Understanding the Elimination Period for Disability Insurance

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

The elimination period in disability insurance is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a policy. It refers to the time you must be disabled before the insurance benefits begin to pay out. Here’s what you need to know:

Choosing the Elimination Period

  • Options Available: The common ranges for elimination periods are 30, 90, 180, and 365 days.
  • Customization: You can choose the elimination period based on your needs and financial situation when setting up your disability insurance coverage.

Impact on Policy Cost

  • Cost Relationship: Generally, the longer the elimination period, the lower the policy cost.
  • Reasoning: A longer elimination period reduces the risk for the insurer, as there’s a smaller likelihood of having to pay out benefits in the short term.

Average Choice

  • Most Common Selection: The 90-day elimination period is often chosen as a balanced option, offering a compromise between the cost of the policy and the length of time before benefits begin.

What It Means

  • Duration of Disability: During the elimination period, you must be disabled as defined by your policy and unable to work.
  • Pre-Benefit Period: No benefits are paid during this time, so it’s important to have a plan to cover living expenses during the elimination period.

Considerations for Choosing an Elimination Period

  1. Financial Reserves: Consider your savings and how long you can comfortably manage without income.
  2. Risk Tolerance: Assess your comfort level with risk – a shorter period offers quicker benefits but at a higher premium cost.
  3. Occupation and Income: Consider the stability and nature of your occupation and your current income level.
  4. Overall Insurance Cost: Balance the need for affordable premiums with the potential need for earlier benefit payouts.


The elimination period in disability insurance is a key determinant of both the timing of your benefits and the cost of your policy. It’s important to choose an elimination period that aligns with your financial ability to withstand a period without income and your risk tolerance. The 90-day period is commonly chosen, but personal circumstances and financial planning should guide your decision.

Contact us for a free quote

Request A Quote

Get help or a quote from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

Contact Us

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

Scroll to Top