Memorial Day is upon us, which is the day we recognize all of the men and women who served in our military and made the ultimate sacrifice. It is an important day and too many of us don't take the time to appreciate these people. If you have an opportunity to attend a ceremony, you will be happy you did.
As it's also the end of May, we can close the books on another Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM), which is when the insurance industry promotes the importance of disability insurance. Unfortunately, disability coverage is not top of mine for most people. Part of this is due to misconceptions of why to buy it and what it does.
For example, most group disability plans cover a few weeks "maternity" coverage, immediately after a child is born. I have worked in some of these groups, like schools and municipalities, when the employee decides to drop her coverage because "I already had my kids." I try to plea with people to keep their policy, not because I'm will lose a commission (I'm on a salary), but because there are so many other times when that policy will be useful.
One of my old sales managers would tell us that when people hear the word "disability", they think of someone in a wheelchair who has been seriously injured in a car accident. The truth of the matter, however, is that over 85% of disability claims are for illnesses, with cancer being the leader in that category. (Heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses are not far behind.)
Of course there are those people who do get injured. I spoke with a teacher in western North Carolina who had been in a car accident. Someone "t-boned" her car and broke her femur. She was out of work for four months while she went through physical therapy. Of course, her policy did what it was designed to do, which made her a strong advocate for disability insurance among her coworkers.
But what is your disability policy designed to do? Your policy is actually "paycheck" or "income" protection. If you were to get sick or hurt and were unable to work, your policy would help you pay the bills. And we all know that those bills don't stop coming just because you are a very nice person.
There are those people who don't necessarily need a disability insurance policy. They may have passive income, like rental properties or other investments, that will provide some money to pay monthly bills. For most people, though, this is not the case.
If you have an employer who offers a disability policy, take a good hard look at it. And if you are a business owner, a contract employee or otherwise self-employed, you may want to consider an individual disability policy. They have a few differences from the traditional group plan but can be an integral part of your financial plan.
Have a great Memorial Day and remember those who gave all for our freedoms.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. 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. And please subscribe to this blog!