First, you have disability insurance, right? You can often get it via your employer, though it can sometimes make sense to buy your own policy that will cover you from job to job. (Learn more about it.)

In the disability insurance field, the term "disabled" varies by policy, so make sure you understand the terms of any coverage you have or are considering, including what does and doesn't count as disability. A disability might be anything from a broken leg to brain damage incurred in a stroke -- basically, it's something that prevents you from performing your job. Even pregnancy and recovery from it can qualify as disabilities in some plans.

Some policies are in effect only until you can be employed in some way. If you were a dentist and, after being on disability a while, you regain enough mobility to become employed as a receptionist, your disability payments would end. With other policies, you're considered disabled until you can resume your original line of work.

Disability insurance is a dangerous thing to ignore. We offer more information in our Insurance Center, and you can get your questions answered on our Insurance discussion board (or just drop in to see what others are saying there). You'll also find help on the websites of many major insurance companies. Depending on the kind of insurance you're after, click over to the websites of companies such as American International Group, Allianz, AXA, Aetna, MetLife, Progressive, and Berkshire Hathaway. You may not have thought about some kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're vital for many people. Take a little time to learn more. If some calamity occurs in the future, you may be very happy you did.

You can also learn a lot in our Retirement area, which tackles many related topics: