How much disability insurance do I need?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for how much disability insurance a person needs. That’s because that number is dependent on many personal factors.

That said, an easy way to get an idea of how much disability insurance you would need is to do this calculation:


Add up all your monthly living expenses.

Keep in mind that some expenses may go down if you can’t work. These can include expenses for commuting, a professional wardrobe and meals out. Important expenses to include in this total are:  

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Groceries
  • Health insurance and health care expenses
  • Utilities
  • Car expenses like auto payments, auto insurance, gas and car maintenance
  • Food and groceries
  • Childcare and/or education expenses
  • Household maintenance like cleaning and upkeep
  • Subscriptions and memberships
  • Entertainment
  • Travel and leisure expenses
  • Clothing expenses
  • Savings, investment and retirement contributions
  • Debt payments for student loans, personal loans and credit card debt
  • Charitable contributions

Add up how much income you can expect to continue receiving.

This includes income from any existing disability insurance policies. Also add in income from other sources like savings and investments.


Subtract the second figure from the first figure.

The difference is the amount of disability insurance you should consider getting.

Another way to figure out how much disability insurance you’d need is to use our disability insurance calculator below. It walks you through the entire process described above to help give you a good estimate.


Disability Insurance Needs Calculator

This simple tool estimates the income you would need to maintain your current standard of living should you become disabled and unable to work.

This should not be viewed as a comprehensive assessment. For more information and a complete assessment, contact a qualified insurance professional.

Keep in mind that doing your own calculation or using a disability insurance calculator are only meant to give you a general idea of how much disability insurance income you would need if you became injured or ill. To get a more precise idea, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert.

If your disability insurance is through your employer, your human resources department can direct you to the right person. If you have (or are looking to buy) your own policy, your best bet is to contact a licensed insurance agent who can help fit coverage to your needs and budget.

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