How Much Does Physician Disability Insurance Cost?

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5 mins

IN THIS ARTICLE
IN THIS ARTICLE

The cost of disability insurance is dependent on many factors including your age, gender, specific occupation, location, and amount of coverage. Physician disability insurance will replace lost income in the event you become disabled and lose your ability to work and earn a salary. It provides additional cushion above and beyond short-term disability insurance, workers’ compensation, and any social security disability benefits. Additionally, any benefits that are received by the policyholder are tax-free, unlike employer-sponsored insurance. So how much does disability insurance cost?

disability-insurance-cost-explained

How Much Does Disability Insurance Cost?

The cost of physician disability insurance can vary widely depending on your age, gender, medical specialty, the state where you reside, and how much income you need to replace. In general, expect disability insurance to cost 1-2% of your annual income.

Consider the following example

The following assumptions are used for the quotes shown below:

  • 30-year-old male located in Texas
  • $5,000 in monthly benefit
  • 90 day elimination period
  • Own-occupation definition of disability
  • Standard health underwriting
SPECIALTY 30 YEAR OLD MALE 30 YEAR OLD FEMALE
Anesthesiologist $303.19/mo, $2,997.15/yr $498.59/mo, $4,928.35/yr
Cardiologist $344.26/mo, $4,010.93/y $572.35/mo, $6,668.29/yr
Dentist $333.10/mo, $3,872.00/yr $529.37/mo, $6,141.00/yr
Nurse Practitioner $299.81/mo, $3,466.00/yr $451.53/mo, $5,220.00/yr
Surgeon $350.53/mo, $3,204.80/yr $620.10/mo, $7,086.88/yr
Veterinarian $384.60/mo, $4,395.38/yr $620.10/mo , $7,086.88/yr

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cost-of-disability-insurance-factors

What Influence the Cost of Disability Insurance?

As mentioned, there are many factors that can make disability insurance premiums more or less expensive.

Age

The older you are, the more risk there is that you may experience a disability. Therefore, the cost of disability insurance increases as your age increases. All things equal, someone that purchases disability insurance at 30 years old will pay less in premiums than someone at 35 years old.

Medical Specialty

Physician disability insurance companies organize medical specialties into different occupation classes that determine risk. Some medical specialties experience higher claims and therefore will pay more in premiums.

Gender

Unfortunately for women, females are more likely to experience a disability and therefore will typically pay more for physician disability insurance than males.

Definition of Disability

Every physician disability insurance policy will outline what exactly determines whether you are disabled or not. This definition is everything in a disability insurance policy. An own-occupation disability insurance definition is the most comprehensive definition and will ensure that you receive benefits if you cannot practice in your specific medical specialty, regardless if you can practice medicine in another specialty.

Benefit Amount

How much you want to receive in benefits if you become disabled also affects how much disability insurance will cost. For example, a surgeon earning $500,000 annually will most likely need more coverage than a family medicine doctor earning $200,000.

Benefit Period

After deciding how much you want to receive, the next question is for how long? This is called the benefit period. All disability insurance policies allow you to pick how long your benefits will be paid if you become disabled. While most doctors purchase policies that will pay until age 65, there are 2, 5, and 10-year options available. The longer the benefit period, the more expensive your premiums will be.

Elimination Period

If you become disabled, the insurance policy will start paying benefits after a specific period of time, called the elimination period, or waiting period. You have the option to pick between 30, 60, 90, 180, or even 365 days before you start collecting benefits. The longer the benefit period, the less you will pay.

Your Health

This is huge. The cost of disability insurance depends on your overall health, which is determined during the medical underwriting process. Your height, weight, and any prior medical issues are all taken into account to determine how healthy you are. Additionally, if you smoke you can expect to pay up to 25% more in premiums than a non-smoker would.

Additional Riders and Policy Benefits

Physician disability insurance policies are highly customizable and contain add-on benefits called “riders.” For example, a cost-of-living adjustment rider will increase any benefits paid to keep pace with inflation. There are even features that allow you to receive benefits for student loan repayment and partial disabilities. All of these additional riders will increase the cost of disability insurance coverage.

How Much Physician Disability Costs: 3 Examples

Below are three examples of what a physician might pay for coverage, assuming all three would pay benefits until they turned 65.

$5k Monthly Benefit

A 35-year-old male non-smoker receives a maximum monthly benefit of $5,000. The annual premium is just over $2,500, which mean he pays $208/month. It includes an own-occupation definition of disability. The policy also has a residual benefit rider and a 3 percent annual cost of living adjustment using simple interest.

$10k Monthly Benefit

A 27-year-old male non-smoker receives a maximum monthly benefit of $10,000. The annual premium is $3,350, meaning he pays $279/month. The own-occupation provision is available as a rider. This policy also included a residual disability rider and a 3-percent simple interest cost-of-living adjustment.

$17k Monthly Benefit

A 40-year-old male non-smoker receives a maximum $17,000 monthly benefit. The annual premium is about $5,800, for monthly payments of $483/month. It includes an own-occupation provision and a residual disability benefit. The policy also has a recovery benefit, automatic increases, and unlimited coverage for mental disorders or substance abuse.

Who Offers Disability Insurance for Physicians?

Compare rates, features, and more from the best disability insurance policies of 2022.

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  • Company
  • A.M. Best Rating
  • Definition of Disabilityg
  • Future Increase Option
  • Residual Benefit
  • States available in
  • Ameritas Logo
  • A
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually to age 55
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

Ameritas Life is as reputable as any name in the insurance industry. However, it’s actually a newcomer to the disability insurance space in comparison to its competitors. DInamic Foundation is its best disability insurance product for doctors. Policies are underwritten and issued by Union Central Life, its wholly-owned subsidiary.

Ameritas features a true own-occupation definition of disability. This provision benefits you if an accident or illness prevents you from practicing your specialty.

DInamic Foundation requires you to choose between non-cancelable coverage and guaranteed renewal. The maximum benefit period available is to age 70. Ameritas offers basic and enhanced residual disability riders. It also offers two different COLA riders.

Pros

  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Lowest premium amount.
  • Two COLA rider and residual disability options.
  • Various add-ons such a good health benefit, presumptive total disability benefit, COBRA premium benefit, partial disability benefit, and non-disabling injury benefit.

Cons

  • Slower customer service.
  • Lowest maximum policy benefit: $20,000 per month.
  • Must choose between non-cancelable coverage and guaranteed renewal.
  • For certain occupation classes, the own-occupation provision is only available for five years.

Read our full review of Ameritas’s disability insurance policy.

  • Guardian Logo
  • A++
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually up to age 55
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 49 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

As one of the largest, most trusted mutual insurance companies in America, Guardian Life is the Cadillac of its industry. Its disability insurance product, ProVider Choice, is a great fit for doctors. Policies are underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life, a wholly-owned stock subsidiary.

According to Guardian, total disability occurs when injury or illness prevents you from performing your occupation. For doctors, more than half of your income must come from hands-on patient care or surgical procedures to qualify.

Guardian’s true own-occupation definition of disability guarantees full benefits. It still applies if you’re able to maintain gainful employment in another occupation. In fact, you may be able to benefit if you can still practice your specialty with major limitations.

Coverage is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 70. You may elect 10-year, five-year and two-year benefit periods. Guardian offers 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 180-day, 360-day and 720-day elimination periods.

Unlike other providers, Guardian features three cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider options. As for residual disability, Guardian offers both basic and enhanced partial riders.

Pros

  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Highest COMDEX score: 99.
  • Highest maximum policy benefit: $20,000 per month.
  • Simplified underwriting for up to $7,500.
  • Various options for benefit and elimination periods.
  • Various options for COLA and residual disability riders.
  • Various add-ons such as an automatic benefit enhancement, benefit purchase option, catastrophic disability rider, hospice care benefit, serious illness supplemental benefit and student loan protection.
  • Cons
    • Highest premium amount.
    • No presumptive total disability benefit.

    Read our full review on Guardian’s disability insurance policy.

  • MassMutal Logo
  • A++
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually up to age 55
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

MassMutual has been a mainstay in the insurance game since 1851. MassMutual offers two disability insurance products, Radius and Radius Choice. Both feature provisions and add-ons that allow you to customize your coverage to meet specific needs. MassMutual helps you protect your income and retirement without relinquishing payment control.

MassMutual features a true own-occupation definition of disability. However, the provision is not part of your base policy. You must purchase it as an additional rider. With this provision in place, ‘total disability’ occurs when you cannot perform the main duties of your occupation. This requires you to be under a physician’s care.

Both Radius and Radius Choice are non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65. Radius is conditionally renewable for life, while Radius Choice is only until age 74. Both policies have benefit periods available to ages 65 and 67, as well as two years, five years and 10 years. Radius Choice also offers a maximum benefit period to age 70. Both policies offer elimination periods of 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, one year and two years.

MassMutual offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After your first year of disability, your monthly benefit increases by a set percentage each year. MassMutual offers one option with basic criteria that increases your chance of qualifying.

Pros

  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Various add-ons such as an automatic benefit enhancement, catastrophic disability rider, future increase option, presumptive total disability benefit and student loan protection.
  • Cons
    • Own-occupation provision sold separately.
    • Only one COLA rider and residual disability rider option.
    • No benefit purchase option, hospice care benefit or serious illness supplemental benefit.

    Read our full review on MassMutual’s disability insurance policy.

  • Ohio National Financial Service Logo
  • A+
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually to age 60
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 38 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

Ohio National’s disability insurance product is relatively new to the market. Still, it’s among the best money can buy. ContinuON Income Solutions II allows you to customize your coverage without losing control of premium expenses.

Ohio National offers its true own-occupation provision as a rider. Regardless of occupation class, it does not come with your base policy. With Ohio National, total disability occurs when you’re unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your specialty. To qualify, you must be under the care of a physician.

ContinuON Income Solutions II is guaranteed renewable on an annual basis. Coverage is non-cancelable as long as you consistently pay on time. Benefits periods include age 65, 67 and 70. Two-year, five-year and 10-year benefit periods are also available. Ohio National offers 60-day, 90-day, 180-day and one-year elimination periods.

Ohio National offers both a 3% and a 6% COLA rider. Policyholders may elect the basic or enhanced residual disability rider.

Pros

  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Various add-ons such as a hospice benefit, survivor benefit and recurrent disability benefit.

Cons

  • Lowest physical and labs limit means simplified underwriting is only allowed for up to $3,000 per month.

Read our full review on Ohio National’s disability insurance policy.

  • Principal Logo
  • A+
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Future Increase Option
  • Requires 20% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

Principal Life is among the most competitive providers in the disability insurance market. HH750 is an excellent option for doctors seeking a top-shelf disability insurance product. It features a wide variety of options that afford you maximum flexibility.

Principal offers both a true own-occupation and a modified own-occupation provision. A true own-occupation provision is the best bet for highly-skilled individuals like doctors. You benefit if you become unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your specialty. It still applies if you can maintain gainful employment in a different occupation.

Modified own-occupation is a watered-down version of the former. Frankly, it’s only feasible if you’re cost is a concern. The definition of disability is the same, but you will not benefit if you can fulfill another occupation. Either way, both provisions are available as part of your base policy. You do not have to purchase an additional rider.

HH750 is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65. Benefit periods are available to ages 65, 67 and 70, and for two years and five years. Principal features 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 180-day and one year elimination periods.

Principal offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After selecting a maximum benefit between 3-6%, it increases on a compound basis. Principal also offers one partial residual disability rider.

Pros

  • True and modified own-occupation provisions.
  • Advisor’s Choice Award for advisor support.
  • Available to those who only work 20 hours a week.
  • Simplified underwriting for up to $6,000 per month.
  • Various add-ons such as a benefit update rider, catastrophic disability rider, future benefit increase rider, presumptive total disability benefit, and serious illness benefit.

Cons

  • The modified own-occupation provision can be misleading. It can save you money now, but you will not receive as strong of benefits as true own-occupation.

Read our full review of Principal’s disability insurance policy.

  • The Standard Logo
  • A
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually up to age 55
  • Requires 20% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

The Standard is among the largest, most trusted providers in the disability insurance space. The company has several options, but Platinum Advantage is the most beneficial for doctors. It features built-in provisions and additional riders that maximize income protection.

The Standard’s true own-occupation definition of disability is available as an additional rider. With this provision in place, ‘total disability’ occurs when you are unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your specialty. You must also be under the care of a physician to qualify.

Platinum Advantage is guaranteed renewable to age 67. To make your policy non-cancelable, you must purchase an additional rider. Benefit periods are available to ages 65 and 67, as well as two years, five years and 10 years. Elimination periods of 60 days, 90 days, 180 days and one year are available.

The Standard offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After selecting a maximum benefit between 3-6%, it increases annually on a compound basis according to the Consumer Price Index. The Standard offers a basic residual disability rider.

Pros

  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Wide variety of options and strong coverage guarantee.
  • No-cost riders and benefits, such as the family care benefit.
  • Various add-ons such as an automatic increase benefit rider, benefit increase rider, catastrophic disability rider, family care benefit, premium waiver benefit, presumptive total disability benefit, student loan rider and survivor benefit.

Cons

  • Own-occupation and non-cancelable riders sold separately.
  • Only one COLA rider and residual disability rider option.
  • Lowest COMDEX score: 79.

Read our full review on The Standard’s disability insurance policy.

Jack Wolstenholm

Jack is a Creighton University graduate and former advertising creative who has written extensively about topics in personal finance, employee benefits, and technology.

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