Financial well-being for everyone: income protection

2 MIN READ | #benefits

If someone asked you to name your most valuable asset, you might say that it’s your home or car. Yet while these are significant belongings, this answer overlooks the most valuable asset of all: your ability to work and earn an income into the future.

People make sure to have insurance to protect their homes, cars, and other physical assets in case of an emergency. But do you have protection for this intangible asset — your future income? What would happen if you got sick or in an accident and had to stop working? No one likes to linger on scary thoughts, but having insurance to supplement income during an emergency helps a lot. This is where disability income insurance comes in.

Know the numbers

People tend to think “that won’t happen to me.” That’s understandable since no one wants to think that he or she could face a sudden disability, even for a few months. But according to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 61 million American adults are living with a disability at any given time. That’s 26 percent of the U.S. population. 1

Disability from illness

Another common misconception is that disability is usually caused by an accident. Of course accidents happen, but they actually account for only about 10 percent of the disabilities that cause people to stop working. Surprisingly, almost 90% of long-term disabilities are caused by common illnesses – not injuries or catastrophic accidents.2 This includes illnesses such as heart conditions, depression, multiple sclerosis, and cancer, as well as others.

Income protection

Disability income insurance is sometimes called “income protection” because that’s exactly what it does. It protects your income in the event of a disability by accident or illness. You may have some form of disability income insurance through your employer, but often employer plans may not offer comprehensive coverage. They may only cover a portion of your income in case of emergency. In this case, it’s a good idea to buy individually-owned disability income insurance. It will help you bridge your paycheck gap and can help to cover most of your essentials and maybe even some of your extras. Also, your policy will stay with you, even if you change jobs.

An affordable option

How much you will pay for a disability income insurance policy depends on a variety of factors. These include things like your occupation, age, overall health, how much coverage you need, and more. But broadly speaking, disability income insurance is more affordable than people think. It doesn’t take a large portion of your salary to get substantial coverage. Also, the younger you are when you purchase a policy, the less expensive it will be.

Disability income insurance tailored to your needs

It’s also important to know that you can customize your policy to fit your financial reality. For example, if you have monthly student loan payments, you may be able to add a student loan rider to cover these payments through your disability income insurance policy. Additionally, you can buy a non-cancelable policy, meaning that the insurance company cannot raise the premiums so long as you pay them on time. There are also policies that include a cost-of-living adjustment, as well as others that factor in your future earnings as your career progresses. Your policy can even include monthly payments to a savings account.

In the event you suffer an illness or an accident, you should not have to worry about money. Instead, you want to be able to use your energy to recover. By working with a financial professional, you can find the disability income insurance policy to support you and your household.


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1 Disability Impacts All of Us Infographic, Center for Disease Control, September 2020

2 Integrated Benefits Institute, 2018 Health and Productivity Benchmarking, Long-Term Disability.


Individual disability income products underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (BLICOA), Pittsfield, MA or provided by Guardian. BLICOA is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of and administrator for the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state. Optional riders are available for an additional premium.