The results of a recent survey show the historic recession has left many Americans with less in savings and investments and as a consequence, they are more vulnerable to serious financial hardship in the event they were to become sick or hurt and couldn't work. According to the nonprofit LIFE Foundation, more than a quarter (27 percent) of working Americans say they would have trouble supporting themselves financially "immediately" following a disability that keeps them out of work, while nearly half (49%) would reach that point in a month or less. Three out of four (74 percent) would face financial trouble within six months.
"The survey focuses attention on the serious risks facing American workers trying to cope in this difficult economy without disability insurance," said Reilly O'Neal, president and founder of QuoteRetriever.com. "Now more than ever, it's critical for Americans to insure their ability to earn an income."
The LIFE survey also found that while a majority of Americans (66 percent) feel less financially secure than they did one year ago, only 17 percent of workers worry about the financial threat of becoming disabled and being unable to work. Their greatest concerns were tied to the economy, such as:
not being able to keep up with bills (55 percent),
losing money in investments and savings (34 percent)
and being laid off (20 percent).
"Many working Americans are not as concerned about the risk of a disability as they should be. What they don't know is that they stand a one-in-three chance of becoming ill or hurt and being out of work at least 90 days at some point in their career," said O'Neal. "Without disability insurance, most people would face devastating financial consequences if they were to suffer a disabling injury or illness."
To encourage Americans to get the disability protection they need, QuoteRetriever.com suggests three ways to obtain or maintain disability insurance coverage that meets your needs and budget:
Look into Group Disability Insurance - One of the most cost-effective ways to obtain disability insurance is through your employer. Employer-provided group disability insurance is typically easier to qualify for because the underwriting is often more lenient than for individual policies. With most group plans, employees are offered the same premium as others in their general age bracket, regardless of their health status or actual age. If you have the option to enroll in a group plan, look to sign up for a short-term disability (STD), which generally replaces a percentage of your income for three months, and long-term disability (LTD), which typically pays 40% to 60% of your pre-tax base salary for a longer period of time. To find out what your employer offers, talk to your benefits manager at work.
"While group disability insurance is certainly better than nothing, people should be aware that group disability insurance policies may have significant weaknesses as compared to many individually underwritten policies. The main weakness is that many group disability insurance policies only have a definition of disability that is specific to one's own occupation for a period of 24 months after suffering a disability. This means that if the disability lasts more than 2 years individuals may find that qualifying for benefits may become more difficult. If possible, it is best for people to own their own policy so they can be in control of their own benefits and the policy can be designed to protect their individual needs, says O'Neal.
Buy your own Individual Disability Income policy - Another good alternative is an individual disability insurance policy you purchase on your own through a qualified insurance professional. You never need to worry about losing coverage if you change jobs. An individual policy also gives you the opportunity to consider policies from a multitude of carriers. If you buy through work, you're usually limited to buying (or increasing) coverage from the one carrier with which your employer is contracted. What's most important is knowing that you'll have the financial means to make ends meet in the event you suffer an unexpected injury or illness and are unable to work and earn an income.
"Many individuals don't realize the importance of comparison shopping when it comes to disability insurance. All disability insurance companies and policies are not created equal. For example, one insurance company may have better rates for executives, pharmacists, or engineers while another company may be better suited for truck drivers or plumbers. It is important to work with a disability insurance specialist that has access to multiple insurance companies so you can be matched up with the company that will offer you the best policy and price", says O'Neal.
Check to see if you can qualify for lower premiums on your individual disability insurance policy - One of the primary ways of getting coverage is to purchase an individual disability insurance policy on your own. If you have your own policy, you may be able to qualify for lower premiums if, for instance, you have quit smoking, lost a substantial amount of weight or have made significant improvements to your health. In addition, in some cases changing careers may mean lower premiums. For example, if you go from being a construction supervisor to owning the company, your rates may decrease. If you're thinking of a new career, especially in today's economy, check into savings that may exist on the same amount of coverage.
"At QuoteRetriever.com we do an annual review with all of our clients to be sure their policies are still the best suited for their needs. As people have income changes, change careers, or even if they have recently been promoted to a different position it is important to review your policies to see if you qualify for any new discounts or lower premiums", says O'Neal.
To request comparison quotes on individual disability insurance visit QuoteRetriever.com at disabilityinsurance.quoteretriever.com
5 - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus will convene a hearing to examine difficulties workers face in securing benefits they are entitled to from private long-term disability insurance plans...