Employer-provided disability insurance can be a big help. But for most people, it probably isn’t enough.

You can’t typically take employer-sponsored disability insurance with you if you leave your job. Caiaimage/Agnieszka Olek/Getty Images

What would happen to your family if your income suddenly stopped tomorrow? How long could you keep paying the bills? Would you be able to keep your home, or have to move somewhere else?

Everyone hopes to live a long life free of major health scares, but in reality, many of us will wind up with injuries or illnesses that stop or pause our income, or even worse, require us to pay for in-home or residential care. If you were born in 1997, you have just over a 25% chance of disability before age 67, according to the Social Security Administration. The odds may look like a Las Vegas table game, but you don’t want to roll the dice with this important financial preparation.

The odds of getting disabled are high

Generation Z is entering the workforce today, and 22-year-olds born in 1997 have about a one in four chance of disability before the current Social Security retirement age. Even otherwise healthy people can contract an illness or get injured unexpectedly. This is exactly why we have disability insurance.

Just getting your income covered alone isn’t enough for most people, however. If you’re disabled, it is very likely that your expenses will go up! If you need any type of care, you’ll want insurance to help cover those costs. Assisted living, nursing home, and in-home care can be a huge burden. Today’s 65-year-olds have a 70% chance of needing long-term care, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

There are multiple types of insurance that can help prepare for disability

Government and employer coverage are usually not enough to meet all of your disability and care needs alone. This is why it is important for breadwinners and essential caregivers to get insured privately with a plan that is portable and in your control.

If disabled, the first impact might be your income. If you can’t go to work, your income could stop right away after a disabling event. Disability insurance is made to replace your income in the event of a disability. Short-term disability insurance covers less than a year of income loss. Long-term covers a longer period, including up to retirement. Long-term disability insurance is most important if you keep an adequate emergency fund.

Health insurance, which everyone should already have, covers doctors, medications, and hospitals. But short and long-term care insurance cover non-medical care needs if disabled. Care insurance helps with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and eating. Short and long-term care insurance are both a good idea for most working adults.

You can find disability insurance through your insurance agent or financial adviser, an online search tool like Policygenius, or directly through some insurers.

Policygenius can help you compare policies and prices to find the right disability insurance for you »

Government and employer disability coverage may be options

Disability and care insurance can be expensive. If you find them to be outside of your budget, you may be covered by a government or employer-based policy. These work as a backup plan in case you don’t have good coverage of your own, or as a supplement to maintain a better income or quality of living if disabled.

The biggest national program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). A cousin of Social Security you get in retirement, this program can replace a portion of your income after a qualifying disability. Some states, like California, have their own plans as well. You pay for this with your taxes every payday so you’ll have at least some income guaranteed if you can’t work.

If you get disability insurance at work, that’s great, too. This kind of insurance is usually very cheap and subsidized by your employer. If you have access to it, you should sign up. But don’t rely on this as your primary disability insurance. If you ever leave your job for any reason, you’ll probably lose your employer-sponsored insurance at the end of the month.

Build disability insurance into your monthly budget

You shouldn’t live in constant fear of injury or illness, but you should be ready for the unlikely and unexpected. That is exactly why disability insurance and care insurance exist. Alongside health insurance, homeowner or renter insurance, and auto insurance, you shouldn’t look at these types of coverage as optional.

Unless you have enough savings and investments to live out your life without any other income, make sure you have enough insurance. Just in case.

Policygenius can help you compare policies and prices to find the right disability insurance for you »