Types of Insurance

Unexpected events such as illness or disability can result in financial challenges as well. So it's important to understand the basics of health, life, and disability coverage.

On this page:

Safeguard against costs with health insurance

Choose a health care policy that matches your needs for coverage, deductibles, co-payments, and choice of medical providers. Take advantage of any employer-provided health benefits.

No matter how much or little coverage your employer offers, you'll likely save money by opting for that coverage versus paying for a policy yourself.

What you can do now: 

Consider life insurance as part of your financial plan

If you need life insurance, start with your employer's coverage and build from there. Consider outside coverage if your employer's policy is not transferable or if you need additional life insurance.

How much insurance you may need depends on your savings and investments, expenses (such as funeral costs, estate taxes, mortgages, debts, and college expenses), and how much income your loved ones might need.

What you can do now:

Consider long-term disability insurance

If an accident or illness prevented you from working for more than three months, would you be able to pay your bills? If you can't get short- and long-term disability coverage through work, consider an individual policy.

What you can do now:

  • Make sure you know what qualifies as a disability under your current plan. Reread your policy or contact your plan administrator if you have questions.
  • Confirm that your current policy covers at least 50% of your current income. If it doesn't, consider a private disability policy.
  • See the disability benefits that are provided by Social Security and learn more from the Council for Disability Awareness.

Consider long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance is designed to help pay the high costs of long-term medical care. It may not be necessary if you have family who could care for you or if you have enough assets to pay for care out-of-pocket. If your net worth is lower, you may qualify for long-term care provided under Medicaid. If you don't fall into either of these categories, then long-term care insurance may be worth considering.

For those people over age 65 who will spend time in a nursing home (about one in three people), the cost of even a relatively short stay or the need for in-home assistance can be financially burdensome—and the average stay is 2½ years.1

Look for a policy that is guaranteed to be renewable with locked-in premium rates and that's issued by a top-rated company with at least 10 years' experience in the market. Be sure to consider what type of care is covered, the eligibility criteria, benefit and elimination periods, the maximum daily benefit, and whether there is inflation coverage.

What you can do now:

  • Get help deciding if you need long-term care insurance.
  • Be sure any insurance company you're considering has a top rating.