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Question: If I have long-term disability insurance coverage through my employer, do I need my own policy, too?
 
Answer :
First, how much disability insurance do you have through your employer, and what other financial resources do you have? Other resources might include your savings, property or assets you could sell, borrowed money, or your spouse's income. Now ask yourself if the combination of your employer-sponsored disability insurance and your other resources will be enough to pay your bills if you suddenly become disabled.

Unless you're independently wealthy, chances are good that your personal financial resources won't carry you through a long-term disability. Also, the money you've saved is probably earmarked for goals other than disability--your retirement or your children's education, for example. You might have to deplete these accounts to pay your bills.

Some employers do not offer long-term disability insurance. If your employer does, look closely at the policy. Review the monthly benefit and the length of the waiting and benefit periods. Is the monthly payment enough to pay your bills? The typical group policy covers 60 percent of your income, up to a maximum amount. Is income defined as your base salary, or does it include commissions and overtime?

How long is the waiting period in your employer's disability policy? This is the length of time before any benefits are paid to you. Often, an employer's disability policy coordinates with the company's sick pay policy. You may have to use up all of your paid sick days before the disability policy begins to pay benefits. You need to plan on having cash available to cover any gaps in coverage.

If you decide to supplement your employer-sponsored policy with one of your own, make sure the two policies coordinate in ways that work for you. For example, if you need to increase the monthly benefit, be sure your own policy will pay concurrently with your employer-sponsored policy.