For Mark Roberts’ Use: For most of us, life insurance is an integral component of our financial strategy. We want our families to be protected in the event of our untimely death, so that they won’t be left helpless without the income they need to support their lifestyle.

It’s unpleasant to think about, but preparing for these “what if” scenarios is the best way to protect the ones we love. After all, you can’t prepare for these events after they have happened! But there is another scenario that many of us fail to envision or anticipate: What would happen if you lost your income due to sudden disability or illness? It’s another unpleasant thought, but an accident or serious health condition could happen to any of us.

It’s not just about your family, either. In the event that you can’t work, you might be forced to dip into your retirement savings. So, even a short-term illness or injury could cause major complications for your retirement one day.

Similar to the protection offered by life insurance, disability income insurance pays out benefits in the event that something unfortunate happens to you. The payout would amount to a portion of your lost income while you recover, and could mean the difference between maintaining your standard of living, or being forced to drain your savings just to stay afloat.

As with life insurance coverage, disability income insurance policies can vary greatly. So as always, careful research is mandatory. Research the level and type of coverage that would be appropriate for your situation. In most cases, you would need a payout equal to at least 60 percent of your current income in order to keep yourself financially solvent. Also ask your disability income insurance company if they deduct Social Security disability payments from your prospective payout amount, so that you have a clear idea of how much benefits you would actually receive in the event that you need them.

Another consideration is the timing of payouts. Some plans will pay out benefits 30 days after the onset of the disability, while others require a waiting period of 90 to 180 days. Your premiums will depend upon the level of coverage that you select. If you choose a plan with a longer waiting period, make sure you have established a rainy day fund to cover expenses while you wait for benefits.

As with all financial decisions, give us a call if you have questions about disability income insurance. We can help you decide if this type of coverage fits into your overall financial plan, and answer any other questions you might have about protecting your family and your lifestyle.