According to Marvin H. Feldman of the LIFE Foundation, you may be taking a terrible risk every day with your finances and it could be because you don't know to look for it yet.
"There's a three in ten chance that a person will suffer a disability that could keep them out of work for three months or more, yet very few people have a plan for that eventuality," said Feldman in a recent statement. "An injury or an illness doesn't have to result in a financial crisis, but that's precisely what can happen when you haven't planned ahead with disability insurance."
According to research by the LIFE Foundation, about a quarter of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning such an accident as the type Feldman describes would put these individuals in immediate financial hardship. Still, 75 percent of Americans feel they would have difficulty given the same circumstances. Right now only 31 percent are investing in disability insurance, but if you get up and go to work every day, you may want to consider in investing.
A survey by the Consumer Federation of America found that while most employees don't know what disability insurance is or that it even exists, but when they learned about it, nine out of 10 said they would sign up even if they had to pay the entire premium out of pocket. Disability insurance is available through some banks and financial services, as well as companies like MetLife and State Farm.
If you aren't familiar with how disability insurance works, it provides income during a prolonged episode during which an employee otherwise would not be able to report to work due to circumstances beyond their control. This means if you were unable to work for a period of time due to sickness or injury and weren't covered by your employer, you would not have any way of earning income or protecting your family or assets. According to the Social Security Administration, about a quarter of present 20-somethings will be disabled before they hit retirement, meaning that planning for the future should start with protecting the present.
The LIFE Foundation also asked respondents what three assets they think are most important in their daily lives. The top-ranking was a personal home at 54 percent, with a regular paycheck and a private vehicle placing second and third, respectively. So while most Americans have homeowner's or renter's insurance for their home and car insurance for their vehicle, the LIFE Foundation is challenging employees to ask themselves why they don't have insurance if they should ever break down themselves.
In the study conducted by the CFA the group found that more low income respondents were interested in receiving disability insurance but their employers didn't offer it to them, unlike high income employees who said their companies offered it to them as a service. In both instances though there was agreement that it was important to maintain.
"Every consumer is vulnerable and should be making this part of their financial plan," said Thomas R. Watjen, president of Unum, a partner group that issued the CFA results. He went on to say having disability insurance program as part of the workplace can "add an adequate standard of living with the insurance while getting back to work."