Everyone is familiar with auto insurance and why it is such a good idea. Accidents can result in tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and car repair, not to mention time away from work spent healing. In the same way, home owners’ insurance and medical insurance protect individuals and families from catastrophic costs, but what about the times when you are unable to work due to a disabling illness or injury? Will you be able to pay your rent or mortgage? Buy groceries? Pay for additional medical expenses? In America, where 66% of us live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to the American Payroll Association, the answer for most people would be no.
The Costs Of Being Unprepared
Being unprepared for disability is risky, at best. For every four Americans that reach retirement age, one will have been disabled. To compound this problem, most of those disabilities originate away from work, eliminating Workman’s Compensation benefits. Without any other support, you may be able to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but you will probably have to wait an extended period of time before receiving any benefits and, for most people, the bills just keep coming.
The average SSDI payment is only $1065 a month and can be as low as $500 a month. For most families, that simply isn’t enough.
What Happens When You Are Disabled
First of all, you can’t work. This means no income, but the bills keep coming in. It also means you will probably have additional medical expenses and you may need to hire a caregiver or physical therapist to help you get back to work. In addition to the financial problems, you and your family will face additional emotional and physical demands, adding stress to everyone’s day. Stress is well documented as a cause in reduced healing times and increased likelihood of further injury or illness, something you simply cannot afford when you’re already down. Being disabled makes even normal daily activities difficult or impossible. Getting to the store, visiting with friends, or taking your dog for a walk can easily become an ordeal.
Search Out Solutions
Just as you would insure your car or home against financial disaster, you can invest in disability insurance that will provide an income when you are unable to work. Very often, disability insurance can provide 40-60% of your income, helping you and your family to stay financially afloat at a time when your income is nonexistent. Many employers offer disability insurance as part of their benefits package. Knowing it exists, however, is not enough. You must take the time to understand the details of your policy, such as time constraints and maximum benefits.
If your current disability insurance policy is inadequate to meet your family’s financial needs, talk with your employer or an agent about getting the coverage you need. If you are self-employed, disability insurance is an affordable way to protect yourself and your family in case of disability.
Ostriches Get Eaten! Burying your head in the proverbial sand, pretending that the risk doesn’t exist, can be financially devastating to you and your family. In 2007, medical problems were the cause of 62% of all personal bankruptcies. You can reduce that risk to your family by setting aside enough money to pay your bills for 3 to 6 months. This nest egg can mean the difference between recovery and ruin. Even if you have disability insurance, benefits can take as long as 3 to 6 months to be received. Knowing that you have the money you need for that initial time after disability strikes can provide peace of mind and financial weltering, while you focus on recovery.
Rather than facing financial difficulties along with your disability, you can lighten the load for yourself and your family with adequate financial planning and preparation. There is no reason for a debilitating illness or injury to eat up your retirement fund when you have set aside an adequate nest egg and invested wisely in disability insurance.
Recovering from illness or injury can be difficult enough when you are prepared. Adding the support of an outside income through disability insurance can provide you and your family with the financial support needed on the road to recovery.
Mitchell Nelson writes for MyDisabilityPlans.com, offers comprehensive disability coverage options from various disability insurance providers. Find MyDisabilityPlans.com Google+