by Margie Coghill


Disability insurance is a valuable resource to have and can give you the peace of mind that your family’s finances are protected from the unexpected. What would happen if you became ill and could not work for an extended period of time? Do you have family members that depend on you financially? Would they have enough money to pay the mortgage payment and monthly bills if you were disabled?

Disability insurance is a type of insurance that pays you a monthly benefit if you become disabled. Most people purchase both short-term and long-term disability insurance, as coverage for long-term disability may take as long as six months to begin. Short-term disability begins 1-14 days after the employee is unable to work and provides 40%-60% of the employee’s regular wages. Short-term disability coverage can last from 9-52 weeks. Long-term disability begins 10-53 weeks after the employee is unable to work and provides 50%-70% of the employee’s regular wages. Long-term disability coverage may last for 5-10 years, or as long as the employee is disabled until the age of 65.

What are the most common causes of short-term disability claims?
» Pregnancy
» Musculoskeletal disorders
» Digestive disorders
» Mental health issues
» Injuries.

What are the most common causes of long-term disability claims?
» Musculoskeletal disorders
» Cancer
» Injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains of muscles
and ligaments
» Mental health issues
» Heart attacks and strokes

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, consumer bankruptcy filings in 2019 found that over 44% of debtors cited “medically-related work loss” as the reason for their bankruptcies. Workers’ Compensation only provides benefits to employees who get injured or sick from a work-related cause. Social Security Disability Insurance is very hard to obtain and to meet the eligibility requirements, the applicant must have a combination of severe impairments and be unable to work in any job field.

Many employees have access to disability insurance through their employers. If you do not have that option, the cost of disability insurance varies, and the average annual premium is typically 1% to 4% of your gross income. Find a company that fits your budget and expectations. You may have to work with a broker or agent to get a policy.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends these top insurers for disability insurance:
» Thrivent Financial
» Northwestern Mutual
» MassMutual
» Mutual of Omaha
» State Farm
» Assurity

Purchasing short-term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance gives you peace of mind knowing that you are protecting yourself from medical debt if you become disabled.