Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Do I Need Disability Insurance? Pt 2

On my previous post we discussed some general information about disability insurance (DI). I mentioned that if you are sick or hurt and unable to work nothing happens to your bills. They just keep coming. This is how we need to regard DI. Yes, it's to help you if you are disabled, but more importantly, it's an insurance policy for your paycheck.

Consider for a moment your annual income. Now imagine that you have a magical money machine in your home and once a year when you turn it on it prints the same amount of money as your income. The question is this: Would you insure that machine? Of course you would!

That machine is YOU! You are the one making the money and you need to insure your income. As I wrote in the last post, your greatest asset is your ability to earn a living. 

There is another part of this that rarely gets mentioned and that is that no one wants to be a burden on their family. Short term or long term, having to depend on others for your care can make a bad situation worse. Not only can you not work to provide for your family, but you may have amassed some medical bills on top of the bills you already have. 

Then there is the issue of the loss of independence. Not yours, but your family's. Someone may have to take care of you while you are healing, assuming that you will get better. Non-professional caregivers, such as your spouse or adult children will now be charged with preparing your meals, bathing you and taking you to physical therapy. Even though they love you and will feel obligated, eventually a bit of resentment will set in. 

All of the above nightmare scenarios can be avoided with the purchase of a DI policy. For many people the cost is reasonable and is worth the peace of mind that it provides. I have placed polices on school teachers, attorneys, realtors, cosmetologists and many other professions. A few years back we had an unusual case in which the client was a mechanic on a tug boat. After a few days of waiting the underwriter, who apparently spent many hours trying to find a suitable occupation class, finally gave us a verdict. The client gladly accepted the offer. 

We have one insurance carrier who will take on occupations that other companies will refuse. Farmers are especially difficult to insure, but this company will. But my favorite occupation they insure isn't an "occupation" in the sense of the word.

Stay-at-home spouses typically have no income, but if something were to happen to them, there would be a financial burden on the family. The kids may have to start going to daycare or have someone come to the home to "babysit". Either way, that can cost a lot of money. Our carrier will insure a stay-at-home spouse if they get sick or hurt, as long as the working spouse has a policy with the company. 

One of the features of a DI policy is the "elimination period". Think of this as your deductible, but instead of dollars it's measured in time. A typical group short term disability policy may offer a 0/7 elimination period. This means that the policy benefits will begin on the first day after an accident and the eighth day after a sickness. If you want to save money on your premium, you can purchase a policy with a longer elimination period, like 7/7 or 7/14. 

When we talk to folks who are self-employed or business owners about our individual policies, they are usually offered a 30, 60, or 90 day elimination period. Even though it may sound scary to have to "self-insure" for a longer amount of time, most of these people have some money stashed away in savings just for this reason. 

Take a minute and try out our DI quote tool in the upper right corner of this blog. It will ask you a few questions and give you a pretty good estimate of how much coverage you can get on your budget. 

A large majority of DI claims are for illnesses, and with the pandemic upon us now is a great time to look into getting a DI policy for yourself. Stay healthy and please subscribe. 

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast.

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