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Why Should You Get Disability Insurance?

July 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Finance

The American Council of Live Insurers estimates that one third of all adults between the ages of 35 and 65 become disabled for a period of 90 days or more, and one in seven workers will become disabled for more than five years.

Can you afford to live and take care of your family for 3 months or 5 years without income? Probably not! Many people wrongly believe that long-term disability is usually a result of a major accident or some rare cause, but the reality is, most adults become unable to work due to illnesses like heart disease or cancer.

Becoming disabled or otherwise unable to go to work causes a loss of income so devastating to most families that it is the reason for 46% of all home foreclosures, according to statistics provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What is Disability Insurance?

Disability insurance provides coverage for when you are unable to work due to injury or illness. It will replace a portion of your income if you become disabled and cannot work. Many employers offer group disability insurance policies, and will generally replace 60% of your current salary. You can purchase a supplemental individual disability insurance policy to cover up to 70% or 80% of your salary. If you pay for your disability insurance yourself (your employer does not pay for it) it is tax-free.

Employer-Offered Group Disability Insurance

Around half or more of all medium to large sized businesses offer long term disability insurance. Even if you are lucky and have the policy, you might consider purchasing a supplemental plan to increase the percentage of income you can receive under the policy if you ever need to use it.

Group plans will insure your regular salary- never bonus amounts, and there is a benefit cap of $60,000 per year. The amount you receive is also reduced based on other benefits you might receive, like social security benefits. If you make a decent income in terms of “bonuses” or earn a salary in the six digits- you’re going to want to consider purchasing supplemental disability insurance to increase the amount you’d receive if you need to claim.

Individual Disability Insurance

For individuals who are self employed or who want to supplement the coverage they receive under their employers group disability insurance plan, you can purchase your own disability insurance. For high salary earners, you can get coverage to provide a percentage of the higher earnings and bonuses, as well.

Selecting & Buying Disability Insurance Policies

Purchasing an individual disability insurance policy can be complicated and somewhat expensive, similar to life insurance. Policy prices are based on a wide range of factors, including age, gender, health status, and the amount of coverage desired. Certain employment raises the premiums as well.

Buying the right type of disability insurance is important, since it’s going to cost you money and you want to make sure you receive the highest level of benefits possible if you ever need to make use of the policy.

The longer the “waiting period” for benefits to kick in, the lower your premium. If you choose benefits that will be paid within 30 days of becoming sick or injured, you’ll pay higher than policies that have you wait 120 days for benefits.

Disability insurance has various riders that you must select when buying a policy. One that you will want to be sure to include is the “own occupation” coverage rider. This rider provides benefits if you are unable to perform your exact job you held before you became disabled. While including this may cost you an additional 40%, it’s well worth the money if you should need to use your disability insurance.

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