PSA: Disability Insurance

Insurance companies sell this stuff called “disability insurance.” The bookies at the insurance company will make a bet with you: that you will not become disabled. If they win and you don’t become disabled, you lose the money you’ve paid them. If you win, they pay you a monthly stipend whilst you are disabled.

Insurance-company bookies know odds. For them, financially, disability insurance is a good bet. The chance you will become disabled, multipled by the benefits they will pay if that happens, is smaller than the premium you will pay. Which means that for you, financially, disability insurance is a bad bet.

Four Houston criminal-defense lawyers have suffered crippling strokes in recent years. Americans have about 795,000 strokes a year (I don’t know if lawyers are more susceptible to stroke than others, but sedentary occupation + lots of stress = good candidate for stroke.). When a trial lawyer has a stroke, it’s like a laborer losing a leg or an artisan losing a hand—she might eventually recover her earning capacity, but it’s going to be a long hard road. 

The benefit of having that money when you need it most desperately could (assuming that you don’t have savings to burn through during your rehabilitation) be more than just financial. For the lawyer who’s had a stroke, disability insurance might keep the lights on, or keep the mortgage paid, or give some breathing room to a spouse reentering the workforce.

So if you don’t already have a plan in the event of a stroke or other debilitating incident or accident, do yourself, and your loved ones a favor. Put “get disability insurance” on your list of things to do.