Insurance is a rather unique commodity in the respect that it's something you buy with the hope that you'll never need to use it. Certain kinds of insurance are required by law, like car insurance if you're going to legally drive an automobile. Homeowner's insurance, earthquake insurance and flood insurance are all pretty much viewed as essential depending on where you live. Health insurance is obviously a good idea for everyone to have for any number of reasons. However, when you get into the kinds of insurance that don't seem absolutely mandatory, the natural inclination is to do without them. Disability insurance falls into this category. And like a lot of other types of insurance you can purchase, the importance of it might not be so evident until life throws that curveball at you and you really need it.
Depending on your unique situation, disability insurance might not be truly necessary. If you are part of a double income family and you live below your means and have a significant chunk saved for a rainy day, chances are you're less likely to see the benefits. Conversely, if you're the sole bread-winner and have four kids to feed plus an elderly parent to care for, you probably already have disability insurance and if not, you should stop reading right here and contact an insurance agent immediately. Of course, most people would land somewhere between these two extremes, so the trick is to honestly assess your own situation and see how adversely your life would be impacted if you were suddenly disabled through illness or accident and unable bring in an income for a significant period of time.
California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island offer state mandated disability insurance, so if you live in one of those states you could always explore your options there before opting for additional coverage. Other states have some form of short-term disability insurance for non-work related injuries, illness, or pregnancy. However these generally only cover a portion of your total earnings, so depending on your expenses, you may need to supplement it.
There are tools available to figure out just how much disability insurance you would need if you were suddenly unable to bring in your regular income. Online calculators can be helpful. And like with many other types of insurance, when you start to investigate the actual cost, you may be surprised at how affordable some disability coverage can be. Again, it's the kind of thing that you hope you'll never use, but you'll be thanking your stars that it's there when you need it. Obviously rates will vary depending upon the individual, but there are options out there in the neighborhood of $4,000 worth of coverage per month for about $75. You may need more coverage than that, but ultimately, rates are pretty affordable, so it's worth exploring your options at the very least.