Disability insurance is one type of insurance coverage that is all too often labeled as an unnecessary expense. Too many people believe that their chances of becoming disabled are so slight that the possibility isn’t enough to warrant paying for coverage. This is just one of many myths surrounding short-term and long-term disability insurance that could potentially cause you financial disaster.

The truth of the matter is that the likelihood of you becoming disabled is twice as high as your risk of early death. Many people mistakenly assume that the likelihood is low for them because they don’t participate in “high-risk” activities, but the truth is that most disabilities are caused by illnesses – not accidents. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, 25% of 20 year olds will become disabled before they retire. In addition, more than half of disabled Americans are between the ages of 18 and 64, and are within their “working years.” Following are a few more of the biggest myths about disability insurance and the important truths behind them:

“I’m sure my work has me covered with long-term disability insurance.” The truth is that less than 50% of employers in the United States offer disability insurance coverage. Even if you’re certain that you are covered through work, you need to keep some important points in mind. In general, this type of coverage through employers is paid with pre-tax dollars, which lowers the payout to you if you should become disabled. In addition, coverage through work usually has a more limited coverage than a policy you can purchase on your own. Some policies will also stop payments completely if you are able to return to any form of work, which can lead to a big pay cut.

“Long-term disability coverage won’t help me if I’m disabled but still able to work.” On the contrary, many long-term policies will pay benefits to the insured, even when they are able to work. These benefits, known as “residual” benefits, will still pay out if you’re only partially disabled – for example, if you can work only part-time or you now need to work a different job or occupation due to your disability.

“I can just rely on government benefits if I become disabled and can’t work.” The truth is that it is extremely difficult to be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance – only 35% of initial claim applications are approved and accepted, and even then, the payments most likely will not equal your regular monthly income amount. In 2012, the average SSDI payments were only $1,130 per month.

Along the same line, many people assume that workers’ compensation payments will cover them. However, the fact of the matter is that it won’t cover you in most cases as only 5% of accidents and illnesses are work-related.

The importance of having a long-term disability policy that protects your income is incredibly important, and will most likely cost less in premiums than you might think. Protecting your family in the event that you become partially or totally disabled is critical, and is worth the effort to purchase long-term disability coverage you can depend on. Start with a quote today. With something at stake that is as important as your family and your income, can you afford not to have disability insurance?