by Susan Paige
What would you do if you suddenly got sick and couldn’t work? Do you have enough savings to pay the bills if you lose your job or run out of sick days? Realistically, most Americans don’t have ready access to $500 in the event of an emergency, so a serious illness or injury could prove catastrophic. The good news is, long-term disability insurance can help bridge the gap.
Understanding Your Insurance Needs
As we age and our lives change, our insurance needs change as well – unfortunately, insurance costs also tend to go up as we age, so it’s important to secure your future early on. If you wait to apply for insurance in middle-age, it will be more expensive, often for less coverage. This is a particular problem for disability insurance because people often don’t consider the likelihood that they may become disabled, even for a few months or years, until they’re slightly older. That youthful invincibility needs to wear off.
The fact is, everyone should have long-term disability insurance, whether you’re a white-collar professional or perform manual labor. That’s because the majority of disabilities are caused by illness; they don’t discriminate. The real question is, what type of long-term disability insurance should you choose?
Finding A Policy
If you’re ready to choose a long-term disability policy, you may feel overwhelmed by the options. That’s understandable, since there are many different policies, designed to fulfill different needs. The easiest way to navigate this process is by seeking out a disability insurance quote online. This will give you a sense of the policies available to you, as well as their relative costs. While some companies make it hard to apply for disability insurance, others offer a wide range of options, with something suitable for every budget.
Understanding Your Options
Applying for disability insurance is one thing, but understanding long-term disability policies is another. For example, long-term policies usually kick in after 90 days, and how long they pay out for varies widely from a few years to a lifetime. Depending on your job, you may also choose to apply for “own occupation” insurance, which means that the policy will continue to pay full benefits, even if you can get a different job than you had before.
Another important factor you should consider when choosing long-term disability insurance is what other types of coverage you have access to, either privately, or through your employer. Long-term disability insurance typically begins to pay out benefits after 90 days because that’s how long short-term disability, often provided through your employer, lasts. It’s important to remember that long-term disability insurance only pays your wages, or some portion thereof. Though it has the word disability in the title, it does not provide any medical coverage. You’ll need your health insurance for that, or if you’re worried about more serious problems, you may wish to invest in critical illness insurance.
Critical illness insurance policies not only cover medical costs associated with the most serious health conditions, but many supplemental costs, like lodging for family during treatment or childcare. Such policies are a bridge between health insurance and long-term disability insurance, covering the expenses that fall in between.
The fact is, our insurance system is a complicated web and it takes multiple policies to cover all expenses in the event of a serious injury or illness. What’s more, in a country where one in four people will experience a serious disability before retirement age, our current patchwork of systems doesn’t meet those needs. Long-term disability insurance, however, can provide a valuable buffer and protect yourself and your family, no matter what happens.
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