pregnant-income-protectionIncome protection insurance is designed to protect our income from loss if we become disabled through injury or illness. The physical ramifications of pregnancy do not specifically fit into the concepts of disability through the eyes of insurance providers. To answer the question, Can I receive income protection benefits if I am pregnant, requires that we look closer at some policy language. The general answer to this question is typically no. However, there are cases where income protection benefits were paid after the pregnancy ended. Lets take a look at some of the policy languages that you are likely to see regarding pregnancy.

Under the Tittle of Exclusions

There is usually a generalized disclaimer that states the insurance company will not pay any disability insurance benefits when any of the following list causes or contributes to the disability in a direct or indirect manner. Under that list will be a clause about pregnancy.

The generalized statement typically reads as a continuation of the above clause. Pregnancy or childbirth unless the total disability lasts for more then 90 days past the end of the pregnancy. The benefit wait period will begin on the 91st day following the end of the pregnancy.

What does this mean?

It means that, during the pregnancy, the insured is not eligible to receive income protection benefits, regardless of disability. The insurance company views pregnancy as self inflicted or a choice that the insured made which contributed to disability. In other words, if the insured had not become pregnant then they would not be disabled.

That is an important statement, and it is somewhat vague. What if your disability was not caused by pregnancy? There is no clear answer to how this question may be answered by the insurance company except to say that ” if caused by” or “contributed to” are clearly written in their disclaimer. These are both catch phrases in that they are broad and undefined. What does “contributed to” really mean? It means that pregnancy is a way out for many insurance companies, but that the law that surrounds consumer protection may be able to help. Insurance companies are happy to take your premiums, but they do not enjoy paying claims.

Another issue that may become a problem is the length of time involved in disabilities surrounding pregnancy. A pregnancy usually lasts for 9 months, and the wording of the policy is that the wait period begins on the 91st day after the pregnancy has ended. That is a year and 1 day. That is an interesting number, because benefits are paid based on annual income and annual income is one year. If the policy holder has not worked for a year, what is their annual income?

The phrasing that goes along with income protection policies is full of ways that insurance companies can get out of paying a claim. It is important that consumers pay careful attention to the finer details of each policy because those are where the pitfalls lie.

I did find a few policies that offered disability payment if the insured became disabled while pregnancy and that means that the answer to the question can you receive income protection benefits while pregnant is yes. The policy also listed that if the insured had been on leave for more then 12 months then the policy benefit would be limited to $1,000 per month. That clause is important too because it brings into light the time frame issue of the length of pregnancy, the wait period and the 90 day hold period following pregnancy. These time frames all add up to just over a year.

In closing, the good news for consumers who may become pregnant is that benefits for income protection can be paid while you are pregnant. The downside is that policy language is full of loop holes that benefit the insurance company. For income protection outside of pregnancy, many policies exist to help cover the loss of income from disability. Our income is still our greatest asset, and in the long run income protection insurance may help when an accident or unforseen illness occurs. Take the time to read the fine print. Remember too, that value is not always a reflection of price.

 

(This article and all articles on this site are not to be taken as professional insurance advice and information may not be accurate, for insurance advice please speak to a registered insurance broker. We can connect you with a broker by using the form on this site.)

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