How to Start the Disability Insurance Conversation

What You Need to Know

  • Half of Americans think of their job as being risky.
  • About 51 million workers have no disability insurance at all.
  • Catastrophic injuries trigger just a small percentage of disability claims.

Consider the following numbers: 51 million Americans, one in four 20 year-olds and $1,280.

If you guessed those as the number of Americans without disability insurance, the percentage of 20-year-olds who will become disabled before retirement age and the average monthly Social Security disability payment…you’d be right.


But, that’s it for the good news.

As the numbers indicate, there is an urgent need for advisors to talk with their clients about the disability insurance gap and whether or not clients and their families are adequately protected.

Fortunately, starting that conversation is one of the few things that is as easily said than done, and there is no time like doing so than during Disability Insurance Awareness Month.

Here are a few ways to get the conversation started.

Contextualize the Risks

When most clients think about disability insurance, it is often in the context of a catastrophic accident that leads to a life-long injury.

While such accidents certainly happen, the chances of a client experiencing a catastrophic injury are, thankfully, quite minimal.

That, however, shouldn’t negate their need for disability insurance.

Rather, disability insurance — especially short-term coverage — can be a financial lifeline in the event of less severe, but far more likely, injuries.

In fact, a recent Haven Life study found that close to 50% of American workers consider their job “risky” — whether in terms of physical or emotional injury, illness or distress.

Should that injury, illness or distress result in a client being unable to work, having a disability insurance policy in place can cover lost wages.

By helping clients understand their day-to-day disability risk exposures, advisors can ensure their clients have the necessary financial protections in place.

In the event a client does need to trigger a disability insurance claim, that also means peace of mind for them to focus on recovery, not finances.

Educate on How Coverages Work (or Don’t) Together

As mentioned in my last article, certain clients might have some disability-related protection through their term life insurance policy — especially if they purchased a disability income insurance rider.

It is understandable then that clients who purchased this rider might not want to pay for a standalone disability policy.

However, advisors should help clients understand that a disability income insurance rider is not an all-encompassing solution and might not provide enough financial protection clients could need in the event of an accident or injury.

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