Most people pay little attention to how they might handle their family’s living expenses should their income suddenly cease because of an unexpected illness or injury. Perhaps this is because most people feel an injury or illness will never happen to them. However, the statistics are unsettling.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III, 2002), an individual between the ages of 40 and 65 has a greater chance of missing at least three months of work due to an accident or illness than of suffering an untimely death. Indeed, the average recovery period runs a lengthy two and a half years. This is why disability income insurance should be an important part of your overall financial picture.
Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset
Disability income insurance protects your most valuable asset-your ability to earn an income. You pay a periodic premium and, in exchange, if you are disabled and cannot work, the insurance company promises to pay you a predetermined benefit amount.
In order to understand the right type and amount of disability income insurance for your needs, you’ll first need to examine if you already have some coverage in place. For instance, you may have some form of disability income insurance through your employer. If you do, it may be a good idea to find out if you have short-term and/or long-term coverage, and exactly how long the benefits last. Knowing what coverage you already have in place will help you determine if you need additional coverage to help pay for your home or apartment, automobile(s), utilities, food, clothing, education, etc., in the unfortunate event you ever became disabled.
Likewise, if you’re self-employed, you need to carefully examine how a disabling injury or illness could affect you, your family, and your business. Because workers compensation insurance is often confused with disability income insurance, you need to know that workers compensation (required of employers in most states) only covers disabilities that occur while you’re on the job. Hence, in order to qualify for benefits, the illness or injury must be work-related.
Better Safe than Sorry
Since disability income insurance protects your potential future earnings, you should consider it an important part of your insurance program. Remember that individual contracts can be specifically tailored to help meet your personal and/or business needs. Because features and benefits vary widely from policy to policy, you may wish to discuss your needs with a qualified insurance professional-one who can answer your questions and concerns, assess your needs, and help you make an informed decision.
Copyright © 2004 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.