Disability insurance pays benefits when you are unable to earn a living because you are sick or injured. Most disability policies pay you a benefit that replaces a percentage of your earned income when you can’t work. At Hershenberg Stone-Walsh Insurance we represent many of the nations top insurance companies to ensure that our clients obtain the policy that fits their needs at a competitive price.
Why would you need disability insurance?
Your chances of being disabled for longer than three months are much greater than you may realize. According to the Social Security Administration, 1-in-5 Americans live with a disability. More than 1-in-4 20-year-olds become disabled before reaching retirement age*. The possibility of not being able to earn a living due to a disability increases your need to protect your income with disability insurance.
Consider what might happen if you suffered an injury or illness and couldn’t work for days, months, or even years. If you’re single, do you have 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’s income support your whole family? In addition, remember that you don’t have to be working in a hazardous position to need disability insurance. Accidents happen not only on the job but also at home, and illness can strike anyone.
If you own a business, disability insurance can help protect you in several ways. First, you can purchase an individual policy that will protect your own income. You can also purchase key person insurance designed to protect you from the impact that losing an important employee would have on your business. Finally, you can purchase a disability insurance policy that will enable you to buy your partner’s business interest in the event that he or she becomes disabled.
How Much Disability Income Insurance Should You Have?
The amount of individual disability income insurance you should buy depends on three things: how much income you’ll need if you become disabled, how much money you can afford to spend on premiums, and how much insurance you’ll be able to purchase under the insurance company’s guidelines.
Determine how much income you’ll need if you become disabled
It’s hard to know exactly how much income you’ll need after you suffer a disability, but you’ll probably need more than you think. Most of your fixed expenses won’t change, and you may save money on work-related expenses such as clothing, automobile costs, and lunches out. However, you’ll also spend more on other items, including the following:
Medical expenses: You can expect your medical expenses to rise when you suffer a disability. Assuming that you have health insurance, you’ll probably have to satisfy a deductible as well as an out-of-pocket maximum, which may increase your expenses immediately after your disability occurs. In addition, if you suffer a long-term disability and are forced to quit your job, your group medical insurance coverage may be terminated.
Living expenses: What if you can’t drive, clean your apartment or house, mow the lawn, or cook for yourself after you become disabled? Will you need to hire household help to take care of day-to-day activities that you can no longer do? Hiring help can be a substantial, unexpected expense when you become disabled.
Child-care expenses: If you have young children and both you and your spouse work, you know how expensive child care is. Can you afford it if you or your spouse becomes disabled and unemployed? The disabled partner may be able to care for the children at home, but not if his or her disability is too limiting.