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  Berkshire Life
Don't purchase the wrong type of disability policy

Everyone knows about Christopher Reeve who played Superman in the 1978 blockbuster film. You also know that his life was shattered in May 1995 when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia, and suffered paralysis from the neck down. His unyielding determination to recover, and his devotion to raising research funds were recognized and admired by millions of people around the world. We also admired him immensely, and mourned when he was lost.

What you may not know is that Mr. Reeve, probably to raise money for his foundation, was recruited by HealthExtras Inc. of Rockville, Md., the first company to offer a lump sum payment of $1 million in the event of a permanent accidental disability. His face and words of advice appeared on fliers placed in credit card bills from several banks, including Citibank. The product was marketed as costing only $95 a year, or $9.95 a month. Who could pass up this opportunity to get one million dollars for less than $10 a month?

However, when you read the fine print, you discover that payment depends on approval of:

"Written proof of total permanent disability resulting from an accidental injury, commencing within 365 days of the date of the accidental injury, interruption for at least a year from the date the total permanent disability commences and resulting in the entire and irrecoverable loss of use of both hands or both feet, or one hand and one foot, or the sight of both eyes, or the hearing of both ears, or the ability to speak."

In other words, you only get the money if, after waiting at least one year, you are totally and permanently disabled, with no chance of recovery, and your disability involves the total loss of use of your hands, feet, eyes, ears or voice. Our purpose here is not to speak ill of a man whom we greatly admired, nor is it to condemn this type of policy in its entirety, although we don't recommend them. What we want to do is to make sure you understand that these types of policies exisit, and should only be considered after you have secured disability coverage that adequately protects your income! It is imperative that you understand the policy that you are buying, and that it contains the coverage that you really need and want.