If you’re in good health, you likely don’t think much about disability insurance. But the reality is that accidents and illnesses can happen no matter how healthy you may be or what age you are. That’s why it can be a smart move to take steps now to help protect your income in the event that an illness or a covered injury affects your ability to work.
Your ability to earn a living is one of your most important assets, and that’s where disability insurance comes in.
A disability insurance plan, also called an income protection plan, can help make sure you have cash benefits coming in when you can’t go to work as a result of a covered illness or injury.
Without disability insurance, you could face some downtime without a paycheck. But if you and your illness or injury are covered, then you can focus on feeling better while receiving benefits to help with your regular expenses.
Read on to learn a few important reasons why disability insurance is a smart choice, especially for educators.
1. A debilitating injury or illness could happen to anyone
As humans, we aren’t invincible. Whether you’re a thrill-seeking sports junkie or a cautious homebody, you could get hurt or sick at any time.
A simple injury such as a broken leg or a concussion can affect your ability to work. Or perhaps you have a chronic condition like irritable bowel syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux that can keep you from working. These days, COVID-19 can keep you out of school for a while, especially if you experience long COVID-19 symptoms.
For many educators, daily work in the classroom can be physically demanding. If you’re sick or injured, those demands become obstacles that can sideline you altogether.
Disability insurance coverage could mean you don’t have to work through the pain. Instead, you could take time to recuperate and heal without worrying about how you’ll pay your bills.
And if you’re a new or young educator and haven’t built up tenure yet, you may not have had a chance to accrue enough sick leave to cover such an illness or injury, making it more difficult to take time off to heal. With disability insurance coverage, you’d have the ability to recover while still receiving an income.
Related article: “How to Cope With 7 Common Educator Health Problems”
2. Paying for insurance now can reduce financial strain later
If you’re out of work as a result of a covered illness or injury, you still need to keep up with your monthly expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities and groceries. And you’ll likely have additional medical expenses, such as copays and prescriptions. It can be an especially challenging time to be without an income or disability benefits.
If you compare the costs of that potentially hefty financial impact against the generally affordable premiums for disability insurance, it may make sense to invest now to help protect your financial future.
For younger educators, that means you could maintain your lifestyle, avoid incurring significant debt and preserve your credit score. For older educators, disability insurance can help you avoid dipping into your retirement savings or delaying retirement to deal with the medical-related debts you incur.
Related article: “What Teachers Need to Do to Prepare for an Extended Medical Absence”
3. Being insured lets you focus on getting well
No matter your age, dealing with an illness or injury can be stressful. And the stress is compounded if you’re not able to work and bring home a paycheck. Plus, being away from the classroom for too long can be stressful for teachers, who worry about how their students — and their substitute teacher — will cope while they’re away.
But if you know you’re heading into an extended absence and are covered by disability insurance, you can prep your class and substitute for your absence, then focus on healing with less worry.
The NEA® Income Protection Insurance Plan*, for instance, can provide peace of mind — and up to two-thirds of your regular salary each month — to help you deal with bills and expenses that come up while you’re out sick.
With inflation weakening the power of your paycheck even when you’re healthy, having some backup when you’re not able to work can help reduce stress.
Plus, this plan pays your NEA membership dues if your disability lasts for six months or more.
Related article: “6 Injuries and Illnesses Covered by NEA Income Protection”
4. Being covered helps if you’re starting or growing your family
Disability insurance can be a smart choice if you’re planning to have children. When others depend on your income, it can be even more important that you help protect your paycheck from the impact of an unexpected illness or injury.
A disability insurance plan also can be useful during pregnancy and maternity leave. For instance, if your doctor orders bed rest during your pregnancy, disability insurance can provide benefits while you’re on medical leave. And in many cases, the insurance can be used during your maternity leave.
Many plans, however, require enrollment before you become pregnant, so plan ahead to sign up for coverage.
Related article: “Why You Need Disability Insurance Before You Get Pregnant”
5. With your NEA benefits, you can get coverage without an exam
As an NEA member, it’s easy for you to be prepared with disability income insurance. Whatever your age or health, you can enroll in the NEA Income Protection Insurance Plan* without an exam. In fact, you are guaranteed acceptance, no matter your health situation.
Plus, flexible coverage options help you plan for what you may need. Your premiums are based on what you want your monthly benefit payments to be and when you want to start receiving them.
Disability insurance makes it easy for educators of all ages to be prepared to help protect their finances if they’re ever unable to work during a disability-qualifying coverage period.
Find out more about the flexible coverage options offered through the NEA Income Protection Insurance Plan*.
Related article: “How Long Could You Go Without a Paycheck?”
*Disability Income Insurance underwritten by American Fidelity Assurance Company.