Jermichael Finley’s Disability Insurance Policy in Question As He Decides Whether or Not to Resume Playing Football

Jermichael Finley had a potential career-ending spinal injury even though he had a successful surgery to repair the damage. Finley will have to decide if he is prepared to play ball again or if he's going to bow out of his NFL career and try to collect the benefits from his $10 million disability insurance policy.

If he opts for the insurance policy and is successful, he will walk away with $10 million, tax-free. His ability to collect those benefits, however, will be called into question since he has not technically suffered a permanent total disability although that final decision will be left up to his insurance company. In other words, he can expect the insurance company to agree his injury has not prevented him from returning to professional football.

"While discussion about whether Finley decides to collect the money from his disability policy or play the game is intriguing, it wouldn't be taking place had he purchased a 'loss of value' policy in addition to his current disability policy. Loss of value insurance is designed to cover a player for the difference between what he would have made if healthy and what he ends up making after an injury or illness," (TE Jermichael Finley's $10M fallback plan might not be firm: Yahoo Sports, August 4, 2014).

"Finley has one major decision in his hands right now," comments Frank N. Darras, America's disability insurance lawyer to the pros. "He is not the only one who has had a career-threatening injury and he won't be the last. There are so many ways to protect a star athlete or any strong earner from that loss of income and one of those ways is a bulletproof private disability insurance policy. Even though this has become challenging for Finley, don't let it get in your way to protect your future finances."

All athletes, especially top-earners, should purchase a private individual disability insurance policy to help safeguard their future income. There are several additions athletes should consider adding to their disability insurance policies as a way to protect themselves. One option is an own-occupation rider, which lets the policyholder collect the benefits even if they find another job after their injury. Another option is loss of value insurance, which will cover the difference between potential income before an injury and actual income after the policyholder was injured.

"The world of disability insurance can be a confusing place so don't be afraid to ask for help and contact an experienced insurance agent. There are many options out there to add on to any disability insurance policy and you want to make sure you are buying the right one for the best price. This is your income we're talking about and you need to take it seriously not only for you but for your family as well," says Darras.