No one can predict what will happen in the future. To best prepare for accidents, disasters, and other tragedies, we purchase various insurance coverages. Auto, homeowners, life, business, etc. all help us overcome the curve balls life sometimes throws at us. But have you thought about what would happen if you were unable to work, either temporarily or permanently? This is where disability insurance can help.
There are two types of disability policies: Short-Term Disability (STD) and Long-Term Disability (LTD). STD policies have a waiting period of 0 to 14 days with a maximum benefit period of no longer than two years. LTD policies have a waiting period of several weeks to several months with a maximum benefit period ranging from a few years to the rest of your life.
When considering disability insurance, consider this: Not too long ago, the Social Security Administration estimated that one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled and unable to work before they reach the age of 67. If you think you are safe with Workers Compensation, a Forbes Magazine article pointed out that Workers Comp replaces lost income if an injury or illness occurs on the job, but fewer than 5% of disabling accidents and illnesses are work-related. Most (90%) of long-term disability claims are for illnesses, not accidents.
Also, some policies pay benefits if you are unable to perform the customary duties of your own occupation. Others pay only if you are unable to perform any job suitable for your education and experience. Some policies define disability in terms of your own occupation for an initial period of two or three years and then continue to pay benefits only if you are unable to perform any occupation. “Own occupation” policies are more desirable, but more expensive.
As with any insurance decision, it is best to consult with a professional. Sit down with your agent or broker and talk about your individual situation. See what you may need to add in order to have complete protection should the worst happen.