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As a licensed independent insurance broker, I’m a huge advocate for disability insurance. It is, in my personal opinion, my clients’ best bet for a safety net. According to the Social Security Administration, studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled before retirement age. I wouldn’t play 30% odds unless I was in Vegas. If you have the option to enroll in short- and long-term group disability insurance, do it. But relying solely on group disability insurance comes with its share of caveats, some of which include:

  • Group disability insurance typically covers only 50–60% of your income.
  • Group disability insurance is probably not portable if you change employers.
  • A qualifying disability often has a very narrow definition.
  • If your employer pays the premiums, then the benefit you receive is taxable.  That 50-60% now looks more like 40-50% of your income. (can you survive on half of your current paycheck?)
  • Benefit payments are typically offset by any additional disability-related compensation you might receive, e.g. workers compensation, social security, legal settlements, etc.

If your disability is temporary and short in duration, e.g. surgery recovery, maternity leave, etc., you’ll more than likely be fine to cover this income gap since short term disability insurance is typically for conditions spanning 6 months or less. But if you had a disability that made it impossible to work for more than 6 months, could you afford to pay for your bills, medical care and daily expenses while taking a 50% pay cut as the cost of living continued to rise? That’s the value of having a supplementary or individual long-term disability insurance. Think about contacting your independent insurance broker to discuss all of your options.

OK, the cable insurance bit.  What do you do if you’re unable to work and probably sitting on the couch in between doctor visits?  Watching television.  But, if you’re not working, you’re probably taking care of your important bills first, like keeping food on the table, keeping the lights on, mortgage, etc.  Cable TV is probably one of the first “extras” to get scratched off the list.   Unless you have cable insurance (disability income insurance in case you weren’t paying attention).

I have to thank Kathleen Spillane of MetLife for the cable insurance story – I wish I came up with this!