for individuals anticipating significant income growth or considering leaving their group disability coverage within a short period, such as the upcoming three to five years. This rider is strategically valuable, enabling policyholders to increase their insurance coverage in response to their changing financial situation without undergoing further medical examinations.

While there is an additional cost associated more coveragewith this rider, reallocating those funds towards a larger initial policy might seem like a more straightforward solution for those seeking immediate, comprehensive coverage. This approach could be more cost-effective for individuals not expecting major changes in their income level shortly.

However, the value of a future purchase option becomes particularly evident for medical professionals or those expecting a substantial jump in their earnings. For example, if you’re currently earning $60,000 but anticipate your income to rise to $250,000 in the next few years due to career progression or advancing into a higher-paying specialty, the flexibility to adjust your coverage accordingly without new health assessments is crucial.

This strategy is especially pertinent for individuals with health conditions that might impact their insurability in the future. By securing a policy now and including a future purchase option rider, you guarantee your ability to increase your disability benefit coverage as your income grows, regardless of any changes in your health status. This foresight ensures that your disability insurance coverage evolves in tandem with your financial and professional growth, offering robust financial protection and stability.

Can the Future Purchase Option Benefit Expire if Unused?

You can purchase additional benefits with an increase option rider to secure more coverage

In some disability insurance policies, the future purchase option rider is included as a standard feature, with the insurance company dictating the amount inflation protection rider andterms of its utilization. When the rider is part of your policy package without additional cost, the insurer may set conditions for its activation, such as mandating the acquisition of extra coverage to maintain the rider’s validity.

If the future purchase additional coverageoption was not a paid feature of your policy, the insurer might impose a use-it-or-lose-it condition. This puts you at a crossroads: either to activate the rider by expanding your coverage or to let the opportunity to enhance your benefits without undergoing new medical underwriting slip away.

Opting to increase your coverage can be a strategic move, especially if your earnings have seen a substantial uptick. By doing so, you ensure that your disability benefits adequately reflect your current income level, with inflation protection albeit at the expense of higher monthly premiums. This adjustment is crucial in scenarios of partial or total disability, where the adequacy of your benefit amount directly impacts your financial resilience.

Conversely, deciding against utilizing the rider and allowing it to expire might align with your financial strategy if your existing coverage meets your needs. This approach may be particularly viable for individuals whose financial situation has stabilized or improved—perhaps through increased savings or the elimination of significant debts like student loans. In such cases, the necessity for a higher benefit amount diminishes, making the maintenance or expansion of the future purchase option less critical.

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