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$mart Money - What are the chances of that happening?

In June I was away from the office for awhile, participating in a few industry conferences.This cut into my time available to writethis column.

In June I was away from the office for awhile, participating in a few industry conferences.This cut into my time available to writethis column. Given that, I asked my associatesto contribute some thoughts to maintain columncontinuity during my time out of theoffice.

Meagan Mueller is young, brilliant, engagedto be married, working in a profession that shereally enjoys in a challenging industry that hasno limits. The world is her oyster.

Until, that is, she was struck down onefrosty March morning while walking throughan intersection, by a driver making a left-handturn. A driver that only took the time to scrapea small peephole in the thick frost thatobstructed his vision through the windshieldthat morning. I guess he must have been in ahurry to get somewhere.

Here is how Meagan tells it

As many of you know, early last spring I washit by a car on my way to work. I had a concussion,lost the feeling in my right leg, andhad such bad whiplash that I thought my neckwas broken. I didn't end up breaking anybones, but many of my injuries, especially thewhiplash, are still working their way out.

Exactly one year and three days after theaccident, Darcy and I were parked at a gas stationand we were rear-ended. The memory ofmy paralyzed neck and the agonizing pain ofwhiplash flashed into my mind, and I immediatelygrabbed my neck to support it.

As it turns out, this impact wasn't very badat all. The truck had lurched, but there was nodamage to the back of our vehicle, or the frontof hers. She apologized, we finished paying forour gas and we went home. As soon as wepulled into the driveway, I began to cry. I wasstill clutching my neck, but I wasn't hurt - I wasjust terrified. Being hit is one thing, and itsucks, but being constant pain, barely able towalk, barely able to think - that's somethingelse. I wasn't ready for it again, not this soon.

I was terrified, but I was fortunate. Darcy,aside from having to comfort me, was alsofine. He wasn't hurt, and he wasn't scared.And I don't think most people would be either,because they're not expecting anything to happen.If you've never been injured or disabledbefore, why would you expect it? For a lot ofpeople, especially young people, the thoughtof being disabled doesn't even cross theirminds - until it happens.

Which a scary thing, because the chance ofbecoming disabled for 90 days or longer beforeage 65 is one in three. And for that one personin three, the average disability lasts for 2.9years. That's not a small chance, and that's nota minor inconvenience. Experiencing an averagedisability means a long hard recovery,including rehabilitation and potentially chronicpain. And it's going to get expensive.

For someone who's never been disabledbefore, the seriousness of being disabled canbe hard to comprehend. To help break throughthe "it'll never happen to me" syndrome, wecompare the chance of being disabled to thechance of winning the lottery. Well, this week'sLotto Max has a record $95 million up forgrabs. A lot of people are going to be buyingtickets, even though the chance of winning alottery jackpot is 1 in 14 million. That's0.0000007% chance. According to StatisticsCanada, the percentage of people disabled in agiven year is 12.4% for Canada, and 14% forBC.

How many people do you know that havebought a lottery ticket for Friday's draw? Howmany people do you know with disability insurance?If you win the money lottery, you couldwin really big. If you are one of the 2 in 3 thatwin the health lottery, you'll be alright. But ifyou are the 1 in 3 people to lose the health lottery,you could lose it all.

What would your life be like today if youwere disabled yesterday? Consider your family,and consider your future. Is being disabledwithout protection a chance you're willing totake? Is it a chance you can afford to take?

Talk to an insurance specialist today aboutproducts that can provide cash when you needit. Like if you get hit by a car.

The opinions expressed are those of BradBrain, CFP, R.F.P. CLU, CH.F.C., FCSI. Brad Brainis a Certified Financial Planner with ManulifeSecurities Incorporated, Member CIPF and withManulife Securities Insurance Agency in Fort StJohn, BC. Brad Brain can be reached at or