My name is David Hartung. On January 4th, 2012 I was moving a small space heater down to the garage. I was almost down the last steps and realized the door did not fully close and was opening back up and letting out the heat. I turned around, reached up, and closed the door. As I turned back around and stepped down, I miss-judged and my foot rolled off the last step and hit the concrete floor sideways. After an audible pop, not to mention the pain, I knew this was not a strain.
I cannot convey to you the emotions that were running through my mind. I had just completed planning and setting my goals for the coming year. I was enthusiastically looking forward to work and everything the New Year would bring.
Disbelief … anger … if I had only … this can’t be happening to me … please, God.
My life changed in an instant.
At the hospital the x-rays confirmed a break on both sides of my ankle. I was told that it was a clean break and was relieved that no surgery would be required. I was sent home with a cast and given approximately two to three months to recuperate. Unfortunately, (Murphy’s Law) my broken ankle would not heal.
In May, I had extensive reconstructive surgery including a bone graft from my hip as well as hardware and ligaments re-attached. I was now advised to not put any weight on it for four months and to use a bone growth stimulator for ten hours each day for the next five to six months.
Thankfully, I did some proper planning in the past and purchased an individual disability policy. Seven casts and nine months later my disability insurance has replaced 55% of my income (tax free). The income has helped pay the bills and the ongoing household expenses. Even though I am an insurance agent and sold the insurance to myself, I learned a powerful lesson firsthand: If you need your income, you need disability insurance.
I’ll make a bet with you. Your car and your home are insured, but chances are you aren’t properly protecting something that is many times more valuable than either of those things, your paycheck.
Think about it. What would happen if suddenly, due to an illness or accident, you were unable to work? Without your paycheck, how long would you be able to make your mortgage or rent payment, buy groceries, and pay your credit card bills without feeling the pinch? If you’re like most, it wouldn’t be long at all. Half of all working Americans couldn’t make it a month before financial difficulties would set in, and more than one in four would have problems immediately. 
Most income earners, regardless of income level, have spending commitments that consume 55 to 60% of normal cash flow. Those commitments mean a prudent person should secure disability income insurance in the same amount of at least 55 to 60% of normal earned income. Think of it as insurance for your paycheck. It ensures that if you’re unable to work because of an illness or injury, you will continue to receive an income and make ends meet until you’re able to return to work.
The chances of a disability occurring before age 65 are much greater than most of us realize: 
There are many misconceptions about group long term disability. Disability insurance through work is a great benefit, but you need to find out exactly what coverage you have. More than 70% of employers don’t offer long term disability coverage.  I would imagine that statistic even larger due to our recent economic climate. And short-term or partial coverage wouldn’t be enough to allow you to meet your current and future financial obligations if you were unable to work for an extended period of time. Note: Group long term disability is taxable income if paid in whole or in part by your employer and it is not transferable or portable.
Workers’ compensation is a state mandated disability program that covers lost income and medical expenses when injuries or illnesses happen at work; however, most disabilities are not work related. Less than 5% of disabling accidents and illnesses are work related.  The other 95% are not, meaning Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover them.
Social Security Disability Benefits? Better do your homework: 65% of initial SSDI claim applicants were denied, and the average monthly payment is $1065 a month, barely above the poverty line.  To qualify for Social Security Insurance, a person must be disabled for five full calendar months, (there’s five house payments now due) and the disability must be expected to last 12 months or otherwise end in death.
Personal Savings? If you save 10% of your income each year, it will take you ten years to set aside just one year’s income. What happens when you deplete that?
If you have stayed with me so far, I hope I have made some sense and helped you to understand the urgency to protect yourself and your family. It’s my job to make sure you give it the consideration it deserves. If you rely on your paycheck, you need disability insurance.
The bottom line is, when was the last time you looked at your personal income protection plan?
I can be reached at 757-652-3996 and welcome any and all questions. If you are local in the Tidewater area, I offer my services and a free Income Needs Analysis. Everyone’s situation is unique and a plan will be tailored to you.
We have a new article by John Duggan. The article is titled, "Just a Thought ... ."