Your Essential Guide to Supplemental Insurance Plans

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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We’ve all seen the Aflac duck commercials squawking away about how having supplemental insurance was a lifesaver after an accident. But, is it something you need?

“The cost of many health insurance policies are getting out of reach for many consumers and families,” says John Barnes, a certified financial planner with My Family Life Insurance. “Deductibles are increasing at a rapid rate, so people are wondering where supplemental insurance policies come into play.”

In fact, in 2015, average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 4 percent over the 2014 average premiums, with wages only increasing 1.9 percent.

These insurance policies are often marketed direct-to-consumer, so it can be difficult to get the unbiased opinion you’re looking for. Not to mention, there are many different types of supplemental insurance — there’s not a one-size-fits-all plan.

Here, insurance experts give you everything you need to know about supplemental insurance plans.

What is supplemental insurance?

Supplemental insurance, also known as gap or voluntary insurance, is insurance purchased to supplement medical coverage.

“As medical costs continue to rise and high deductible health plans grow in popularity, supplemental insurance can help with added expenses, like deductibles, co-pays, and even day-to-day expenses,” says Jocelyn Grega, assistant vice president of consumer marketing at Unum, a supplemental insurance provider. “Supplemental coverage is another layer of financial protection.”

It’s important to note there’s not just one type of supplemental insurance plan. Instead, many different types cover a range of health-related concerns from emergencies to long-term health issues. Here are the top five.

1. Dental and vision

“Medical plans often lack comprehensive dental and vision benefits, and supplemental dental and vision coverage can help with the costs of preventative measures, routine maintenance, and even surgery,” says Grega. These supplemental health insurance plans can make for more complete coverage for your general health.

According to Barnes, dental and vision usually don’t deny coverage. To prevent adverse selection, dental and vision carriers typically have a waiting period before any major procedure. The waiting period could be six, nine, 12, or 18 months.

Who is this best for?

If your primary insurance policy is lacking in dental and vision coverage, then you might want to consider a supplemental plan especially if you regularly use those doctors. It also helps in the case of an oral or eye emergency.

2. Critical illness

If you already have critical illness coverage and are diagnosed with, for example, cancer, or if you suffer a stroke, you will be paid a lump sum of money to cover things such as a major organ transplant. You can not purchase the plan after the diagnosis.

“That lump sum of money, which ranges from $10,000 to $1 million, can be used for anything, like deductibles, groceries, mortgage payments, or travel expenses for doctors’ appointments,” says Grega.

Costs are based on your age, who you choose to cover (yourself or dependents), and selected benefit amount. Whether or not you use tobacco also affects your rates.

Who is this best for?

The threat of bankruptcy due to a major illness and cancer is real. Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you have complete coverage in these cases.

“If heart disease or cancer runs in the family, I generally think it is appropriate to look into a critical illness policy,” says Barnes. “If your job is high stress, a critical illness policy can be needed. If you are otherwise healthy, then maybe can hold off on this.”

3. Disability insurance

This is basically income protection,” says Grega. “Disability insurance pays you a portion of your income if you’re unable to work for a period of time.”

That period of time depends on the specific policy, but can range from until you can go back to work to the number of years stated in the policy. Some policies last until age 65.

Many factors go into determining your premiums for such coverage, including age, sex, occupation and the amount of potential lost income you are trying to protect.

The less likely you are to get hurt on the job, the lower your premiums will be. Someone with a desk job will likely pay less in premiums than a construction worker.

The percentage of your income you would receive from the policy depends on how much coverage you purchase, your lifestyle, career, age, length of payout, and waiting period.

For example, a healthy woman in her 30s with no other disability insurance in a non-laborious job could pay between $205 to around $275 a month, for a monthly payout of about $5,000 a month until she was 65.

Who is this best for?

“If you would have trouble paying bills without a regular paycheck, this is a great financial solution,” says Grega. “While many young people assume the chances of disability are slim, the Social Security Administration says that one in four 20-year-olds will have a disabling incident before they retire.”

According to Grega, the top causes of disability claims for millennials are pregnancy, cancer, injury, and joint or back disorders.

4. Personal accident insurance

Accident insurance pays a lump sum, ranging from about $5,000 to $25,000 directly to you if you get hurt in an accident, which can range from breaking your ankle while playing tennis to slipping on ice.

“You get a fixed amount based on your injury to use however you want,” says Grega. “From hospital expenses to dog walking services.”

Barnes adds, “Nearly all accident policies cover accidental death or dismemberment, too. So, if you are truly uninsurable from a life insurance perspective, you will have coverage through this policy if you die from an accident.”

The actual list of injuries will vary from policy to policy, but things like an injury resulting from sickness and disease, recklessly putting yourself in a dangerous situation, injury suffered when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, self-inflicted injury, sustaining an injury while committing a crime, and injuries sustained before purchasing the policy are not typically covered. The policies also don’t cover preexisting conditions.

Who is this best for?

“I recommend accident insurance if you have a higher chance of getting injured either on the job or doing a personal activity like a sport,” says Barnes. “The best policies cover both on and off the job. They also cover family members and children.”

It can also help with your costs, even if workers compensation covers you. Barnes recommends that nearly all self-employed individuals who work laborious jobs should have this policy as they don’t have access to workers compensation.

Many policies will also cover sports injuries, according to Barnes. If your son or daughter actively play sports and gets hurt, you can receive payment for that sports accident.

5. Life insurance

If you have student loans, mortgages, and auto loans, life insurance can cover those debts.

“If something were to happen to you,” says Grega. “This coverage can also help your family cover final expenses, like funeral arrangements, which often range from $7,000 to $10,000.”

There are two major types of life insurance: term and whole life. Term pays only if death occurs during the term of the policy, which is usually from one to 30 years while whole will cover whenever you die.

The average premium costs will differ based on multiple factors, including age, occupation, and if you’re a smoker. It also ranges in the amount of coverage, which could be $250,000, $1 million, or more.

Life insurance can deny coverage based on health, lifestyle, occupation, and driving history. If you are a skydiving instructor, you probably won’t qualify for individual coverage. If you use drugs, same. If you are on probation, probably no coverage.

“Coverage can be obtained once the high-risk lifestyle or occupation no longer exists or the carrier believes you are no longer a risk,” says Barnes. “If the skydiver now works in an office and no longer skydives, probably could get coverage. If the person who uses drugs is now clean and has been for over 5 years, probably could. Driving history plays a role because if the carrier sees that you are a reckless driver, you won’t get coverage.”

It’s also important to make clear that not all student loan debt becomes your surviving family’s responsibility. Federal student loans, including Parent PLUS, are discharged when the borrower dies.

Some private student loan lenders do offer a death discharge, but some might come for your estate when you die. Typically, if the loans are only in your name, your children or other relatives aren’t generally considered liable.

Who is this best for?

“You might not need coverage if you’re young, living independently and don’t have debt,” says Grega. “However, if you have certain debts, like credit card, you’ll want life insurance so the financial burden isn’t passed on to your family.”

In general, big life stages can trigger the need for it — buying a house, getting married, having kids or sending kids to college — since you’ll have more money at risk in case you die suddenly.

Why would you need supplemental insurance?

You need supplemental insurance if you or your spouse would have trouble affording out-of-pocket medical expenses, like copays or deductibles, which is often the case for those without substantial savings, like recent college graduates or young professionals.

There are certain lifestyle and health history factors in mind too. “If you have a laborious job, active family, or are self-employed in a laborious job (say a plumber or construction), or have a history of heart disease or cancer runs in your family, you may want to consider a policy,” says Barnes.

“Also, if you have a high deductible health insurance policy and you feel you are paying way too much or paying too much out of pocket, these supplemental insurance policies can pay some, or all, of your cost back.”

The benefits of having supplemental insurance are you’ll have more coverage in case something unexpected happens so you don’t have to dip into your savings as much. But, the downside is you could be paying an extra monthly cost for something you’ll never use. “You need to balance the premium cost and coverage,” says Barnes.

What will it cost?

“Supplemental insurance, depending on the type, is usually not that expensive,” says Barnes. “But, you need to balance the premium cost and coverage. I try to avoid having a consumer or family pay a high premium for a small benefit or risk.”

Another cost consideration is where you buy the plan. “It’s usually more affordable to purchase supplemental insurance through the workplace than to buy on your own outside of work,” says Grega. “Costs for critical illness, life and disability insurance are usually about $25 per month, but prices can vary depending on the plan.”

A supplemental health insurance plan is your call

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision whether you need supplemental insurance or not. Having an understanding of who needs it based on the expert information can help make that decision a bit easier.

Ask yourself if you fall into one of the categories above and if you do, start to research different insurance plans in that specific category. This will help you narrow down what you’re researching and let you compare the cost and benefit of each.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 8 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of December 13, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 12/13/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit, email us at, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% APR (without AutoPay). Variable rates currently from 2.31% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% (without AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% plus 0.75% margin minus 0.25% for AutoPay. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your credit history and the term of the loan and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

3 Important Disclosures for Figure.

Figure Disclosures

Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.

4 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.


There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.


For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.


Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.


The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.


The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.


After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.


This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.

6 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.

7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.

8 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

1.99% – 6.89%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.31% – 7.36%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.06% – 6.81%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Figure

2.62% – 6.12%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

1.99% – 6.65%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

1.99% – 7.06%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.85% – 6.13%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.90% – 8.59%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Published in Insurance, Student Loans