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Physician Disability Insurance: Understanding the Average Cost

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With today’s financial strains, it’s more important than ever for physicians to protect their finances against an illness or injury that prevents them from practicing medicine. Disability insurance provides income protection, ensuring that you and your family will be financially secure even if you are unable to work. But how much does disability insurance for physicians actually cost? Let’s explore the average cost of physician disability insurance, factors that impact the pricing, and the importance of having the right coverage.

The Average Cost of Physician Disability Insurance

The cost of disability insurance for physicians can vary depending on several factors, including medical specialty, coverage amount, elimination period, age, health, and location. On average, disability insurance will cost you between 1% and 3% of your annual salary. For example, a physician earning a salary of $350,000 can expect to pay between $290 and $900 per month for disability insurance. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this range can vary due to the numerous factors that influence the overall cost.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Disability Insurance

Medical Specialty: Your medical specialty is one of the most significant factors that determine how much you’ll pay for disability insurance. Physicians in certain specialties, such as emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists, and surgeons, usually pay more due to the higher risk of disability associated with their work. On the other hand, medical specialties including diagnostic radiologists, primary care physicians, and gastroenterologists typically have lower rates.

Coverage Amount: The amount of disability coverage you need will also affect the cost of your insurance. The more monthly benefits you add to your policy, the higher your premiums will be. It’s crucial to carefully evaluate your responsibilities, savings, and financial goals to determine the appropriate coverage amount for your needs.

Elimination Period: The elimination period, also known as the waiting period, is the time between the start of your disability and when you become eligible to receive benefits. Choosing a shorter elimination period will result in higher premiums, while a longer elimination period will lower your monthly costs. Consider your savings and ability to sustain yourself during the waiting period when deciding on the appropriate duration.

Age: Age is another factor that affects the cost of disability insurance. Younger physicians generally pay less for coverage, while older individuals may face higher premiums. It’s advantageous to secure disability insurance at a younger age to lock in better rates for the long term.

Health: Your current health condition can significantly impact your disability insurance premiums. Physicians with pre-existing conditions or poor overall health may face higher costs compared to those in excellent health. Even if you are in good health, older doctors may still pay more due to the increased likelihood of injury or disability.

Location: The state you live in can also influence the cost of disability insurance. Each state has its own regulations for insurance providers and policies, which can affect the availability and pricing of disability insurance options. Generally, states with more regulations tend to have fewer choices and higher costs.

Optional Riders: Disability insurance policies often offer optional riders that can provide additional benefits but come at an extra cost.
Riders such as cost of living adjustment (COLA) riders, future purchase riders, student loan riders, and catastrophic disability riders can enhance your coverage but will increase your premiums.

Choosing the Right Disability Insurance Coverage

When it comes to disability insurance, there is not a uniform “right answer”. Every physician’s needs and circumstances are unique, which is why it’s essential to understand the various aspects of disability insurance and tailor your coverage accordingly. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Assessing Your Coverage Needs

To determine the appropriate coverage amount, ask yourself the following questions:

    • What are your financial responsibilities, such as mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and debts?
    • How much do you have in savings?
    • Do you want to continue to put money in savings while receiving disability payments?
    • How long can you afford to be without earned income?
    • How much time can you wait between becoming disabled and collecting benefits?
    • By carefully evaluating your financial obligations and savings, you can determine the monthly benefit amount that will adequately support you and your family during a period of
    • disability. Keep in mind that disability insurance typically replaces 60% to 75% of your pre-tax income.

Understanding the Definition of Disability

Different disability insurance policies have varying definitions of disability, which can significantly impact your eligibility for benefits. The two most common definitions are “own-occupation” and “any occupation.”

Own-occupation: This definition considers you disabled if you are unable to work in your specific field or medical specialty. It provides more comprehensive coverage but comes at a higher cost.

Any occupation: Under this definition, you are considered disabled only if you are unable to work in any job. It is more challenging to qualify for benefits under this definition, resulting in lower premiums.

Consider your medical specialty and the potential impact of a disability on your ability to continue practicing in your field when deciding which definition of disability is right for you.

Evaluating Optional Riders

Optional riders can enhance your disability insurance coverage but may increase your premiums. Here are some riders to consider:

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Rider: This rider ensures that your disability benefits increase over time to keep up with inflation, providing additional financial protection.

Future Purchase Rider: This rider allows you to increase your coverage in the future without undergoing additional underwriting, making it ideal for residents and young physicians with anticipated income growth.

Student Loan Rider: If you still have outstanding student loan debt, this rider can cover your monthly loan payments in the event of disability, providing relief from financial burdens.

Catastrophic Disability Rider: This rider offers additional benefits if you suffer a catastrophic disability, such as the inability to perform basic daily activities.
Evaluate each rider’s benefits and costs to determine if they align with your specific needs and financial goals.

Finding the Right Disability Insurance Provider

When it comes to physician disability insurance, it is particularly important to pick the right insurance company. Since the “right company” can be different for everyone, working with an unbiased broker of physician disability insurance can simplify this choice greatly. Here are some of the best disability insurance companies for doctors:

Ameritas: Known for its survivor benefit and comprehensive coverage options.

Guardian: Offers a lifetime continuous benefit for total disabilities, even after the policy expires.

Mass Mutual: Provides a future insurability rider that allows for increased coverage as your income grows.

Principal: Offers a lump-sum payment in addition to regular benefits for presumptive disabilities.

The Standard: Includes a family care benefit for physicians who need to take time off to care for a sick loved one.

When selecting a disability insurance provider, consider their financial strength, customer satisfaction ratings, and the specific benefits and riders they offer. The most important thing to is to compare quotes from multiple providers to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the most competitive rates. You can request your free quotes and see all of your options from each of these companies with LeverageRx.

Key Takeaways

Physician disability insurance is a critical investment for protecting your financial well-being in the event of an illness or injury that prevents you from practicing medicine. While the cost of disability insurance for physicians varies based on several specific factors, it is a key safeguard against potential loss of income. When you understand the factors that impact the cost of disability insurance and can assess your coverage needs, you’re in the right position to secure the right policy to ensure financial security for you and your loved ones. Remember to carefully evaluate your options, including optional riders, and work with an insurance expert to find the best disability insurance coverage for your specific needs.

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