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Accidents happen! Injuries can inhibit your ability to work. This can translate to loss of income. It's easy to imagine how a severe incident like a stroke, or a bad accident can result in a life-long disabiliity. Many people respect that, but realize that is not very likely especially when they are young and healthy.
However, sometimes a less severe disability, something silly like hurting your hand, sight or hearing, can be just as damaging depending on your profession. Consider how much time an office worker spends on the phone and working on the computer. An ailment affecting your hearing or vision may permanently affect your ability to do this type of work. These types of disabilities are common. It's important to consider what functions you need to perform your job.
- Long-Term Disability
- Short-Term Disability
- Critical, Accident, and Hospital Indemnity Plans
- Life Insurance with Living Benefits
Long-Term Disability Insurance
Long-term disability protects the worst cases. Benefits pay out for a long period of time, typically between 2 years or until retirement. However, the benefits do not start right away. They begin after the "waiting period" commonly 90 or 180 days. Benefits are typically tax-free, and are paid at approximately 66.67% of your gross income up to the max benefit level you select. Disability insurance typically covers "total disability". Total disability definition can vary by insurance company, but usually defined as totally unable to do your job. A "Residual Rider" can be added to cover partial disabilities.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
Short-term disability can be a great option to pair with the long-term. Typically, pays benefits after only a couple days, and can provide funds to cover the 90-day waiting period of your long-term disabiliity. Short-term disability is very affordable, since the maximum that will pay out, is fairly small compared to long-term disability.
Critical, Accident, and Hospital Indemnity Insurance
These policies are triggered automatically if a covered event happens, such as a hosptital confinement, broken bone, cancer, stroke, vision or hearing loss. They are short-term solutions, but are very affordable. Great options to cover a large health insurance deductible, and stay afloat for the immediate term after an event. Critical, Accident and Hospital policies are often sold separately, so be sure you are covering the triggering events you mean to.
Life Insurance with Living Benefits
Although not a true comparison to disability insurance. Some life insurance companies have started offereing "living benefits" which can pay out a portion of the death benefit if you become chronically, critically, or termninally ill. They are triggered if you cannot do at least 2 of the 6 activities of daily living (bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, transfering, and continence). Disabiilty insurance is superior because the trigger is the inability to do your specific job. However, life insurance with living benefits can be a good solution that solves some needs.