Everything you need to know about purchasing a disability insurance policy during residency

Last updated Feb 16, 2021 | Published on Feb 16, 2021

Our finances are important to protect. As a medical professional you definitely know that there is no way to truly prevent a disability—but there are ways to eliminate the devastating financial consequences that can occur as a result of a disabling injury.

If you’re not protected, a disabling illness or injury can create financial issues, including increased debt. No one wants to consider the possibility of such an injury, but considering disability insurance while in training has tangible benefits.

So…why should I get disability insurance in residency (rather than later)?

Training price advantages

If you’re a resident or a fellow you can take advantage of training program discounts that give you the confidence that you’re covered as soon as you enter your first attending position—not to mention that you can take it with you whenever you change employers.

Residents and fellows have the opportunity to use available training program discounts to get disability insurance at lower rates than at any other point as long as disability insurance is requested before graduation.

If you purchase disability insurance while you are still a resident or fellow, your policy will stack on top of whatever group coverage you receive from your eventual employer.

This feature not only makes physician disability insurance unique, but it makes residency or fellowship the best time to buy it.

The thinking behind this feature is to give physicians a valuable benefit at a time when they are most financially vulnerable. If you are like many physicians, you will complete your residency or fellowship with a significant amount of debt, which you acquired in pursuit of your medical degree.

While the income returns that doctors typically make will likely enable you to pay off your loans quickly, in the waning months of your residency or fellowship you are in a somewhat vulnerable position financially.

Residents and fellows typically earn the lowest level of income that they ever will in the course of their professional careers and are saddled with the highest level of debt.

This is why it is an ideal time to get disability insurance to ensure that you are protected from financial loss in case of injury.

Training program discounts can provide career-long savings of up to 45 percent of the normal rate. To obtain the discounted rates, you need to submit your application prior to your graduation date.

Timing for coverage

If you get medical approval for coverage now, you will protect yourself from the impact of potential injuries and chronic ailments in the future.

Most residents don’t consider their current health as a potential obstacle to qualifying for disability insurance since they are generally young and healthy. But injuries and/ or chronic conditions could prevent you from getting covered in the future.

By purchasing a disability insurance contract now, you protect not only your current income but the opportunity to purchase more coverage in the future, even if your health changes.

The insurance marketplace is volatile – getting disability insurance now will make sure that the provisions you have will not change, no matter the changes in the market.

What disability insurance claims payment is based on what’s in the insurance contract that exists between you and the insurance company.

There currently exist favorable contracts specifically available to residents that protect their occupation and medical specialty.

As we’ve seen recently, however, the insurance market may suddenly end the availability of certain plans, which further limits the options for medical professionals.

You’ll never be as young as you are now-getting disability insurance as a resident will keep your premiums low

Because rates are based on age and health status, a good reason to purchase disability insurance now is that the younger you are, the lower your premiums are likely to be.

The older you get, the more expensive this type of insurance becomes, as your likelihood to use it increases. 

Even if you’re past the training program discount, you’ll never be younger (and thus have lower premiums) than you are today.

With insurance, it’s always better to get it sooner than to wait until you need it.

Since disability insurance rates never change once you secure them, you want to secure your policy as early in your career as possible. Not only may you get a lower rate because of your age, but you may also be less likely to have health conditions that could result in policy exclusions of coverage.

The plans with non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable provisions will keep those rates stable for the remainder of the contract, usually to the end of your career.

Don’t wait until you are in your forties or fifties to get disability insurance, since premiums will be much higher than in your twenties or thirties. 

Getting a policy while you are still in training can save you a lot of money in the long run.

So when considering the best price and the best time to buy your policy, keep this in mind. By taking five minutes to fill out a quote request you can see what you would pay for your medical professional specific policy. If you are ready to get your quotes, fill out a quote request here!

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