Over the years I have written periodically about disabilities that have unfortunately occurred in my family, to which having or not having various types of insurance made the difference between disaster and financial stability.
In one disastrous case, a dive instructor and dive store owner was hit by a drunk driver, causing severe injuries, necessitating having to learn to walk correctly again and endure arduous physical therapy. In that case, the absence of appropriate disability overhead expense protection meant that within 90 days of the accident, the business evaporated and had to be liquidated.
In another case, the young, two-income family that finally found and bought their “dream house” suffered catastrophe when the wife tumbled off a hiking trail that had collapsed, breaking her spine. Their new home was in escrow and the lender approval was based upon two incomes. Now faced with the very real possibility of a permanent injury (and loss of one source of income to qualify for the loan), what was the couple to do? The loan officer’s first question was, “Does she have disability insurance?” The answer was yes, and the dream house was saved!
We forget that disability insurance (and even life insurance for that matter) isn’t about terms and conditions. It is about saving the dream house.
St. Patrick’s Day 2021, my son and daughter-in-law delivered our first grandchild–Lorelai. In just those first few days of her life, I see the next generation, perpetuity of my family, and all of the same struggles that I faced when I was the new father.
New life means you get to rediscover the world from a fresh perspective. I still recall the first time my son Erik ran outside during a rainstorm when he was a year old. He laid down in the grass, looking up at the clouds as the raindrops fell. I followed him, and after seeing what he was doing I laid down in the grass next to him…we both laughed and laughed as the water splashed on our faces and into our open mouths. Now there is a chance to do this again, only this time Lorelai’s mom and dad get to rediscover the world. Life goes on.
Looking forward is difficult if you have not been through tribulations before. The basics of life must be taken care of immediately–food, clothing and shelter. But then there comes: Dance lessons, trips to Disneyland, family vacations, school activities, car shopping and college.
Yes, there will be a lot to do over the next many years.
Life insurance is not for the person buying the insurance. It is for the ones we love who must stay behind should an early life departure occur. Although the insurance proceeds would never replace the person who is deceased, the added security helps reduce the stress of securing funds to make sure the spouse and kid(s) can stay in the house, still go to Disneyland and take those dance lessons.
Disability insurance is equally if not more important. The disablement of one parent who is an income earner automatically reduces the chances of being able to do these things that we so look forward to doing. In terms of disablement, instead of the family just receiving benefit proceeds, the disabled person is still alive and part of the family, but now the disabled person is a total consumer and no longer bringing in any income. He/she is now the one needing care. While most families would gladly take care of a sick or injured family member, the reality is a disabled person becomes a drain on the family–mentally, physically and financially!
Disability insurance is not for the disabled person. Disability insurance benefits, like life insurance, are for the remainder of the family members. The insurance is meant to provide funds to help household and lifestyle continuity, to pay the bills and even to allow family members to go to Disneyland once in a while.
Of course, we always hope that a long-term disablement will never occur within the family. Life is amazing and it is breakable and bendable. I have been through enough to know that in a blink of an eye, life changes forever.
I cannot wait to see, and be a part of the many future life adventures with Lorelai. I know there will be many! I also know that for me, Lorelai is the reason disability insurance and life insurance exist.