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  • Income Insurance

Disability Doctors’ Insurance: What Physicians Need To Know

4 min

Working as a physician, your job is to help people in some of their most difficult times. It’s one of the world’s oldest professions (seriously, there are cave paintings of people using plant-based medicine dating back 27,000 years) and there are few feelings better than giving your patient the “all clear” at the end of their treatment plan.

But what happens when you’re the one in need of medical care and attention? Do you have a backup plan to replace your income if you’re unable to work?

When one in four of us will experience a career-pausing medical condition at some point before retirement, having solutions in place to support you when the unexpected happens is one of the smartest moves you can make.

You’ve worked hard to put yourself in an excellent financial position, so it’s time to take the final step in safeguarding your income and your future. It may feel like you have a seemingly never-ending to-do list, but we’re here to show you why taking out disability doctors’ insurance should be at the top.

We’ll break down the ins and outs of what you need to know before signing on the dotted line, what you can expect to pay each year to maintain your policy, as well as how to get disability insurance for physicians, stat.

Why do doctors need disability insurance?

Like many working professionals, doctors are highly skilled individuals with extensive credentials and years of practical service under their belts. You spent years training to be a physician and, as a result, you’re likely being highly compensated. But what happens when that high salary is taken away from you due to an unexpected illness or injury?

It’s not only your comfortable lifestyle that’s on the line. Student loans are probably still looming over you decades after you finished medical school and someone needs to foot the bill, even if you’re not in a position where you’re able to work. Everyday essentials like groceries and utilities need to be accounted for and savings can only take you so far. You likely know better than most that, once those medical bills start rolling in, your cash reserves start going down alarmingly fast.

But there is a solution. Disability doctors’ insurance (or disability income insurance, as we like to call it here as Asteya) is there to provide you with the financial support you need if you become disabled and need to stop working.

It’s really quite simple. You’ll pay a monthly or annual premium to maintain your coverage and, if you ever need to make a claim due to an unexpected health or wellness issue and the claim is approved, you’ll receive a monthly benefit amount to cover your bills and essential outgoings.

You may have some savings that could cover your income for a few months, which is great to have for all kinds of emergencies. But for any medical issues that are more serious or take longer to recover from, long-term disability insurance is what you’ll be looking for. These policies can last from several months up to a number of years and will often cover around 60% to 70% of your annual salary.

How much does disability insurance for physicians cost?

There are several different factors that come into play when it comes to policy pricing. On average, you should be looking to spend around 1-4% of your annual income on your disability insurance premium. But aspects like your age, gender, general health and lifestyle, and the medical field that you work in can all impact how much your policy will cost.

Generally speaking, the younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your policy will be. That’s why there really is no time like the present when it comes to taking out disability insurance. Of course, if you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle or have some particularly risky hobbies (we’re looking at you, thrill-seekers), there’s a higher chance of you needing to make a claim and your premiums will reflect that.

When it comes to your day-to-day work, you may not think that what you do is especially dangerous, but it’s more about the risk to the insurance provider than what you’re actually doing in your job.

For example, general practitioners, dentists, and family practice physicians are considered to be lower-risk medical specialties and so will benefit from cheaper insurance rates. Some higher intervention roles (like an emergency room physician or a surgeon, for example) could potentially have higher rates. After all, you’ll probably still be able to see your patients as a GP with a broken arm, but no one will want you operating on them one-handed!

Regardless of the riskiness of your position, disability insurance is a smart move and it’s worth taking steps to understand your costs, find the right policy, and protect your future

Disability insurance extras that you might want to consider

Be sure to factor in all of the additional clauses and specifics that you might need when you’re budgeting for disability insurance for physicians. Any add-ons that you have in your policy will bump up the cost, as will an increased benefit amount should you need to make a claim later.

Typical extras that physicians add to their insurance include: 

  • Student loan protection: When you’re just getting started in your career, you probably have a significant amount of student loan debt on your shoulders and are still a few years away from that big-time medical salary that you’ve been dreaming about. Your loans won’t simply disappear if you become disabled, so having a benefit that can give you extra money to cover these is a wise addition.

  • Partial disability benefits: Experiencing any kind of unexpected medical issue is stressful and even less severe disabilities can stop you from working. A partial disability benefit will pay out funds to cover your income if you’re unable to perform certain aspects of your job but you don’t need to claim for total disability.

  • Retirement protection: You know that you won’t be able to keep practicing medicine forever and you plan to use your hard-earned salary to enjoy your retirement. But when you’re faced with an injury or illness, your focus shifts to covering your immediate living expenses. Those months, or even years, of lost retirement savings, can have a big impact on your later years, so adding this protection into your insurance policy can help to supplement those contributions until you’re back in regular work.

  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): Life is expensive and continues to cost us more and more each year. So what happens if your benefit amount works for you now but isn’t enough to cover your basic needs in a few years, thanks to inflation and global economies? COLA add-ons will increase the benefit amount that you receive each year that you’re disabled, to account for these rises in living costs. This is a great addition if you’re taking out a policy when you’re younger and can make use of the cheaper premiums upfront.

How to get the best disability insurance for physicians 

So, you’ve determined that taking out a disability income insurance policy is the right move for you, but where do you start? The first decision that you’ll need to make is the type of insurance policy that you want.

The most common disability doctors’ insurance that physicians take out is true own occupation insurance. This means that you’ll still receive the disability benefits from your policy if you can’t work in your own profession, even if you could work in some other way. This type of insurance will give you the maximum coverage that you can get as a doctor and, although this will cost more than other types of insurance, it will be worth it to protect your income.

As physicians work in such specialized roles, own occupation insurance means that you don’t have to try to find other work in your industry or somewhere else. Having said that though, you also have the flexibility with this type of policy to take on other work that fits around your illness or injury if that’s something you’d like to do, while still receiving your monthly disability benefit payout.

Once you’ve decided on your policy type, you’ll need to start your application. Most insurers will take roughly four to six weeks to process your paperwork during a time known as underwriting. They’ll look at all of your details and make a determination about how much they can offer you in terms of benefits and coverage, as well as guidance on what your premium will look like.

Don’t want to wait that long? Asteya’s underwriting process happens in real-time, which means you can get a policy in 30 minutes.

Medical history is an important aspect of your application and, along with your occupation, is typically what most insurers will spend their time looking over. You can opt for “no exam” disability insurance to speed up the process—there are no medical appointments or blood tests needed so your application can be reviewed much faster. This is also a great option if you have some pre-existing conditions that would prevent you from getting traditional disability coverage elsewhere.

Once your application is approved and you make your first premium payment, you’re covered!

A band-aid won’t protect your future income

No one wants to think about something bad happening to them, particularly something serious that could stop you from doing the work that you love.

But planning for those possible eventualities will take away at least some of the stress should you find yourself in that situation. After all, as a healthcare provider, you already know that your best move is to expect the best but prepare for the worst, right?

Visit today to start your no-exam disability insurance application.

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