Opinion & Analysis
IPAW: Disability, Accident, Long-Term Sickness and Loss of Income: 10 Expenses to Consider
24 Aug 2021
Disability, the aftermath of an accident or the impact of long-term sickness and the ensuing loss of income all have huge financial implications that few are prepared for. Without the ability to obtain a steady income, it’s easy for the bills to mount up quickly.
If you have to spend days, months, or even years away from work, income protection insurance could give you the funds to cover that loss of income and pay your bills.
Here are 10 expenses you need to prepare for in case of a disability, an accident or long-term sickness:
- Medical Costs
Once you experience a disability, an accident or long-term sickness, you may be required to visit specialists, pay for hospital parking, perform medical tests, and buy medications to help you recover and treat your condition.
If you don’t have enough funds in your savings, you may end up resorting to putting charges on your credit card—and you could go into debt.
- Loss of Income
In the case of disability, accident or long-term sickness not only would you have to cope with possible medical bills stemming from your injury or illness, you would also have to deal with income losses from missing work and recovering.
The loss of several pay packets—or more, depending on how long you are out of work—is not to be taken lightly.
- Utility Bills
A leave of absence from work and the subsequent loss of income may make it harder to pay for gas, heating and electricity.
Do you have enough emergency savings to cover what could potentially be many months of utility bills?
- Rent or Mortgage
Housing is usually the biggest single expense for consumers. You could risk eviction, losing your property if you fall behind on your rent or mortgage.
Since a disability or long-term sickness stretching for more than two-and-a-half years could equal 135 weeks of missed paychecks, you may have to dip into your savings to pay for your housing.
- Internet and Phone
If you were disabled and couldn’t work, you would still need to account for the services provided by your internet and phone companies.
You could choose to cut your service package or switch to a lower-cost plan.
- Food Expenditures
Disabilities often bring on a change in both your budget and your health situation. In this case, you may need to either reduce your food or your dining out expenses.
Consider, too: Depending on your diagnosis and the recommendations of your doctor, you might have to switch to a special diet to accommodate your medical condition.
- Transportation and Fuel
If you were disabled, you would need to take into consideration how you would get to and from doctor’s appointments, the pharmacy, and other places. If you were to find a car too expensive, you might opt to take public transportation instead.
Although insurance—health, car, home, renter’s, and other policies—often only makes a small dent in your regular pay, in the case of a loss of income, you would still need to take this expense into consideration.
Add up how much you would require in cash reserves to stay current on insurance for a year-long illness or longer.
- Child Care
If you were disabled with a condition that would mean you needed more childcare services, you would need to budget for this higher cost.
For example, if you were disabled, you may need someone else to watch over your children while you visit doctors and other medical appointments.
- Fees and Interest
While you could put all your household bills on your credit cards, this may be an unsustainable way to pay your expenses in the case of a loss of income.
Not only would you have to deal with rising payments from interest, you also risk having fees from overdrawing on your limit.
All of these considerations make a loss of income resulting from disability, accident or long-term sickness a big challenge. But if you carry the proper income protection coverage, you could get back on the job without the added stress of bills piling up in the background.
A version of this article appeared on the Colonial Life blog. This article is based on an original article by the Council for Disability Awareness which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the American public about the risk and consequences of experiencing an income-interrupting illness or injury. The CDA engages in research, communications, and educational activities that provide information and helpful resources to wage earners, employers, financial advisors, consultants, and others who are concerned about the personal and financial impact a disability, long term illness or accident can have on wage earners and their families. This does not constitute financial advice. IPTF thank CDA for their support in raising awareness of the importance of income protection.