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Assessing Disability Insurance

Most of us are aware of the need for medical coverage, but we often neglect disability when determining our insurance needs. Disability insurance helps replace income lost because of an accident or illness. Few of us would have an adequate war chest for an extended battle with a loss of income.

Unfortunately, many of us will need disability income protection some time before we die. For people aged 45, two out of five will be disabled for more than 90 days before they reach age 65.¹ Without disability insurance protection, a disability could spell financial disaster.

Disability at any age can disrupt income while medical expenses deplete your savings. Unless you have a battle plan, the effects of even a short-term disability can be financially and emotionally devastating.

Disability Protection

Disability insurance provides a financial safety net. In the event you experience a disability, the benefits provided by disability insurance effectively replace a portion of your earned income. Disability coverage can prove to be invaluable. And in many cases, disability insurance should be considered before taking steps to achieve other financial goals.

Designing a Disability Protection Plan

Appropriate disability coverage depends on your particular situation. However, there are a few issues you may want to consider.

First, consider carrying enough coverage to replace at least 60 percent of your earnings. Many companies limit benefits to between 50 percent and 80 percent from all sources of disability income prior to the disability. This would mean, for example, that the amount of any Social Security disability payments you receive would be deducted from your benefit amount. Remember, private disability benefits are usually tax-free.

Consider extending the time between when the disability occurs and when you start receiving benefits. Choosing a 90- or 180-day waiting period instead of a 30-day waiting period can lower your cost substantially.

Be sure to compare and review policy benefits carefully. Disability insurance can be an affordable alternative an alternative many people cant afford to be without.

© 2003 Emerald Publications



Source:
¹ 2002 Field Guide, National Underwriter Company, 2002
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