Saturday, February 6, 2010

Disability Insurance

Most of us, I think, are worried about disability, especially long-term disability. Yet, as this article in today's New York Times indicates, perhaps the odds of the need for extended care might not be as high as the insurance industry would have us believe:

Here's an excerpt; full link follows:

February 6, 2010
Your Money

The Odds of a Disability Are Themselves Odd

...You’ll need an education about all the ways in which the companies may limit your ability to make a claim. One of the biggest restrictions comes when insurers try to force you back to work in any job you can perform, even if you can no longer do the work you did before you were disabled. If you can afford it, you want what’s known as “own occupation” coverage instead, which should pay claims if you can’t do your old job.

There are at least a few dozen other questions you’ll need to ask your employer, your insurance agent or yourself when considering the coverage you need. I’ve posted them on our Bucks blog and linked to it from this sentence in the Web version of the column. Please post comments on any issues you think I’ve neglected, and I’ll update the list accordingly.

All of this may sound as if I’m trying to scare you away from disability insurance, in the same way that many people in the industry seem to want to scare you into buying a policy. But that’s not my intent. If you can afford a policy but lack the savings to stave off ruin during an extended disability, paying a few hundred dollars a month for coverage may be a fine idea.

But the disability insurance industry can do better here. Exaggerating for effect doesn’t really help the cause when its product is confusing to begin with.