Short-Term vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance

When considering disability insurance, it’s crucial to understand the differences between short-term and long-term policies. Both types provide financial support during times when you are unable to work due to illness or injury, but they serve different purposes and have distinct features. This guide will help you compare short-term and long-term disability insurance to determine which is best suited to your needs.

Short-Term Disability Insurance


Short-term disability insurance provides temporary financial assistance for a limited period during which you are unable to work due to a medical condition.

Coverage Duration

Typically covers up to 3-6 months.

Waiting Period

Benefits usually begin after a short waiting period of 7-14 days from the date of disability.

Benefit Amount

Usually covers 50%-80% of your salary, providing essential financial support during the recovery period.

Common Uses

  • Recovery from minor surgeries
  • Short-term illnesses or injuries
  • Maternity leave


Premiums for short-term disability insurance are generally lower than those for long-term disability insurance. The exact cost depends on factors such as your age, health, occupation, and the extent of coverage.

Long-Term Disability Insurance


Long-term disability insurance offers financial protection for an extended period if you are unable to work due to a serious, long-term medical condition.

Coverage Duration

Provides benefits for several years, often up to retirement age, depending on the policy.

Waiting Period

There is typically a longer waiting period of 90 days or more before benefits begin.

Benefit Amount

It typically covers 60%- 80% of your income, ensuring you can maintain your lifestyle during a prolonged period of disability.

Common Uses

  • Chronic illnesses
  • Severe injuries
  • Mental health conditions


Premiums for long-term disability insurance are usually higher. The cost is influenced by factors such as age, health, occupation, and the length and amount of coverage.

Key Differences

Duration of Benefits

  • Short-Term: 3-6 months.
  • Long-Term: Several years, up to retirement age.

Waiting Period

  • Short-Term: 7-14 days.
  • Long-Term: 90 days or more.


  • Short-Term: Generally lower premiums.
  • Long-Term: Higher premiums, reflecting the extended coverage period.

Use Cases

  • Short-Term: Temporary recovery periods.
  • Long-Term: Prolonged or permanent disabilities.

When Short-Term Disability Insurance is a Better Fit

  1. Recovery from Minor Surgery: If you are undergoing a minor surgical procedure that requires a few weeks to a few months of recovery time, short-term disability insurance can help cover lost income during this period.
  2. Maternity Leave: For expectant mothers planning to take maternity leave, short-term disability insurance can provide financial support for the duration of their leave, typically covering a few months.
  3. Short-Term Illnesses: If you experience an illness such as the flu, pneumonia, or a mild injury that temporarily prevents you from working, then short-term disability insurance can help bridge the gap until you recover.
Short Term Disability Vs Long Term Disability

When Long-Term Disability Insurance is a Better Fit

  1. Chronic Illnesses: If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis, which affects your ability to work for an extended period, long-term disability insurance can provide ongoing financial support.
  2. Severe Injuries: In the case of a severe injury, such as a major accident resulting in long-term rehabilitation or permanent disability, long-term disability insurance ensures you have income replacement for several years or up to retirement age.
  3. Mental Health Conditions: For serious mental health conditions, like severe depression or anxiety, that significantly impact your ability to work over the long term, long-term disability insurance can offer sustained financial support.
Short Term Vs Long Term Disability

How We Can Help

At The Annuity Expert, we understand the complexities and emotional stress associated with choosing the right disability insurance. For over 15 years, we’ve been dedicated to helping individuals find the best solutions at the lowest costs, ensuring you receive the coverage you need without breaking the bank.

Understanding Your Needs

You may be facing uncertainty about your financial future due to potential disabilities. We believe in providing clarity and security through tailored insurance plans. Our goal is to help you navigate these uncertainties with confidence and peace of mind.

Expertise You Can Trust

As an insurance agency, annuity broker, and retirement planner, we have the expertise to guide you through the decision-making process. We stand for finding the best insurance solutions that offer comprehensive protection and financial stability.

What We Recommend

Step 1: Initial Consultation

Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We will discuss your specific needs, health, and financial situation during this meeting. The main benefit is understanding your options clearly and receiving personalized advice.

Step 2: Customized Plan Development

Based on the consultation, we will develop a customized disability insurance plan tailored to your needs. This step involves detailed analysis and comparison of different policies to find the best fit for you. The main benefit is having a plan that perfectly aligns with your requirements and budget.

Step 3: Implementation and Ongoing Support

Once you’ve selected a plan, we will assist you with the implementation process and provide ongoing support to ensure your coverage remains adequate. The main benefit is continuous peace of mind knowing that your financial future is secure.

Features and Benefits

  • Personalized Quotes: Tailored to your age, location, retirement age, and savings.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Options for both short-term and long-term needs.
  • Expert Advice: Leverage our 15 years of industry experience.
  • Ongoing Support: Regular reviews and updates to your plan as needed.

Addressing Common Objections

  • “I can’t afford insurance.” Our plans are tailored to fit various budgets, ensuring you get the necessary coverage without financial strain.
  • “I’m healthy now; I don’t need insurance.” Unexpected events can happen to anyone. Securing insurance now guarantees your future financial stability.

Neglecting to secure disability insurance can lead to significant financial hardship during unexpected health issues. However, by working with us, you ensure financial security, peace of mind, and tailored coverage that meets your specific needs.

You’ll feel empowered and reassured knowing that The Annuity Expert has your back and provides the best solutions for your disability insurance needs.

Contact us for free advice or a quote on the best disability insurance options tailored to your needs.

Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Disability Quotes

Get a quote comparing short-term and long-term disability from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

Disability Insurance Inquiry

Questions From Our Readers

What is considered to be a permanent disability?

A permanent disability is considered any physical or mental condition that prevents a person from performing substantial gainful work for a year or more or is expected to result in death. Such conditions are typically irreversible, or they don’t improve with treatment.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, 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

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