Though Strapped Financially, Most Aren’t Protecting Income

Although nearly all (95%) consumers would have to change their lifestyle if they lost part of their family’s income for three to six months, only about half reported having short- or long-term disability insurance.

A new survey from insurance provider The Hartford indicates many people are unaware of the vulnerability for becoming disabled that they face. Sixty-seven percent of survey participants pointed to accidents or injuries as the top cause of short-term disability claims, but one in four workers said they do not have disability insurance because they are healthy and unlikely to become disabled.

The main barrier to obtaining disability insurance is cost, the survey found. A vast majority of workers (80%) said they can obtain income protection through the workplace, but 44% of respondents said they are having a difficult time paying for benefits.

One in five respondents indicated they most dislike filling out paper forms and calculating benefits expenses during benefits enrollment. Employees surveyed said they depend on information from their employer and insurance providers to make decisions about benefits, such as life and disability insurance.

Almost a quarter (22%) of respondents who do not have disability insurance said they did not have enough knowledge to make the decision to purchase the coverage.

For The Hartford’s survey, independent market research agency Opinauri, Inc., conducted an online survey polling 971 U.S. adults, aged 18-64, in February 2008.