Disability insurance is an agreement made between insurance companies and policyholders. In exchange for the monthly payments you make, the insurance company agrees to pay you a monthly benefit amount if you suffer a disability that affects your ability to work.
Disability insurance is designed to replace a percentage of the income you lose due to your inability to earn a paycheck. Having disability insurance means being able to meet your financial obligations — paying bills, covering household expenses, providing for your family — while you’re unable to work.
A DI policy will spell out the key elements of coverage it provides, including:
- How much you will pay in premium. Just like any other type of insurance, this is the payment you must make each month to keep your coverage in force.
- How the policy defines disability. Some policies will pay out a monthly benefit if an injury prevents you from working at your normal job, but allows you to do other types of work that will nonetheless reduce your income. Other policies will not pay benefits if you are able to work in another type of profession, even if you earn less money.
- How much you will receive in benefits. In most cases, your benefit amount will be a percentage of your income. Policies typically pay 60 to 80 percent of what you earned before your disability.
- How long your benefits will last. The benefit period may be a certain number of months or years, or up to a certain age.
Disability insurance covers injuries and illnesses that limit your ability to do what’s expected of you at work. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, there are still many misconceptions about what is considered a disability and what isn’t.
For example, what comes to mind when you hear the word "disability"? Often times its freak accidents and rare birth defects. All of those unlikely, tragic events that we believe just can't happen to us.
But this simply isn’t the reality.
More than 25 percent of today's 20-year-olds will experience a disabling event that prevents them from working for at least three months before retirement. And when you consider the most common causes of long term disabilities, it’s really not all surprising. Take a look for yourself here:
- Back pain
- Heart disease
You read that right. 90% of claims filed for long term disability benefits stem from medical illnesses, not physical injuries.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean injuries such as fractures, sprains, and strains of muscles and ligaments are not disabling. What it does mean though is that the scope of disabilities that can prevent you from earning an income is a lot broader than most people realize.
Contact us today to learn more about applying for different types of disability insurance.