Will Insurance Cover a Career Threatening Injury?

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Jordin Sparks is hanging up her microphone, at least for the time being. The American Idol (NWS) Season Six winner has been ordered to stop singing, a medical order resulting in the cancelation of several concerts—including the just launched Alicia Keys tour where she is the opening act—due to an acute vocal cord hemorrhage condition.



The American Academy of Otolaryngology calls an acute vocal cord hemorrhage “a vocal emergency” caused by strenuous vocal tasks, but don’t count this Idol champ out for good. A spokesperson from her label, Jive Records (SNE) recently told Billboard, “Jordin is on a vocal rest, but she's expected to make a full recovery and join Alicia on tour in May.”



Most young people don’t want to think about a medical ailment threatening their career. But statistics show a 35 year-old has a 50% chance of facing a disability for 90 days or more before they turn 65. Not only that, but 46% of all foreclosures are caused by a disability, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


If Sparks thinks that she is susceptible to permanently damaging her pipes, she should consider purchasing long-term disability insurance. It typically costs between 1-3% of your yearly income, and protects against the loss of your ability to generate income. “If you have more than a couple years of earning power left, it’s a loss of a tremendously valuable asset. Not to insure it is risky,” says Steven Weisbart, Vice President and Chief Economist at the Insurance Information Institute.



Usually a disability that lasts six months or longer is thought of as long term. When shopping for disability insurance, only buy from an insurance company that is financially sound. “You’re probably going to have this policy for a long time, so you want to make sure the company will be around to pay your claim,” says Weisbart. Look up the insurer’s ratings on Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s (MCO), A.M. Best and Fitch Ratings. “If a company has an A or A+ rating from two or more of those [researchers], you’re talking about a company that’s pretty strong,” says Weisbart.


Typically an insurer won’t sell you more than 60% of your pre-disability salary income, because they want you to have an incentive to return to the workforce. If you disclose a pre-existing condition, like Sparks’ vocal cord hemorrhage, it doesn’t automatically disqualify you for long-term disability coverage. “Sometimes [the insurer] will say if you are disabled within the first year due to the condition, they won’t pay, but after that they’ll cover you,” says Weisbart. “Other conditions they’ll specify [is] that they’ll only pay if not from this cause, ever.”


With policies available to protect jewelry, art, and cars, isn’t it time to insure your ability to generate income, too?

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