According to the Social Security Administration, 30% of all American workers will suffer a disability in their lifetime. These are sobering odds, yet only a handful of Americans have planned how to replace their lost income if they experience a disability that would prevent them from working.
According to a September 2007 survey by COUNTRY Insurance & Financial Services, a mere 3% of American workers have enough disability insurance to replace all of their income, while more than a third wouldn’t be able to replace any of their income if they became unable to work. Women are more likely than men to be unable to replace lost revenue: 39% of the women polled said their income would be lost entirely, while only 31% of the men responded that they would have no income.
More than a quarter-26%-of the respondents said they hadn’t even thought about where their income would come from in the event of disability, while 31% said their disability income would come from the government. Thus, it seems that Americans persist in the belief that financial assistance from the government will protect them in the event of a disability, even though the Social Security Administration reports that fewer than half of all disability claims are approved. Women were more inclined than men to believe government support would help them: 35% of women said the government would compensate them, while only 26% of the men polled said they expect help from the government.
Many of the survey participants acknowledged they would not be able to maintain the same quality of life for very long if stricken by a disability. 33% said they could not keep their lifestyle if disabled and out-of-work for 90 days. Once again, the responses differed by gender: 54% of the male respondents said they could maintain their lifestyle for 90 days, while only 45% of the women said that they could.
Survey findings also perhaps explain why so many Americans are ill-prepared for a disability: 62% indicated that they value other forms of insurance protection, such as homeowners and auto insurance, over disability insurance. Among these three types of insurance coverage, just 22% valued disability insurance the most.
Statistics such as these indicate that Americans must learn to consider income their most valuable asset. Making sure you have adequate coverage to protect your payment before a disability will help you avoid losing other vital assets, like your home or car, if you become disabled for any significant period.
As you can see, income is your most valuable asset. Protecting your income if you can’t earn any for some time is very important.