Unum finds more than half of U.S. workers forego disability insurance, leave income at risk

More than half (55%) of U.S. workers don’t protect their income with disability insurance. Seven out of 10 Baby Boomers also forego this coverage,1 despite being more likely to need it. This generation makes up nearly half (47%) of all long term disability claims,2 according to internal claims data from Unum (NYSE: UNM), a leading provider of disability insurance.

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“People are more likely to protect their homes, phones, or cars than their most important asset: their income,” said Chris Pyne, executive vice president of Group Benefits at Unum. “But without a paycheck, they likely wouldn’t even have these other assets.”

As for why people lack the protection, a third of workers (33%) say they’re healthy and don’t need it, 29% say they can’t afford it, 11% don’t see the value in it, and 10% don’t know what it covers.1 Of those who had to file a disability claim within the past five years, 99% were glad they had disability coverage.

Workers have a one in four chance of suffering a disability before they retire, according to the Council for Disability Awareness.3 Today, those chances could be higher with nearly 6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of August 2020.4 The unpredictable coronavirus pandemic underscores the need for disability protection.

Disability insurance replaces a portion of a worker’s income if they are sick or injured and unable to work. It typically replaces 60 to 70% of an employee’s paycheck, depending on the policy, and is usually the most affordable when purchased through the workplace.

“Choosing your benefits and deciding to enroll in disability insurance is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll make in a year,” Pyne added. “It’s a safety net should you get sick or injured and not be able to work and earn an income.”

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