Disability Insurance for Physicians: How to Find the Best Policy

By Joe Capone, LUTCF and Rick Warren, MBA

Portrait of an Old Male Doctor thinking about disability insurance for physiciansOver the last couple of decades, the disability insurance for physicians industry has become so highly specialized that it has consolidated itself among  a relatively few number of companies that offer a competitive product.  This makes choosing a top company to work with much less complicated.  However,  you still need to be able to navigate between each so to determine which company has the best policy available for your specific needs.

Currently, the major players with the high quality disability insurance products for physicians are,  Guardian, Mass Mutual, The Standard, Ameritas, Metlife, and Principal.  At any given time, any one of these top quality companies may offer the best disability insurance for physicians at their current place in life, from medical school, to residency to fellowship and beyond.  The specialty that a physician is trained in also comes into play with determining the strength of the policies that are available.  For instance, Guardian might be the best right now for covering an male radiologist from Utah, and Mass Mutual might have the best offering for a female anesthesiologist from California.  Next year it could be Union Central (Ameritas Life) and Principal as the best in terms of price for those situations. So, where does a physician start in identifying the company that best matches his or her needs, priorities and preferences when looking to purchase disability insurance for physicians? The best place to start is by understanding how to differentiate between disability insurance carriers.

Financial Ratings

A disability could strike at any time – now, or 20 years from now – so it is important that your disability insurer have the financial strength and stability to weather the worst of economic storms.  A good way to do this is to see how various rating agencies rate a particular company.  Using A.M. Best Company for example, a company rated ‘A=’ or better demonstrate the greatest financial strength to withstand bad economic conditions.

Occupational Definition

You need a disability insurance for physicians policy that will not only replace your income, but also protect your specialty. At a minimum you need an “own occupation” policy that will pay benefits in the event you are unable to perform all of the specific duties of your occupation. The devil is in the details of these definitions, so make sure your disability insurance for physicians policy has the broadest definition available .

Occupational Classification

Each company weighs the same set of factors when pricing their policies – gender, specialty, geographic location, age, income, health, and employment status. But each has its own set of criteria and formulas.  The variance is most apparent when it comes to pricing or rating the different medical specialties some of which are considered to be higher risks than others.  One company can be very competitive generally, but not so for a certain specialty, such as an emergency medicine physician.  Be sure to check each company for their pricing in your specialty.

Guaranteed Renewable and Non-Cancellable

Look for insurers that offer policies that are guaranteed renewable and non-cancelable.
Partial Disability
Statistically, you are more likely to become partially disabled than totally disabled.  Most of the top insurers offer a residual or partial disability benefit.  For high earning physicians, a benefit payable on the dollar amount of lost income is better than a policy that pays based on a percentage of income loss.


Finally, it is advisable to work with a disability insurance specialist who is knowledgeable and who has access to most of the top-rated insurers in the disability insurance for physicians marketplace.


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The views and opinions for disability insurance for physicians expressed herein are solely that of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, or its subsidiaries or affiliates thereof.

Joseph Capone is a Registered Representative and a Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS) and a Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Securities products/services and advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. OmniMed Financial & Insurance is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS. Life/Disability/Long Term Care insurance offered through OmniMed Financial & Insurance. OmniMed Financial is not licensed to sell insurance. Neither Guardian, nor its subsidiaries, agents or employees provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your individual situation.
PAS is a member FINRA, SIPC.                                               GEAR 2012-13466


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