For Mark Roberts’ Use: Most of us consider life insurance to be an absolute necessity. In the event of your unexpected death, your family won’t be left to suddenly fend for themselves without your income.

But what would happen if you become disabled? You could suddenly lose your income, receive high medical bills, and have no way to cover your current cost of living or save for retirement. You may even be forced to dip into your retirement savings, causing even bigger problems for yourself in the future. Even a short-term disability can take a toll on your future financial standing.

In the event that you are ever unable to work due to disability, disability income insurance would pay out benefits to cover a portion of your lost income. Having disability income insurance in this type of emergency could mean the difference between keeping your standard of living and retirement account intact, and spending everything you have just to stay afloat during your time of need.

But before you purchase a disability income insurance policy, carefully consider your level and type of coverage. In order to truly benefit from this type of insurance payout, you may want to choose a coverage level equal to at least 60 percent of your current income.

Also, keep in mind that many companies limit the payout to between 50 and 80 percent of your prior income, and they count all sources of disability income. This could mean that if you receive Social Security disability payments, that amount could be deducted from your insurance payout amount.

Disability income insurance policies differ in their payout times. With some plans, you could receive your benefits 30 days after the onset of the disability, while other plans make you wait 90 or even 180 days. The difference in waiting periods will affect your premiums, with a shorter waiting period commanding a higher premium. Carefully analyze all of the options available to you, but remember to have a plan to cover this waiting period in the event that you are disabled. If you choose a plan with a longer waiting period, keep some money set aside in a savings account so that you aren’t forced to touch your retirement savings.