According to the CDC, 61 million American adults live with some type of disability. With such a large part of the U.S. population disabled, disability insurance can be a life-changing asset for millions of people. For those who aren’t exactly sure what disability insurance is, it is a form of insurance that provides you with a percentage of your income if an illness or injury prevents you from working and earning a living.
There are two main types of disability insurance: long-term disability insurance, which typically pays a portion of your lost income for anywhere from one year to your entire working life, and short-term disability insurance, which replaces a percentage of your lost income for a brief amount of time—typically, between three to six months.
Disability insurance is arguably one of the most misunderstood types of insurance. Many believe that it’s unnecessary or irrelevant to them. But according to the 2022 Insurance Barometer Study, half of Americans (49%) say their household would face financial hardship in six months or less if their primary wage earner were to become sick or injured.
Here we will discuss a few of the biggest misconceptions about disability insurance and why it might be worth looking into for yourself or your loved ones.
1. I can’t get disability insurance if I don’t work full-time.
Many people believe you must be working full-time to qualify for disability insurance, which is not true. As long as you meet disability insurance eligibility requirements and can prove you are losing wages you would have otherwise been able to earn, you may qualify for disability insurance. It’s important to properly evaluate your situation to determine if disability insurance is right for you, whatever your employment status may be. To get an estimate of the amount of coverage you would need to maintain your current standard of living, visit Life Happens’ Disability Insurance Needs Calculator.
2. I don’t need disability insurance if I’m healthy.
Even if you are in great health now, don’t write off disability insurance. The fact of the matter is that if you rely on a paycheck to provide for you, disability insurance is worth exploring. What many people don’t realize is that there is always the possibility that you could become sick or injured and unable to work in the future. In fact, 1 in 4 workers entering the workforce today will suffer a disability before they retire. Disability can happen to anyone at any time. Disability insurance can provide an immense amount of support if anything were to hinder or eliminate your ability to work and earn a living.
3. Disability insurance is too expensive.
The cost of disability insurance is generally 1% to 3% of your annual salary and depends upon a number of factors, including age, gender, current health status and occupation. For example, in general, the younger you are, the healthier you are. Disability insurance rates will likely reflect this. If your occupation requires hard manual labor, handling of dangerous equipment or hazardous conditions, disability insurance rates tend to be higher.
There are other factors that will impact the cost of disability insurance, such as the benefit period and amount, elimination period and more. It is important to explore all premium options when you’re searching for disability insurance because the cost will depend on your specific situation.