One in four new long-term disability claims in the United States come from people under the age of 40.

That's according to the 2012 Council for Disability Awareness Long Term Disability Claims Review.

Yet young people don't believe they need disability insurance, which would protect them and their families should they become disabled.

To address this issue, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) recently introduced a series of new options to its Radius disability income insurance products that provide more choices and flexibility. The new products include a new rate structure for certain disability income insurance policies to help those with entry-level salaries add this financial protection. Another option gives young policyholders the option to buy permanent life insurance over time without medical tests.

The new options are designed to make disability income insurance more affordable for younger people, who stand to lose the most over the course of their careers should they become disabled.

Young stand to lose the most

"MassMutual is committed to helping people financially prepare for life's possibilities and opportunities to be well-positioned for long-term success," said Mike Fanning, executive vice president of the U.S. Insurance Group of MassMutual in a press release on the new options. "Providing the option to lock in insurability at a young age alongside disability income insurance protection is a natural pairing for a strong financial foundation."

With MassMutual's new graded premium option, the initial premium payments are less than the traditional or "fixed" level premiums and gradually increase each year until the policyholder is age 50. Then they stay the same for the duration of the policy.

With MassMutual's guaranteed insurability option, policyholders can buy additional increments of permanent life insurance without the need for a medical exam or providing medical information. The option is available every three years until you turn 46. At each three-year interval, you have the option to buy $25,000 of permanent life insurance.

"Permanent life insurance options such as whole life insurance can help protect your ability to provide for your family, accumulate cash value and leave a financial legacy for those whom you care about," Fanning said. "The three-year intervals also provide a timely opportunity for conversations with a financial professional to gradually strengthen a financial foundation as life events unfold."

Other new options available

Other new options include:

An enhanced Extended Partial Disability Benefits Rider, which could provide increasing disability income insurance payments to those who are unable to maintain a full work schedule or job duties as a result of illness or injury

An enhanced Future Insurability Option rider, which would provide policyowners with the option of increasing their income protection in the future.

The options and riders are not available everywhere and require an additional fee. The policies are not available to those who are disabled.