On a previous post questions came up regarding Disability Insurance. I will try to outline as simply as possible these products and also provide some reference material. There are two basic types of disability insurance. These are Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability. These are meant to replace some percentage of your income if you are unable to work. Each one of the policies will have a period of time that you must be disabled before you are able to draw benefits. This is called the elimination period. They also will have a maximum amount of time that they will pay out. A Short Term Disability policy will have a shorter elimination period and a shorter payout period. Inversely Long Term Disability will have a longer elimination period and a longer payout.
Of course each provider will have their own twists to the basic policy structure. Some have minimum requirements on length of time in profession if you are self employeed. Some policies are for accidents only. Usually you can add provisions that will pay you a partial income in the event that you are only partially disabled, other options include the ability to adjust the policy over time for cost of living changes.
One big question often asked is how affordable the coverage is. This is affected by how extensive the conditions of coverage are, the type of job you are doing, and of course the amount of income you would need to replace. Another option is that you may be able to gain access to a group policy through a trade organization or your management structure.
Things to look for: What are considered disabilities, what the elimination period is, your ability to renew, and the stability of the company that you are purchasing from.
For a detailed read I would encourage you to look at http://www.iii.org/individuals/disability/.