When you start planning for your financial future, you’re going to get a lot of advice. One of the most commonly given is the recommendation to get disability coverage.

Long-term disability (LTD) insurance is important protection that covers you should your health get in the way of your ability to do your job. A lot of employers offer a version of this coverage as a benefit – if you qualify.

Like health insurance, though, disability insurance carriers can deny your application for coverage. If you plan on investing in your financial future, these three factors could cause you to be denied this protection.

1. Certain Prior Medical Conditions

There’s a fine line between rejecting a person for a medical disability and discrimination. Insurance carriers walk this line cautiously. But it’s legal for them to deny applications for certain chronic medical conditions.

These conditions may vary from carrier to carrier. Some of the most commonly denied health problems include:

  • Cancer
  • Renal disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Blood disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Hepatitis
  • Multiple sclerosis

You may also be legally denied if you use tobacco or have used it long term in the past.

2. Your Current Health is in Flux

The time to apply for disability coverage is not when you have a medical procedure coming up. Even if you conveniently leave that information out in your application, it will show up after the procedure is done. This can invalidate your policy.

It’s not the surgery itself that the underwriter is concerned about. It’s the potential complications afterward that would prevent your application from getting approved.

Waiting the requisite time after your procedure shows the carrier that you healed just fine. They will likely approve your coverage then; you just have to be patient.

3. You Have Certain Risk Factors

Some factors in your life put you more at risk for serious health conditions or accidents. These characteristics can result in a denied application or higher premiums.

Insurance carriers consider you to be a risky investment if you:

  • Are too far overweight since obesity increases your likelihood of developing chronic and dangerous diseases or being injured.
  • Are too far underweight since this also can result in serious health conditions or may be a sign of nervous or mental disorders.
  • Have a high-risk job that falls in the top range of disability claims, such as law enforcement officers, construction workers, and pilots.
  • Have a specialized job that is difficult to do and has a high salary attached to it, such as a physician. With these careers, those who apply for disability claims will receive a larger benefit payment.
  • Engage in dangerous hobbies that could cause a disability, like rock climbing, skydiving, racing, or regular foreign travel.

Your past driving record can be a determinant of your ability to get disability coverage, too. If you have a poor record with a lot of moving violations, you’re more likely to get in an accident.

A serious crash can cause disabilities that prevent you from working, making you a high risk.

4. Riders and Exclusions

If you do have any of these personal situations that frequently result in disability coverage denials, don’t count yourself out yet.

Many insurance carriers will approve your application with the caveat that you have to carry a rider, or you have some exclusions. These extras help the company mitigate the risk you bring. You still get the coverage for the myriad of other possible disability – causing things that are possible.

A rider is an addendum to your policy that comes with an extra premium. It’s used to include something that would otherwise not be part of the typical coverage.

Exclusions do the opposite. They allow you to have comprehensive disability coverage for everything except the activity or condition in question. Any claims that are the result of these excluded coverages will be denied.

Disability coverage with exclusions is still a good investment. A limited policy is better than none.


Part of building a strong financial future for yourself and your family is investing in coverage before you need it.

Health insurance is a great way to hedge your risks should you end up having to go to the doctor. But disability coverage fills in the gaps in between, giving you peace of mind that your bills are paid and mouths are fed if you can’t work.

These risk factors could prevent your long-term disability coverage from being approved. But knowing about them ahead of time helps you to plan ahead to reach your financial goals.