The word disability may immediately conjure thoughts of lifelong mobility or health issues, but many people experience illnesses or injuries that prevent them from working for only a few weeks or months at a time. While these periods are short in comparison to impairments that impact people for their entire lives, even a short spell recovering from surgery, illness, or injury can play havoc with your financial life.
What is short-term disability insurance?
Short-term disability insurance provides coverage for disabling events, such as serios illness, injury, or recovery from medical procedures, that prevent you from working for a short period of time. Most carriers have a waiting period that must be satisfied before benefits kick in. Wait periods vary between underwriters, but are most often around two weeks. After benefits begin you can expect to receive coverage based on a percentage of your regular base income (usually 40% to 80%) for three to six months, though some carriers provide coverage for as long as a year.
Who should carry short-term disability insurance?
If a disabling event prevented you from working for a period of weeks or months, would you have a hard time keeping up with your bills and other basic living expenses? If so, it is well worth looking into a short-term disability policy.
Short-term disability isn’t just for disasters though. While most people think of accident or illness when they think of disability, pregnancy and postpartum recovery are the most common cause for short-term disability claims. If you are planning to start a family in the near future, a short-term disability policy may provide some financial relief during pregnancy and maternity leave.
What if I already carry long-term disability insurance?
Short- and long-term disability policies are not interchangeable and work best when carried together. As we discussed in our previous blog post, long-term disability insurance provides coverage for disabling events that prevent you from working for a period of months or years. Benefit periods for these policies usually begin one to three months after a disabling event, leaving policy holders to get through their initial waiting period without financial relief. Carrying a short-term disability policy can help you to bridge the gap in coverage created by this waiting period, removing financial stress from a particularly stressful time.
How do I purchase a short-term disability policy?
Short-term disability policies are commonly provided by employers as part of an employee’s benefits package, so be sure to check whether you already have a policy before making a purchase. If you do not have a policy, or would like to make sure that your employer-provided policy meets your needs, the independent agents at Moreland Insurance would be happy to help you assess your need for coverage, research potential policies, and make a purchase you can feel good about.