In the realm of financial planning, one often-overlooked aspect is disability insurance. Understanding disability insurance and being able to determine if you have a substantial need for this type of protection is a crucial component of achieving financial wellness. 

Should I Have Disability Insurance?

What is Disability Insurance?

Disability insurance is a type of coverage designed to protect individuals in the event they become unable to work due to a disability. This disability may result from illness, injury, or any other condition that renders the individual incapable of performing their job duties.

The primary purpose of disability insurance is to provide a source of income replacement during the period of disability.

How Does Disability Insurance Work?

When an individual purchases disability insurance, they enter into an agreement with an insurance provider, which states the insurer will provide financial support in the form of income replacement if the policyholder becomes unable to work due to a qualifying disability, as outlined in the terms and conditions of the policy.

The specifics of how disability insurance works can vary based on the policy, but generally, it offers financial support until the individual can return to work, or reaches the policy's maximum benefit duration.

Key Aspects of Disability Insurance:

  1. Elimination Period: This is the waiting period before benefits are paid out. It's crucial to understand how long you must wait after the onset of disability before receiving benefits.

  2. Benefit Amount: The amount you receive during a disability can be a percentage of your pre-disability income or a flat dollar amount. It's essential to select a benefit amount that adequately covers your living expenses.

  3. Definition of Disability: Policies may use different definitions of disability, such as own-occupation or any-occupation. The definition chosen can significantly impact the coverage, so it's important to make sure the policy's disability definition aligns with your specific needs. Own-occupation policies are generally more comprehensive as they consider your inability to perform your specific job.

  4. Duration of Benefits: Policies have a maximum benefit duration, and understanding this is crucial for long-term financial planning during a disability.


Who Needs Disability Insurance the Most?

Disability insurance is especially important for individuals whose income is vital to meeting their financial obligations.

Among others, this includes professionals who are the sole income provider for their household, those with significant financial responsibilities such as mortgage payments or supporting dependents, and high-earning individuals. 

Sole Breadwinners

As the primary income provider for the family, a sole breadwinner's inability to work due to a disability could significantly impact their household's financial well-being. Disability insurance ensures a continuous income stream, allowing the individual to cover daily living expenses such as housing, utilities, groceries, and other necessities, even if they are unable to work. 

Having the means to cover these types of obligations can prevent the accumulation of debt during a period of income loss. 

Those With Dependents

The availability of financial support while the provider is unable to work can be crucial for meeting the daily needs of dependents, like housing, food, and other essential expenses. Many individuals also contribute towards their dependents' education. Disability insurance can help maintain the financial capacity to cover current education costs and save for future expenses. 

Plus, a disability may result in additional medical expenses not fully covered by health insurance. Appropriate coverage can provide the necessary financial support to cover these extra costs, ensuring comprehensive healthcare for both the policyholder and their dependents.

High Income Earners

High-earning individuals often have a lifestyle that corresponds to their income level. Disability insurance can ensure that, in the event they are unable to work, they can maintain their standard of living.

They also typically have substantial financial obligations, such as mortgage payments, education expenses, and other debts. Having a reliable income stream can make sure these commitments are met, even if the individual is unable to work. This can prevent assets like real estate, investments, and other valuables from being jeopardized to cover expenses during a period of disability. 


A Word of Caution

While many employers offer disability insurance as part of their benefits package, it's often not sufficient for those with substantial financial commitments.

Employer-provided disability insurance may have limitations, such as a capped benefit amount or a less favorable definition of disability. Individuals relying solely on employer-provided coverage may find themselves underinsured in the event of a significant disability.

We encourage everyone, especially those with significant financial responsibilities, to carefully consider their need for disability insurance. Taking proactive steps to secure comprehensive coverage can make a tremendous difference in safeguarding your financial well-being during challenging times.


Think you might be underinsured? Schedule a complimentary Risk Management consultation to analyze your needs!