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Compare Own-Occupation Disability Insurance for Physicians and Dentists

Guardian physician disability insurance
ProVider Choice

Definition of Disability Own-Occupation Definition

Residual Benefit Requires 15% loss of income

Future Increase Option Available annually up to age 55

AM Best Rating

A++

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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.
MassMutual physician disability insurance
Radius, Radius Choice

Definition of Disability Own-Occupation Definition

Residual Benefit Requires 15% loss of income

Future Increase Option Available annually up to age 55

AM Best Rating

A++

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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.

MassMutal 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.
The Standard physician disability insurance
Platinum Advantage

Definition of Disability Own-Occupation Definition

Residual Benefit Requires 20% loss of income

Future Increase Option Available annually up to age 55

AM Best Rating

A

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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.
Principal physician disability insurance
HH750

Definition of Disability Own-Occupation Definition

Residual Benefit Requires 20% loss of income

Future Increase Option Available every 3 years

AM Best Rating

A+

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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 on Principal's disability insurance policy.
Ameritas physician disability insurance
DInamic Foundation

Definition of Disability Own-Occupation Definition

Residual Benefit Requires 15% loss of income

Future Increase Option Available annually to age 55

AM Best Rating

A

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About Ameritas Life is as reputable as any name in the insurance industry. However, it's actually 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, is wholly-owned subsidiary.

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

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: $15,000 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 on Ameritas's disability insurance policy.
Ohio National physician disability insurance
ContinuON Income Solutions II

Definition of Disability Own-Occupation Definition

Residual Benefit Requires 15% loss of income

Future Increase Option Available annually to age 60

AM Best Rating

A+

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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.

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Physician Disability Insurance FAQs

When is the best time to purchase a disability insurance policy?
The cost of disability insurance and the premiums you pay are based on your age and overall health status as determined by the insurance company. Therefore, the younger and healthier you are, the less expensive your premiums will be. Many of the bigger insurance agents will have discounts available based on your training and location status prior to starting full time practice. For that reason, we recommend purchasing an individual policy before transitioning from training to practice.
What are AM Best ratings?
AM Best is a well-respected ratings agency that focuses on rating and reviewing insurance companies. Their ratings are a forward-looking independent and objective opinion regarding an insurer's relative creditworthiness. Their opinion represents a comprehensive analysis consisting of a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. For that reason, we show the AM Best Ratings in our comparisons.
What are residual benefits or residual income?
Residual disability benefits cover a partial loss of income due to a disability. Residual benefits are triggered by a percentage loss of income, usually 15% or 20% depending on the insurance carrier. At that point, residual benefits will be paid to the policyholder. Residual benefits can be included in the base policy or offered as an additional rider on a long term disability insurance policy.

Learn more about the long term disability insurance.
What are the tax treatments of benefits paid for a disability?
Benefits paid by the insurance company for individual plans are not taxable because the premiums have been paid with after-tax dollars by the policyholder. If you are a part of a group disability plan or an association-based disability plan those benefits will be taxable if they were paid with pre-tax dollars.
What does "own-occupation" mean?
Own-occupation refers to the definition of disability in the insurance policy. Different policies have different definitions in the insurance contract that determine what makes a policyholder eligible to receive benefits, or be qualified as disabled. Own-occupation policies focus on your specialty and the specific training that qualifies you to be able to perform your specialty-specific duties and responsibilities. For example, if a surgeon lost a finger in an accident and can no longer perform surgery, but can perform the duties of a family practice physician, full benefits would be paid to the surgeon if it were an own-occupation policy. If the policy was not own-occupation, the insurance company could claim that the surgeon can still practice medicine as a family practice physician and deny benefits.

Read more about own occupation disability insurance.
Which disability insurance companies have own-occupation policies?
All of the disability insurance companies listed below provide own occupation definitions of disability in their insurance policies.
How much does disability insurance cost?
The cost of disability insurance depends on several factors including your age, occupation, gender, overall health and the specific features in your disability insurance policy. On average, people spend 1-2% of their annual income on disability insurance.

Read more on the cost of disability insurance.
What disability insurance features should doctors have in their disability insurance policy?
At a minimum, doctors should have the following features included in their disability insurance policy:
  • An own occupation definition of disability
  • A non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable insurance policy
  • A residual or partial benefits rider
Doctors should also consider the following disability insurance policy features:
  • A catastrophic disability rider
  • A cost of living adjustment rider
  • A student loan benefit rider

Learn more about disability insurance for doctors.
What are other good disability insurance resources?
Check out the following disability insurance resources: