Hey, it’s always fun to say stuff off the cuff with friends, but when you have readers who take your words seriously and act on them….it’s probably best to do some research first. Our Boner of the Week! Is the most outrageous thing I’ve read on the internet in the last seven days.
…and we’re back to personal finance blogs!
A well-known blogger this week described disability insurance as “optional” in an article about types of insurance you should pursue. Really? Maybe it’s “optional” in the same way other insurances may be bypassed if you have other forms of coverage, but I don’t think it’s “optional” like the guacamole on my nachos at Buffalo Wild Wings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really a guacamole or disability insurance lover, but I can safely pass on the former. The latter….well, let us see for ourselves…..
When you’re deciding which insurances you need, disability coverage should be at the top of your list.
Here are the reasons why:
– If you can’t work, you can’t feed yourself without income. Unless you’re hoping for that awesome government check every month, disability insurance will protect your family and your things. Know why? You’ll still have income.
– Don’t think it’s going to happen to you? Think again. There’s some great news when it comes to auto accidents. Roads are becoming safer. There were just over 33,000 highway accident fatalities in 2009, as compared to over 43,000 in 2005. Instead of dying, people are just maimed.
Need Statistics? How about these eye-popping numbers on disability:
o As of 2009, persons in the U.S. have a 12 percent chance of suffering a disability. (Cornell University)
o Just over 1 in 4 persons who are 20 years old today will suffer a disability. (Council for Disability Awareness)
o Over 12 percent of the population is currently disabled. (CDA)
o 61 percent of wage earners personally know someone who has been disabled for three months or longer during their working career. (CDA)
Insurance is about odds. I dislike insurance policies as much as the next guy. That’s why my goal is to only buy insurances that I’ll probably need and avoid those that I won’t. Because I’m determining the chance of risk, it makes sense for me to check the probability of the occurance of need.
So, let’s examine the chances of a disability vs. other types of insurance listed in the piece:
Disability: 1:12 (Cornell University, listed above)
Auto: 5.67:100 (collision claims, according to Insurance Information Institute)
Home: 6:100 (Insurance Information Institute)
In fact, the author of the piece acknowledges the high rate of disability but still lists it as optional insurance. I can’t understand this logic.
Life insurance isn’t considered optional in her piece…in fact it’s listed as the third most important type of coverage (behind auto and health). But to express it in the most crude terms possible….isn’t your family better off if you’re dead than if you’re sucking down food and taking up space? They’ll have to cart you to the doctor and help you with basic activities. You’ll use electricity as you watch television or listen to the radio instead of work. It’s not fun for you and expensive for your family.
Not working? Long Term Care coverage isn’t even mentioned in the blogger’s piece and represents a huge hole in the financial plans of retirees who have enough money to protect but not enough to withstand the huge costs associated with custodial care on a daily basis. I won’t go into these facts here, because it’s slightly off-topic.
I’m tired of:
– “financial professionals” describing insurances and listing disability policies as the stepchild of the industry.
– consumers saying “I have disability through work, so I’m all set.” Workplace disability coverage often is capped at a staggeringly low amount of coverage. Why? Because a disability is expensive and insurance to cover a disability is expensive. Do your homework before flippantly deciding that “my insurance through work is enough.”
Still, maybe the blogger is off the hook. Here’s when you don’t need disability coverage:
1) if you have enough money to cover a disability, you can self-insure.
2) if your income stream comes from places that would be unaffected by your disability, and your health care coverage will tackle additional costs.
I’d like to believe that when she wrote “optional” next to disability insurance she meant to write “optional” next to every insurance coverage. Otherwise, I’m sure she meant that you should explore disability insurance as thoroughly as you would health, auto, home and life insurance.
When some professional writer, television talking head, or paid advisor tells you to look past an insurance type, always reach for statistics. Although I’m as bad at math as the next personal financial blogger, the numbers will usually find a way to lead me to the truth. The truth in this case: find adequate disability coverage.
Now it’s your turn. What insurances aren’t “optional” in your life? Which do you skip and take the risk?