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In the "movie world," when the star QB has the career-ending injury, he gets the cushy coaching job. In the "regular human being world," if you get a career-ending injury, you may need insurance to buy food and pay the mortgage when you can't work.


Overview

Individual disability insurance replaces a portion of your income should you be sick or hurt enough to prevent you from earning a paycheck. Many think of it as "paycheck protection."

Disability insurance could save you from drawing on your savings or going into debt to pay your regular expenses (housing, food, car, etc.).


Selecting a Policy

Consider more than price. Cheap policies often have more strict definitions of disability, making it hard to successfully claim benefits. You may feel that a loss of your hands limits computer work. A cheap policy may require you to type with your toes.

Some policies only cover accidents, while others cover both accidents and illness.

Find out if your employer provides any group disability coverage and read up on what it really covers (e.g. 60 percent of your salary).

Even if you have group coverage, you may choose to buy a "supplemental" policy to get your overall benefits closer to your actual salary.

You may be eligible for some Social Security disability benefits (find out at ssa.gov), but these benefits usually don't start until a minimum of five months after you become disabled.


Jargon

Monthly Benefit:
The amount you would get each month, usually a percentage of your salary

Elimination Period:
The gap between the start of your disability and the first benefit payment

Benefit Period:
Length of time you're entitled to benefits


Story Time

Bert used to have a cushy job as sofa cushion tester. His friends were envious. His mother was proud. But one sad Tuesday afternoon, after an aggressive day of air hockey, he bruised his tailbone.

Fortunately for Bert, he had purchased disability insurance. Now in his own unique way, Bert gets paid to NOT sit around all day, just like everyone else.