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Why you should have disability insurance
By Terri Williams
What would happen if you had an accident, became disabled and couldn’t work for a period of time – or ever again?
An accident for someone who doesn’t have disability insurance could be financially devastating. If you can’t work, how do you pay the bills? How long will your emergency fund last – if you have one? How far will you end up in debt to maintain your lifestyle, pay your debts and cover extra costs due to the accident.
Unfortunately, accidents are a part of life. According to Great West Life, one in three people on average will be disabled for 90 days or longer at least once before age 65. The average length of a disability that lasts over 90 days is 2.9 years.
Disability insurance helps you replace your income if you can’t work due to an accident. How much you will pay for disability insurance can vary depending on many different factors:
- the amount of income you want – usually not more than two thirds of your annual income
- when the income will kick in – one month or three months
- how long the income will last – usually from two years up to the age 65
- your occupation. The more dangerous your job, the higher the cost and limits on your coverage
- the coverage you buy. “Own occupation” coverage provides you with benefits if you can’t work in your regular job, even if you can do another job. If you have “regular occupation” coverage, you typically receive your monthly benefit if you can’t perform your regular job. Your income must be reduced due to the disability. If you have “any occupation” coverage, you must be unable to perform the duties of any occupation. You must be completely unable to perform any job. Sometimes the terms can be adjusted to match your education level and experience, providing you with more flexibility.
It is important to speak to your financial advisor about ensuring you have enough disability insurance and the right coverage for your personal situation.
Terri Williams, CFP®, is Vice President, Marketing and Brand Management for DundeeWealth Inc.