The cost of 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.

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

The cost of 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
SPECIALTY30 YEAR OLD MALE30 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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What factors influence the cost of disability insurance?

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

  • Your 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.
  • Your Medical Specialty - disability insurance companies classify different medical specialties into different occupation classes that determine risk. Some medical specialties experience higher claims and therefore will pay more in premiums.
  • Your Gender - based on claims history, females are more likely to experience a disability and therefore will typically pay more for disability insurance than males.
  • Definition of Disability - disability insurance policies will outline what determines whether you are disabled and eligible to receive benefits - this is the definition of disability. 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 need in coverage 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 - 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 - the cost of disability insurance is also based 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 - 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.

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Jack Wolstenholm - Head of Content Marketing

Jack is the Head of Content Marketing at LeverageRx, the personal finance company that simplifies how healthcare professionals shop for financial products and services. A Creighton University graduate and former advertising creative, he has written extensively about topics in personal finance, work-life, employee benefits, and technology. His work has been featured in MSN, Benzinga, TMCNet, StartupNation, Council for Disability Awareness, and more.

Published November 20, 2018