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Are you adequately insured if you become ill or disabled?

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We've previously discussed the fact that many people don't get disability insurance because they don't think that they will ever need it. However, others are mistakenly under the assumption that if any disability or illness keeps them out of work, they are covered by their employer, either through their sick leave policy or through their benefit plan.

Some employers do offer short-term and long-term disability insurance. It's essential to check the benefits that you have or chose to see whether you have disability insurance through your employer or if you can select that benefit during the next open enrollment period.

If your employer does offer this insurance, it's also important to know exactly what percentage of your income it will cover and for how long. Most employer-provided policies cover 70 percent or less of your salary. Check the details of the plan and find out if you can get additional coverage for a bit more money.

Workers without employer-provided disability insurance sometimes assume that they can get coverage if needed either through workers' compensation or Social Security Disability insurance. However, workers' comp is only available for job-related injuries and not always for those. To receive SSDI, meanwhile, a person must meet specific criteria.

If you aren't able to get disability insurance through your employer, it may be worthwhile to look into individual disability insurance plans. Specifically, it's worth considering long-term disability insurance. Remember that disability insurance is not just for disabilities or injuries. In fact, most claims are made by people with illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

It's important to take your time, do your research and compare plans before choosing the one that's best for you. You want to do your best to ensure that the coverage will be adequate to take care of you and your family and that you won't have to battle the insurance company to get your benefits if you need them.

Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, "Many NH people aren't properly covered for a disability," Mark A. Hebert, July 25, 2015

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