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Is Short Term Disability Insurance Right For You?

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Few of us walk around worried about a sudden injury or illness keeping us out of work, and really, that’s probably a good thing. After all, there’s no sense fretting over a scary event that may or may not occur.

On the other hand, though, as we’re sailing through our lives in as carefree a fashion as we possibly can, many of us neglect to financially prepare for the possibility that we could get sick or hurt. Ideally, we would all have three to six months of emergency savings in the bank, but for many people this just isn’t immediately achievable – and that’s where short-term disability insurance comes in.

Short-term disability insurance isn’t as widely purchased as other types of insurance, but it provides an important benefit to those who carry it. The basic purpose of short-term disability insurance is to provide income assistance in the event that you’re hurt or injured and can’t work for several months. Typically, short-term disability insurance provides 40%-60% of the insured person’s income if he or she becomes temporarily disabled and this benefit can last as long as two years.

So if, for example, you came down with a serious illness and needed to be out of work for several months to recover and receive treatment, short-term disability insurance would provide for some of your financial needs while you’re unable to earn a paycheck. This makes short-term disability insurance seem like a non-negotiable product to purchase, similar to life or car insurance. But it’s important to note that short-term disability insurance is somewhat expensive – between $200 and $500 per year – and insures you against a fairly remote possibility. Car accidents are common, but an injury that keeps you out of work for months is less likely. This is why many people choose to pass on short-term disability insurance.

However, short-term disability insurance isn’t necessarily a waste of money. It might be a good idea for your purchase this type of insurance if:

  • You don’t have a large emergency fund
  • You have children or a spouse depending on your income
  • You have a strong family history of serious illnesses

As with most financial products, the deciding whether or not to purchase short-term disability insurance is highly dependant on your personal money situation. Just be sure to carefully consider the factors described above and you should be in good shape to make a smart choice!

About Lindsay Meredith

Lindsay is a high school teacher and personal finance blogger. She lives, works, and plays in the Washington, D.C. area.

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