« Will this Olympic index deliver gold? | Main | How bad did your investments perform last decade? »

February 15, 2022

What are the actual odds of you becoming disabled?

Of all the types of insurance available, the one people seem to talk about the the least is disability coverage.

Yet relatively few people seem to have private, long-term coverage to replace their salary when they get hurt or become sick for an extended period. And many who do have some coverage through their work aren’t sure if they really have enough.

Which is a bit scary, particularly when you hear claims that disability is the number one cause of home foreclosures and bankruptcies in the United States.
But trying to calculate the odds of an injury or illness that would keep you out of work for that long is pretty tough to do, says New York Times columnist Ron Lieber, who accuses the insurance industry of trying to scare people half to death.
And the data it uses does seem to be dated to say the least. Look at this blurb from BMO Nesbitt Burns.

So what are the actual odds of losing your job to health concerns? Not as high as many in the industry would have you believe.

At age 30, there's about a one in five chance of being disabled for six months or longer although the rate certainly increases as you get older.

Exaggerating for effect doesn’t really help the cause when the product is so confusing to begin with, Lieber maintains. But that still doesn’t mean you should ignore the possibility of things going wrong.

If you’re shopping for a policy, take a hard look at what that insurance covers, how restrictive it is, whether you can return to work part-time, if it's taxed and for how long it pays the benefit, he suggests.  

What about you? Do you have disability insurance? Why or why not?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...