Is Disability Insurance Worth It?

Written by: Scott Sery

Throughout your lifetime, there is a pretty good chance that you will become disabled.  This does not mean you will necessarily be in a wheel chair the rest of your life, but rather you will not be at full capacity.  Even with the statistical proof that they run the risk of being disabled, many people forego getting disability insurance.  The reason is that they have some group coverage through work (even though this is only designed to replace about half their income) and they feel individual coverage is too expensive.

The prices of individual insurance coverage will vary by the insurer.  The policies, and what they cover, will vary as well.  There are some insurance companies that seem to add all sorts of riders to their policies so when a person does become disabled they do not have to pay based on a technicality.  The type of coverage can vary, the waiting periods will vary, some policies come with inflation protection, and others do not.  With so many different variations among policies and between insurers, the consumer can often become overwhelmed and end up passing on the insurance.

For those who do have disability insurance, or who are looking at getting a policy, is the price worth it?  A basic rule of thumb is that if you have cheap insurance, you can expect cheap payouts.  In the insurance world the more you pay (as long as you are with a reputable company) the more you will get if you file a claim.  In order to find a reputable company, do your research beforehand and check into their claims paying history.  For example, I know of an individual who was a CPA, who obtained group coverage through work and individual coverage on his own.  When he was 35 he was diagnosed with a rare disease that left him unable to sit for long periods of time.  Since he had own occupation coverage through a well-respected company he was able to file a claim and have it paid easily.  He then went on to produce his own hunting show and continue to make an income, even though he was technically disabled.

Ultimately the decision on whether or not disability insurance is worthwhile is your own.  I personally have group coverage through my work, and I have decided to forego the individual coverage.  I know that I am taking a risk by doing so, but I also know that I have many other talents that I can use to make an income in the event I become disabled.  But it is also important to consider who else is depending on you.  If you become disabled, your spouse may have to reduce his or her working hours to better take care of you (depending on the extent of your disability).  Most insurance coverage (for young, healthy people) is fairly inexpensive.  Is it worth giving up a night or two per month at the bar to protect your earning ability?


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Is Disability Insurance Worth It?

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