The statistics are alarming. Nearly one in four Americans will become disabled before they retire. It’s enough to have you looking twice for discarded banana peels and open manhole covers before you walk down the sidewalk. But it wouldn’t do you much good. The reality is accidents don’t cause most disabilities. Instead, back injuries, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses are usually to blame. And that’s precisely why disability insurance should be a core component of your financial life.


Things to consider when evaluating disability income coverage:


How much income replacement will I need?

Evaluate your monthly expenses to determine your risk. As a general rule, you may be eligible for a monthly benefit equal to about 60% of net salary or business income.


Can I also protect any future income increases I may receive?

Any policy issued should include a monthly benefit amount based on your current financial and occupational information. Most policies also offer a future insurability feature that allows for the purchase of additional coverage without the need to provide future evidence of good health.


When will I be eligible for benefits?

The language in the policy determines the conditions under which you become eligible for benefits.


Will my benefits keep pace with inflation?

Most policies offer riders to help your benefits keep pace with inflation during a disability. A cost of living adjustment (COLA) rider will adjust benefits each year while you remain disabled and eligible for benefits. COLA riders can be vital to maintaining your standard of living during an extended disability.


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