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Principal Physician Disability Insurance Review (Updated 2022)

Principal defines total disability as you not being able to work your primary job.

What Is Principal Financial Group?

Principal Financial Group is a global financial investment management and insurance company headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. It was founded in 1879 as an insurance company, but today is a Fortune 500 under the umbrella of "investment management leader." The company does indeed have four primary business units: Retirement and Income Solutions, Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S. Insurance Solutions. Principal employs over 15,000 people worldwide.

In 2019, Principal purchased Wells Fargo's institutional retirement business, including 401k, pension, asset advice, etc. for $1.2 billion. Then, in 2021, activist investor firm Elliott Management Group took a stake in Principal, pushing for changes. Luckily for Principal, the two parties agreed on two new directors and business went back to usual. LeverageRx has a close relationship with Principal and find their disability insurance product for physicians to be one of the better policies out there. Read on to learn more.

Principal Physician Disability Insurance Highlights

Principal's disability insurance policy, HH750, is underwritten and issued by Principal Life Insurance Company. In this section we are going to review the biggest things to look for when purchasing disability insurance.

Own-Occupation

When buying disability insurance, you need to know how the insurance company defines "disabled." At Principal, their occupation rider defines total disability as being unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, even if you can work in another field. Principal also offers a modified own occupation, which defines total disability as being unable to do your job and being able to work in another field but unwilling to do so.

Non-Cancellable or Guaranteed Renewable

A non-cancellable disability insurance policy means the insurance company can't cancel, increase your premiums or reduce your benefits as long as you pay the premiums. The disability insurance policy at Principal is non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable to age 65.

Benefit Period

The benefit period is an option that comes with every policy. It is asking you up until what age do you want to receive payments should you fall ill or have an accident? The duration of the benefit period affects the price of the premium because the longer the benefit period, the greater the insurer's risk. At Principal, you have a benefit period until the age of 70. You can also choose benefit periods to age 67 or 65, as well as benefit periods of two years or five years.

Elimination Period

The elimination period is the length of time between the start of an injury or illness and the time the insurance company pays you your benefits. You can purchase coverage with 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 180-day, and 365-day elimination periods.

Mental Disorders

Principal has a 24-month limit for mental and nervous disorders using their own-occupation definition of disability.

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Principal Physician Disability Insurance Riders

Anyone who buys physician disability insurance has the option to add riders which are provisions to give you extra benefits depending on your situation. Most riders come with an added cost, but it depends on the insurer.

Cost-of-living Adjustment (COLA) Rider

A COLA rider ensures that your benefits keep up with inflation. Principal’s COLA benefit is increased on a compound basis instead of simple. They offer a 3% or 6% COLA maximum. Upon returning to work full time, you keep any increased disability benefit without having to provide evidence of good health.

Residual Disability Rider

Principal offers a partial disability benefit called "residual disability." If you become partially disabled, meaning you can perform some functions and not others, you will still receive full benefits. At Principal, in order to qualify as residually disabled:

  • A loss of earnings of at least 20%; AND
  • The inability to work full time and perform the duties of your occupation
  • If you qualify, you will be paid 100% of your policy’s benefit for total disability if your loss of earnings exceeds 75%
  • For earnings losses of less than 75%, you will receive a benefit proportional to your loss of pre-disability income

Principal's residual disability rider will give you a minimum of 50% of your policy’s monthly benefit for total disability for the first 6 months of residual disability. You will receive 50% of the policy’s monthly benefit for total disability if you are retired or are unemployed.

Catastrophic Disability Rider

This rider provides additional benefits in the event you are unable to perform at least two of the six activities for daily living, or you require “substantial supervision due to severe cognitive impairment.”

Insurance language can be confusing. Click here and schedule a call with LeverageRx's disability insurance specialist. He will answer your questions and explain the differences in policies for FREE.

Principal Physician Disability Insurance Alternatives

Ohio National is just one of several insurance companies that offer physician mortgage insurance. Here are some alternatives that LeverageRx suggests you check out.

Guardian

Guardian has the best definition of total disability. To be considered totally disabled and receive full benefits, you must not be able to work the medical specialty you went to school for. However, even if you can work somewhere else, Guardian will pay you full benefits since the new job is not your specialty.

Learn More: AMA Disability Insurance Review

MassMutual

MassMutual has a great COLA rider which guarantees an increase to the benefit every year. By the 6th year, the MassMutual COLA rider increases the payout by 16%! That said, their own-occupation is weak. If you can work at all, then MassMutual pay not pay you full benefits.

Learn More: MassMutual Physician Disability Insurance Review

Ameritas

The great thing about Ameritas disability insurance products for physicians is they consider your medical specialty to be your own-occupation, thus it is included by default. So even if you can work in another occupation after your disability, Ameritas will still pay you full benefits.

Learn More: Ameritas Disability Insurance Review

Not sure which riders you need? Click here to talk to a specialist TODAY about your options.

Is Principal Disability Insurance Right for you?

Reading insurance policies is boring and hard to understand. How do you know which one is right for you? LeverageRx's in-house specialist can hop on a call to answer your questions if you fill out this form. In the meantime, here is what is included in Principal's disability insurance policy base (meaning no extra charge):

Benefit update rider. Available for no additional premium, this rider allows you to increase policy benefits every three years up to the maximum issue and participation limits, up to age 55, without medical evidence of insurability. Principal offers advanced options on this rider, enabling the insured to take the option early with the loss or reduction of your group long-term disability plan or at least a 50% increase in sustainable earnings.

Future benefit increase rider. Available for no additional premium and renewable every six years. The increases are based on the Consumer Price Index with a minimum of 4% compounded and a maximum of 10% compounded. In addition to the CPI increase, the insured may also be eligible for an additional benefit increase if eligible based on financial information. When combined together, the CPI increase and the additional benefit increase cannot be greater than $500.

Presumptive total disability benefit. The policy will waive your elimination period if you sustain a total loss of at least one of the following: sight, hearing, inability to use hands or feet. The loss is not required to be permanent and the elimination period would be waived even if you are able to work.

Serious illness benefit. For no additional premium, this rider provides a one-time lump sum benefit equal to six times the policy’s ultimate monthly benefit, in addition to the other benefits provided by the policy, if the Insured becomes disabled under the policy and diagnosed with coronary artery bypass graft surgery, cancer or stroke.

Who Offers Disability Insurance
for Physicians?

Compare rates, features, and more from the best disability insurance policies of 2022.
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States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

Joel Palmer - Award-Winning Writer

Joel Palmer is an award-winning journalist, corporate copywriter, and marketing specialist with over two decades of professional experience. He writes compelling, authoritative, and original content for companies and organizations across a wide range of industries, from financial services and real estate to government and software development.

Disability InsurancePublished February 12, 2022
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