How True Are These TV Ads?

Note: Consumer Reports has no relationship with the advertisers on this site.

Talking ducks are entertaining, but is Aflac's coverage sound? And how about ads for and Capital One credit cards? We looked beyond the gimmicks to see whether their marketing claims actually pan out. Here's what we found.

A dancing duck that sells insurance

Aflac duck

The claim

Aflac's famous white duck has a break-dance battle with a pigeon representing major-medical insurance while two men in leg casts discuss their insurance. "We added Aflac so we get cash," one says. As he says that, the duck gives him a fistful of dollars.

The check

Aflac offers short-term disability insurance, which provides income replacement if you become unable to work, and critical-illness coverage that pays a lump sum if you come down with any covered illness, such as cancer or heart attack. Most people buy its coverage through their employer, though it also sells individual policies.

Aflac's disability policies are more limited in duration than long-term disability coverage, which some employers offer at no charge. And Aflac's critical-illness plans won't pay anything if you come down with a condition that's not covered.

Bottom line

If your employer doesn't provide disability insurance, buying an individual policy that covers short- and long-term periods might be a smart move. But buy it through a broker that sells plans from multiple insurers so that you can compare price and coverage options. If your employer provides long-term disability coverage and offers you the option to buy Aflac's short-term coverage, it might be worth it. But the critical-illness policies might not pay off for you.