Why Disability Insurance Matters

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you suddenly couldn’t work due to an illness or injury? How would you pay your bills and provide for your family without your regular income? This worrying thought has crossed many people’s minds, but not taking action by getting disability insurance leaves you financially vulnerable.

Why Disability Insurance Matters
Photo by Marcus Aurelius

This article will walk you through exactly why disability insurance matters. We’ll look at surprising statistics that show your chances of becoming disabled may be higher than you think. You’ll learn how disability coverage protects your income if injury or sickness prevents you from working. We’ll discuss the different types of policies and key benefits so you understand precisely what disability insurance covers.

By the end, you’ll see why having disability income protection lined up before disaster strikes gives you invaluable peace of mind. You’ll be motivated to explore your disability insurance options, whether through your employer or an individual plan. With the right coverage in place, you can rest easy knowing your income and financial obligations will be taken care of if the unexpected happens. So read on to learn more about this critical but often overlooked form of insurance that nearly every working adult should consider.

Who needs disability insurance?

Disability insurance is important for anyone relying on their income. This includes people with dependents, mortgages, debts, and other financial obligations. Some common professions that benefit from disability insurance include:

  • Doctors, dentists, and surgeons
  • Executives and white-collar professionals
  • Skilled trade workers like electricians, plumbers, and contractors
  • Police officers, firefighters, and military personnel
  • Teachers and professors
  • Nurses, therapists, and healthcare professionals
  • Construction workers, factory workers, and laborers
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People in these occupations often engage in physical activity or hazardous work that increases their risk of injury. Having disability coverage gives them peace of mind that their income and lifestyle will be protected if they become hurt or sick and can’t work.

What does disability insurance cover?

Disability insurance provides income replacement if you’re unable to work due to a covered injury, illness, or disability. Policies can cover either a total or partial disability.

Total disability means you’re completely unable to work in your own occupation. 

Partial disability is when you can work some hours or perform some duties, but at reduced capacity.

Disability policies pay a monthly cash benefit after you’ve been disabled for a set waiting period, often 30-90 days. Benefits usually pay out until age 65 or retirement. Some policies allow you to choose a shorter benefit period, like 2 or 5 years.

Long-term vs. short-term Short Term Disability

There are two main types of disability insurance:

Short-term disability covers temporary disability for 3–12 months. It typically replaces 60–80% of your gross monthly income, up to a monthly maximum.

Long-term disability kicks in after short-term coverage ends. It replaces 60% of monthly income up to a cap. Some policies offer inflation protection, so your benefits keep pace with rising costs.

Having both short- and long-term disability insurance provides comprehensive protection. Short-term coverage helps pay bills for temporary injuries or illnesses, while long-term coverage provides extended benefits for permanent or serious conditions.

Additional Benefits and Riders

Beyond the base coverage, many insurers offer additional riders and benefits. Common options include:

  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Rider: Increases your benefit amount by a set percentage annually to offset inflation.
  • The catastrophic disability benefit: Provides a higher payout for severely disabling conditions that render you unable to perform 2+ activities of daily living.
  • Own occupation rider: – Allows you to collect benefits if you can’t work in your specific occupation but could work in other jobs.
  • Future insurability rider – Lets you increase coverage every 3 years without additional medical underwriting.
  • Waiver of premium – Premiums are waived while you’re collecting disability benefits so you don’t pay for coverage when you’re unable to work.
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Obtaining Coverage

You can get disability insurance through your employer, professional association, or individually.

Group disability offered through employers is affordable but usually has more limited benefits compared to individual policies. Group coverage ends if you leave your job.

Association disability plans are available to members of professional organizations. They may offer “own occupation” definitions of disability.

Individual disability requires medical underwriting but provides more customizable benefits and guaranteed coverage you keep if switching jobs. It’s essential for self-employed persons without access to group plans.

No matter how you get coverage, having disability insurance provides critical income protection and peace of mind. Consult an advisor to discuss your specific insurance needs.

FAQ:

  1. Who needs disability insurance?

Disability insurance is recommended for anyone who relies on their income to pay for housing, food, healthcare, childcare, debts, and other living expenses. It provides income replacement if injury or illness prevents you from working.

  1. What does disability insurance cover?

Disability insurance replaces a portion of your income if you’re unable to work due to a covered injury, illness, or medical condition. Policies can cover total disability (unable to work at all) or partial disability (able to work reduced hours).

  1. What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance is financial protection that provides cash benefits if you’re unable to work due to a disabling medical condition. It replaces income lost when injury, sickness, or disease prevent you from working and earning your regular paycheck.

  1. Why is disability insurance important?
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Disability insurance is important to protect your income in case you become unable to work. It helps pay for living expenses, medical bills, and other ongoing financial obligations if sickness or injury prevents you from earning an income. For many households, losing the primary earner’s income would be financially devastating.

  1. What is the purpose of disability insurance?

The purpose of disability insurance is to replace a portion of your income if injury, illness, or disability stops you from being able to work and earn that income. Disability coverage provides money to help pay for living expenses until you can return to work or transition to new employment.

  1. What does disability insurance not cover?

Disability insurance does not cover disabilities resulting from war, self-inflicted injury, commission of a felony, or drug addiction. Pre-existing conditions may also be excluded if not disclosed during underwriting. Disability policies also do not replace 100% of your earnings.

  1. Does everyone need disability insurance?

Most working adults who rely on their income to pay for housing, food, transportation and other living expenses should consider disability insurance. It offers critical protection if you’re unable to work and earn that income due to medical reasons. The need increases if you have dependents or debts relying on your continued income.

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