Many life insurance policies give you the option of adding either critical illness or disability insurance. These add-ons might pay out a benefit if you lose your hearing, but it depends on the cause, the permanency and your insurer.
Does critical illness insurance cover hearing loss?
It depends on the policy. Critical illness insurance provides a lump sum benefit if the policy owner is diagnosed with an illness listed in the policy, but that list varies from insurer to insurer. If the hearing loss is a result of a covered illness, you’ll likely receive a lump sum from your insurer. You may be required to meet certain criteria, such as:
Total and permanent loss of hearing in both ears
Hearing loss lasting for more than a specified length of time
Inability to treat the hearing loss
Each insurer sets their own guidelines for when benefits are paid out. Contact your insurer to find out how you’re covered.
Does disability insurance cover hearing loss?
This is a little more tricky. Disability insurance pays out a percentage of the policy holder’s income on a regular basis when they’re unable to work. There are two main types of disability insurance:
Short-term disability insurance
Short-term disability insurance pays out after a brief waiting period and can last up to several months or even a year, depending on the policy. If you’re diagnosed with short-term hearing loss and are unable to work until you’re recovered, short-term disability insurance will likely pay out.
Each insurer sets different criteria for determining what counts as a disability, so you’ll want to check with your insurer to find out how you’re covered.
Long-term disability insurance
Long-term disability insurance requires a longer waiting period, but it can potentially pay out regular benefits until the insured person is old enough to retire. If you’re diagnosed with permanent hearing loss, your long-term disability may pay out if you’re unable to return to your job. But if you’re still able to work at your job, or at a different job, your policy may not pay out.
Further complicating things, some policies will pay out partial benefits if you’re able to take on a lower-paying job. This means that your insurer will pay some or all of the difference between how much you made before you lost your hearing and how much you’re able to make after.
Coverage for hearing loss varies from insurer to insurer and can also depend on your career and your specific policy. To find out how you’re covered, contact your insurer.
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Meeting the criteria
Most disability policies will pay out in one of two situations:
You’ll need to be unable to work for a consecutive number of months in your own occupation.
You’ll need to be unable to work for a consecutive number of months in any occupation.
Should I get disability or critical illness insurance?
It depends on your circumstances. Critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum, while short-term disability insurance pays out on a consistent basis, similar to a paycheck. Critical illness insurance can help more with the up-front costs of getting sick, while disability insurance can replace your ongoing paychecks.
Keep in mind that neither is a substitute for long-term disability insurance. To be fully financially protected, you’ll want to take out a long-term disability insurance policy along with some sort of short-term policy.
Types of hearing loss
Just as there are many different ways that you can become deaf, there are many different types of deafness, including:
Conductive hearing loss. The most treatable form of hearing loss, this occurs when there’s a problem transmitting sound waves through the outer or middle ear.
Sensorineural hearing loss. Often permanent, sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or the nerves are damaged in some way.
Mixed hearing loss. Some people have both types of hearing loss, which is referred to as mixed hearing loss.
Can I take out life insurance if I’m deaf?
Yes, in most cases deafness won’t prevent you from taking out life insurance. You’ll need to let your insurer know about any hearing loss or deafness up front. Depending on the nature of the condition and the current treatment prescribed, the insurer will either exclude any further hearing loss from coverage, increase your premiums or deny coverage.
Increased premiums and denied coverage are more likely if the hearing loss is the result of an illness or injury that could lead to further complications.
Each policy will have different guidelines and restrictions for when it’ll cover hearing loss, so it’s a good idea to check with your insurer to find out how you’re covered. And if you don’t have a policy yet, compare life insurance companies to find one that fits your needs and budget.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, most companies will be willing to insure customers who were born deaf.
No. Health insurance pays doctors, hospitals and healthcare professionals for your medical care. Critical illness insurance pays you directly, and you can use the money any way you see fit.
Generally no, but it depends on the policy. A ruptured eardrum usually heals on its own within a few months, and most insurers won’t consider you unable to work if your hearing is only damaged in one ear.
Dawn Daniels is a publisher with Finder, based out of Oregon. Her background includes editing more than 40 published books, including books on personal finance and meditation. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys hiking ridiculous distances and collapsing in exhaustion.
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