Most disabilities, on average, can keep an employee out of work for roughly three months, and yet, only about a quarter of employees say they currently have disability insurance.

Currently, 61% of Americans believe most people need disability insurance while only 26% said they owned any, according to new research from LIMRA. One-third said they would consider disability insurance if they knew more about it, revealing an important opportunity for employers to better educate employees.

Also see: Millennials clueless on need for life, disability insurance

The good news, according to Aon Hewitt, is that a majority (87%) of employees do have relatively strong grasp of disability insurance.

However, according to the Council for Disability Awareness, one-third say they cannot afford disability insurance – when asked what they think it costs, women estimated $50 a month on average and men said $60 a month, LIMRA’s research shows.

There is a 30% chance of a person suffering a disabling illness or injury that would keep them out of work for three months or more, according to the study. In a separate study, 30% of full-time employees said they are not confident about paying their bills if they or another family member was out of work for three months.

Insurance statistics show that only 9% of long-term disabilities actually resulted from serious accidents. Social Security Disability Insurance statistics show more than one-third of workers receive benefits for musculoskeletal issues – with the most common examples being back problems, joint pain and muscle pain.

Also see: Top reasons employees use their disability coverage

“While sick leave and vacation time are certainly helpful, the benefits from them usually run out in a matter of weeks — at a time when the expenses are often increasing,” LIMRA says.

But there is no immunity to your employees falling ill. According to SSDI data, one-in-four of today’s 20-year-olds will suffer a disability before they retire. Further, LIMRA research shows six-in-10 Generation X and Y consumers reported an income loss due to illness or injury having a significant financial impact on their households.

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