Should I have Short or Long Term Disability Insurance?

Navigating the world of Disability Insurance policies can feel like trying to find your way through a dense forest without a map. In Canada, where the social safety net is robust, the additional layer of protection provided by Disability Insurance still plays a crucial role in financial planning.

This blog aims to guide you through the thicket, helping you decide whether short-term or long-term Disability Insurance is the right path for you.

Understanding Disability Insurance

The goal of Disability Insurance is to replace some of your income if you get sick or hurt and can’t work. It’s an important safety net that makes sure you and your family can keep up your standard of living even when life gives you problems you didn’t expect.

There are two main types of Disability Insurance: long-term and short-term. Both are important parts of a complete financial plan, but they do different things.

Find Out: Must Know Pros And Cons Of Disability Insurance

Short-Term Disability Insurance

Short-term Disability Insurance typically covers periods from a few weeks up to two years. It’s designed to act as a financial bridge, providing income support during brief periods of disability. This type of insurance is ideal for covering acute conditions from which you’re expected to recover, such as injuries or short-term illnesses.

The best short-term Disability Insurance policies offer a straightforward claims process and a quick start to benefits, usually within 1 to 14 days after you become unable to work. The payout is a percentage of your salary, often ranging between 50% and 70%.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

Long-term Disability Insurance, on the other hand, is designed for more severe and enduring health issues. These policies typically kick in after short-term benefits run out, offering financial support for several years or until retirement age, depending on the policy’s terms.

Long-term policies cover a wider range of disabilities, including chronic illnesses, severe injuries, and mental health issues. The waiting period before benefits start is longer, usually from 90 days to six months, reflecting the policy’s focus on long-term support.

Making the Decision: Short vs. Long Term

When deciding between short-term and long-term Disability Insurance, consider your current financial situation, your job’s nature, and your overall risk tolerance. Here are some factors that you can consider:

●       Emergency Savings

If you have a substantial emergency fund, you may be more comfortable opting for long-term Disability Insurance alone. A healthy savings account can cover short-term absences from work, allowing the long-term policy to provide a safety net for more serious conditions.

●       Employment Benefits

Many employers in Canada offer some form of Disability Insurance as part of their benefits package. It’s crucial to understand the coverage provided by your employer and how it fits into your overall financial plan. Employer-sponsored plans often include

short-term disability (STD) coverage, with the option to purchase additional long-term disability (LTD) insurance.

●       Nature of Your Job

The physical demands of your job and the risk of injury or illness associated with your profession should also influence your decision. If you’re in a high-risk occupation, having comprehensive coverage that includes both short-term and long-term Disability Insurance might be advisable.

●       Overall Health

Your personal health history and current health status are essential factors to consider. If you have chronic conditions or a family history of significant health issues, prioritizing long-term Disability Insurance could provide greater peace of mind.

●       Financial Responsibilities

Consider your financial obligations, such as mortgage payments, dependents, and other debts. These responsibilities don’t disappear if you’re unable to work, making Disability Insurance a critical component of protecting your financial stability.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis

Disability Insurance policies, whether short-term or long-term, represent an investment in your financial security. Premiums for these policies vary based on your age, health, occupation, and the benefits you choose. Generally, long-term Disability Insurance premiums are higher, reflecting the broader range of coverage and longer benefit periods.

When evaluating the cost, weigh the premiums against the potential financial impact of being without income for an extended period. For many, the peace of mind offered by Disability Insurance is worth the cost.

Find Out: Is Disability Insurance Taxable?

Exploring the Market

Finding the best short-term Disability Insurance or the most comprehensive long-term policy requires research and possibly the assistance of a financial advisor. Look for policies with clear definitions of disability, reasonable waiting periods, and sufficient coverage to meet your needs. In Canada, numerous providers offer a range of Disability Insurance products. Comparing policies from different insurers can help you find the best fit for your situation. Pay close attention to the policy’s exclusions and limitations, and consider any riders that might enhance your coverage.


Deciding between short-term and long-term Disability Insurance is a deeply personal choice, influenced by your unique circumstances and financial goals. For some, a combination of both types of insurance will offer the most comprehensive protection, while for others, one or the other might suffice.

Remember, the goal of Disability Insurance is to ensure you can continue to meet your financial obligations and maintain your standard of living, even in the face of unexpected health challenges. Taking the time to assess your needs and understand the options available can provide not just financial security but also peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

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