Posted : 09/16/2004
SummaryDisability insurance protects one's income in the case that he or she becomes disabled. Although you may have enough money in the bank to meet your short-term needs, what would happen if you were unable to work for months, or even years? The real value of disability insurance lies in its ability to protect you over the long haul.
Learn More About Disability Insurance
Typically, people buy property and casualty insurance to protect their possessions (houses, cars, and furniture) and life insurance to provide income for their survivors. However, many people don't think about protecting their income with disability insurance. But how well could you live if you weren't able to work? Disability is an unpredictable event, and if you become disabled, your ability to make a living could be restricted. Although you may have enough money in the bank to meet your short-term needs, what would happen if you were unable to work for months, or even years? The real value of disability insurance lies in its ability to protect you over the long haul.
A look at the odds
Statistically, your risk of being disabled is great. In a given year, the following events occur with the following frequency:
|Home fire||1 out of every 88 homes|
|Serious auto accident||1 out of every 70 autos|
|Death||1 out of every 106 people|
|Disability||1 out of every 8 people|
A further look at disability statistics reveals the following:
As these statistics show, your chances of being disabled for longer than three months are much greater than your chances of dying prematurely. One reason for this is that medicine has found ways of treating many illnesses and injuries that previously would have been fatal. Although this is good news, it increases your need to protect your income with disability insurance.
Of course, statistics can be misleading. You might never become disabled, especially if you're healthy and work in a low-risk occupation. But then again, how many people do you know who have had cancer or have suffered a heart attack? How many of your friends and family members have been in car accidents or have had back problems? Illness, as well as injury, is disabling. If you were hurt or got sick, how would you support yourself or your family?
What would happen if you became disabled?
What would happen if you suffered an injury or illness and couldn't work for days, months, or even years? If you're single, you may have no other means of support. If you're married, you may be able to rely on your spouse for income, but you probably also have many financial obligations, such as supporting your children and paying your mortgage. Could your spouse really support you and your family? In addition, remember that you don't have to be working in a hazardous occupation to need disability insurance; accidents happen not only on the job but also at home, and illness can strike anyone. For these reasons, everyone who works and earns a living should consider purchasing disability insurance.
But isn't disability coverage through an employer or the government enough?
You might think that you are adequately insured against disability because you have coverage through your employer or through government programs such as Social Security and workers' compensation. However, only 50 percent of employers cover short-term disability, and only 40 percent cover long-term disability. Government programs may pay you benefits, but only if you meet a strict definition of disability. Here's an idea of the benefits you may already have, as well as their limitations:
Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.
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