Common Disability Insurance Myths

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People often have misperceptions about the need for disability insurance and the process for filing a claim.    

Myth: “I don’t need disability insurance because I’m very careful.  In fact, I’ve never been injured before – why would I in the future?”
Truth: Over 90% of disabilities are caused by illnesses (such as cancer and heart disease) – not accidents.
JHA Disability Fact Book, 2008 Edition


Myth: “Most disabilities are just for a short amount of time.  Anyway, if I do get hurt or sick, I could live on my savings.”
Truth: In 2009, 51% of disability insurance claims lasted more than five years.  Plus, just one year of disability could easily eliminate years of savings (even if a client has saved 10% a year).


Myth:  “I’d probably have an illness or injury that would never qualify for benefits.”
Truth: You may be surprised by the types of illnesses and injuries insurance companies pay claims for, including:

  • Back problems
  • Cancers
  • Cardiac issues
  • Circulatory system
  • Infectious diseases
  • Injuries
  • Mental/nervous and substance
    abuse disorders
  • Musculoskeletal system/
    connective tissue
  • Nervous system
Real claims can and do happen:





Pharmacist 39 Lupus $96,162
Attorney 46 HIV $471.559
Computer Programmer 44 Back $696,583
Physician 42 Nervous System $1,600,000
Dentist 54 Back $388,809


Myth:  “The process for applying for benefits is complicated.”
Truth: Principal Life strives to make the claim process quick and easy.  Our customer satisfaction scores* speak to our commitment to service:

  • 97% were satisfied with claims services.
  • 99% were satisfied with receiving benefits promptly.
  • 98% were satisfied with the accuracy of the benefit payments.

* Source: Principal Life 2010 Customer Satisfaction Survey.


Myth: “Filing a claim takes too long.”
Truth:  Within 48 hours of receiving a claim notification, Principal Life mails the claimant:

  • A Disability Claim Notice to complete
  • An Attending Physician’s Statement to be completed by the attending physician

Typically within five to seven business days receiving all requirements, Principal Life makes and communicates a claim decision.


Myth:  “Social Security or Workers’ Compensation will take care of me.”

  • Only 35% of the 2.8 million workers who applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) were approved in 2009.  Also, SSDI benefits may not be enough to maintain a client’s lifestyle. For example, the maximum benefit for someone earning $100,000 a year, is only $16,800 a year.
  • Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited to only occupational diseases or injuries arising out of or in the course of employment.