According to new research from The Hartford, 49 percent of U.S. workers have short-term disability insurance and 44 percent have long-term disability insurance. This represents a drop of 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively, over last year's survey in the number of Americans with the coverage that provides an income if one cannot work due to an illness or non-work related injury.
"We are concerned about the lower number of Americans who have coverage designed to provide a financial safety net," said Ron Gendreau, executive vice president of The Hartford's Group Benefits. "Approximately 2 million Americans have experienced a disabling illness or injury so far this year.2 Based on our survey, about half of those workers will continue to have an income to help pay for expenses while they are recovering from their disability."
The Hartford's national survey also found:
• 92 percent of Americans would need to make lifestyle changes if they lost part of their family income for three to six months;
• 75 percent of consumers base their buying decisions on their fear of experiencing an unexpected financial hardship; and
• Only 25 percent of workers completely understand disability insurance.
"People understand the importance of insuring their home," Gendreau said. "Yet by not protecting their paycheck, consumers are essentially putting their home at risk. Consider that losing your income for two years can be the financial equivalent of losing your home."