Being injured on the job, in a car wreck, or in an act of violence is terrifying enough. Many people are lucky enough to survive, but then find that survival is just the beginning. From there, they have to chart a long course to recovery. People who can’t recover fully may never be able to work again, or only at a small fraction of their previous productivity and earnings. Protect yourself now, and if you’re ever injured, you won’t have to see your finances go up in smoke.
Who Needs Protection?
Anyone can suffer an injury, so if you have the means to protect yourself against the worst consequences of an injury, you should absolutely do so. Some people face greater risks than others. You need to be especially proactive if:
- You work in a high-risk industry, such as fire safety, construction, or mining.
- You own your own business, and that business faces significant liability. For example, the owner of a construction company could be sued if a worker is catastrophically injured.
- You care for a disabled parent, spouse, or child.
- You have a medical condition that will be impossible to treat without regular income.
Invest in Good Health Insurance
The first and most important thing you need to do to protect yourself from catastrophic injuries is to have health insurance—good health insurance. Read through your policy to ensure it covers catastrophic injuries, physical therapy, mental health treatment, and other basics. If your employer health plan has coverage limits, consider buying your own plan to supplement it.
Consider Disability Insurance
Disability insurance protects your income in the event you are fully or partially disabled. It’s particularly helpful for business owners, people who are self-employed, and anyone else who cannot afford to take time off of work. If you are the sole breadwinner in your home, disability insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to protect your family’s future. Consider working with an independent insurance broker to find the plan that’s best for your needs.
Insure Your Business and Other Assets
If you have extensive assets or own your own business, consider insuring these assets. Some options include:
- Business liability insurance: This protects you in the event you are sued, and in most cases, the insurance company will provide you with an attorney.
- General business insurance: A range of policies are available to protect against the costs of a staff injury, unexpected expenses, or property damage.
- Property insurance: If you have valuable personal property—such as an extensive collection of computers—consider insuring this property. This is especially important if this property is vital to your job, or if you are still making payments that you would be unable to make in the event of a disability. This property is itself a form of insurance, that you may be able to sell for fast cash if you are injured and in need of money, so protect it.
Know About Government Benefits
Two key government programs can help you if you are injured:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available to low-income workers, regardless of how long they have worked, who become disabled.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is funded through payroll taxes, is available to workers of all income levels who meet eligibility requirements. Those requirements include working long enough to earn SSDI. SSDI can help fund a significant portion of your expenses.
Neither program is likely to fully replace your income, but each can help offset the expenses of daily life.