4 Factors Medical Residents Should Consider When Buying Disability Income Insurance

Posted by on May 16, 2024 10:00:26 AM

As a medical resident, you may already have disability income insurance through your employer or residency program. However, many residents and fellows find it worthwhile to consider an individual policy for comprehensive coverage. Additionally, the coverage you have now is not likely to extend beyond your current position or program. 

This is why understanding the complexities of disability income insurance as a resident can help set you up for making decisions that protect your career as you reach for new opportunities for success.


4 Factors To Consider When Buying Disability Income Insurance

1. Whether You Are Sufficiently Covered

A common question residents ask is, “Do I really need an individual policy if I already have a group policy in effect?” Although group disability income insurance policies can provide some coverage, it may not be enough for your situation. 

Another consideration is that you don’t get to choose the specifics of your coverage or benefits under a group policy. With an individual policy, you have a say in what should and should not be included in your policy details. 

In the event of an incident in which you must postpone or withdraw from your residency program, you should feel secure in the disability insurance coverage you have to provide for yourself and your dependents. 

2. Your Policy’s Definition of Disability

The coverage you select in your individual policy should cater to your specific medical career trajectory, specialties, and lifestyle. While you should be aware of the amount of monthly benefits you may receive under a covered disability, it is important that you understand the definition of Total Disability in your policy details.

For example, many medical residents experience a significant increase in their income after transitioning from resident to practicing physician or even practice owner; this income is often used to purchase a new home, invest, or pay down debt. Should you become totally disabled and unable to work, you may be unable to maintain your lifestyle, pay down student debt, or feel financially secure. 

Having the appropriate amount of disability income insurance coverage and having an “own occupation” definition of total disability in your policy may help ease the financial stress often associated with disability.

Disability Income Insurance Riders

Riders are additional features that can be added to disability income insurance policies to make the coverage more comprehensive. Individuals often focus on total disability, but many disability claims are partial/residual in nature. 

For example, a doctor is still working in their practice but is suffering a loss of

income due to partial/residual disability. In this scenario, a policy that includes a partial/residual disability rider may be beneficial and may help replace some of the Doctor's lost income.

Additional disability income insurance riders to consider as a medical resident include “own occupation” and “cost of living” riders.

1. Your Current Age and Health Status

If you feel satisfied with the group coverage provided by your residency program or institution, you may wonder why buying an individual policy is still something that you should consider. Disability income insurance coverage takes your age and your health into consideration when deciding on your premiums and coverage limits. You may be able to secure terms that are more favorable to you while you are young and healthy versus waiting until later when your situation may have changed.

Keep in mind that your group insurance policies are likely to end with your residency program. Individual disability income insurance for residents can carry over and adapt as you advance your career. 

2. The Company That  Insures You

There are plenty of insurance companies that offer disability income insurance policies. However, not all of them are appropriate for individuals engaged in a field as specialized as medicine.

Working with experienced advisors who are attuned to the needs of medical professionals may help ensure that the policy you purchase fits your situation.


Learn More About Disability Income Insurance From Treloar & Heisel

As a medical resident, individual disability income insurance coverage may not seem like a pressing concern, especially if you already have group coverage. Whether you wish to supplement your coverage or secure an individual policy that can support you throughout your life, having an idea of what coverage you may need and what to look for in your policy can help you prepare to protect your livelihood, no matter what the future may hold. 

Find out more about disability income insurance for medical residents.  

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