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Disability Insurance for Clergy

Priests, Rabbis, Ministers, and other religious leaders need disability insurance.  No matter what your denomination, disability insurance for Clergy is something that should be considered. If you’re a member of the Clergy for your organization and don’t already have some type of income protection, read on.  We can help.

What to Expect – Disability Insurance for Clergy

Members of the Clergy, like many professions, should have some form of long-term disability insurance. Disability insurance protects your income from an illness or accident that prevents you from doing your job.

The average Clergy member is 51 years old and earns $41,716 per year. 80% of the Clergy are male.

Disability insurance for Clergy is priced according to your gender, age, and health.  For disability insurance, men normally pay less than women, the younger pay less than the older, and healthier people pay less than those who aren’t as healthy.

The demographics of the Clergy typically make long-term disability insurance moderately priced.

What to Look For

Clergy who are looking for disability insurance can shop for it from most disability insurance companies (a service that we provide).  Some companies will be better suited for the Clergy, while others may be stronger due to health conditions or other factors.  Our goal is to find you the best disability insurance policy for your overall needs at a price that is reasonable.

If you’re unsure of where to start, you can START HERE.  At the bottom of the “start here” article is a number of disability 101 posts that can help bring you up to speed.  To begin, you’d want to have a general idea of how much income you want to protect, how long you’d like to be able to make a claim (the average claim is 31–34 months, and roughly what you can afford.

Disability insurance has a lot of moving parts so, as we go through the knowledge and evaluation parts of our process, we’ll narrow down what’s most important to you and go from there.

Not All Disability Companies Are Equal

As mentioned earlier, disability insurance for Clergy is priced according to age, gender, and health.  But like all disability insurance, it is also priced on your occupation: Clergy Member.

Every disability insurance company assigns an occupation class to each profession that they insure.  That occupation class will vary by company.  Some insurance carriers will use very general guidelines and others will be much more specific.

For Example
Carrier A classifies all clergy using the same occupation class.  That may be to your advantage or disadvantage.  If you’re ordained, full-time, and have more than 4 full-time employees, carrier B will give you a higher occupation class than carrier A, making your policy LESS expensive.  However, if your income is below 25k and you have less than 4 employees, carrier B will give you a worse occupation class than carrier A, making your policy MORE expensive.

The example above illustrates the need to shop for all of the major disability insurance companies for your coverage.  That’s what we’re here for.  If you’d like to see what disability insurance costs for the Clergy, complete the quote form on the left and we’ll be in touch.

Multi-Life Discounts

Depending on the size of your congregation, you may have several other employees of your organization who work with you.  They may or may not be Clergy.

One way to reduce the overall cost of your disability insurance is to sign up with a few other people who work for the same employer.  In the case of disability insurance for Clergy, it isn’t even necessary that the other policy purchasers be ordained, just that they’re working for the same church and they’re full-time employees.

Known as a multi-life discount, the savings can be substantial.  Some multi-life discount plans can reduce the cost of disability insurance for Clergy by 30%+.  In some cases, discounts can be applied with as few as 3 policies.

Also, multi-life disability policies are normally priced as gender neutral.  Why is this important?

Although the majority of Clergy in the United States are male, 20% are female.  Women pay disproportionately higher premiums than their male counterparts.  Therefore, a gender-neutral policy will be substantially less expensive for female Clergy (versus buying a policy without the multi-life pricing).  In some cases, the difference in price can be over 50% less.

Group Policies

If your congregation is large enough, you may qualify for a group disability insurance policy.  Check with your benefits administrator to see if you have a group policy already in force.  There are pros and cons to group benefits but, if you have one available to you, it should be examined (which we’re happy to assist with at no cost to you).

Group Pros 

  • Less expensive than individual disability insurance
  • Easier to qualify for (purchase)

Group Cons 

  • Harder to make claims
  • Not guaranteed
  • Fewer options
  • Poor occupation definitions (harder to stay on claim)

Whether a group plan is right for you is up to each individual.  Sometimes, it makes the most sense and, other times, an individual disability insurance policy will work out better.

There is no right or wrong… each person is different.

Association Policies

Depending on your denomination, you may have an association disability policy available to you as well.

These are also group policies, but instead of getting your disability insurance through your employer, you’re eligible based on your association with a specific group.

For example, the Church Pension Group offers a long-term disability association plan for Clergy, lay employees, and their families of the Episcopal Church.

Like group plans offered through an employer, association plans have similar pros and cons.

That being said, having some coverage is certainly better than none, and if a group policy is all that you can afford or qualify for, then it is still a viable option.


Disability insurance for Clergy doesn’t have to be expensive or confusing.

We offer expert, unbiased advice about disability insurance and work with Clergy (and church employees) to help them find the best disability insurance policy for their needs.

If you work for a religious organization and would like more information on what might be available to you, simply complete the quote form on the left or feel free to contact us.

We’re here to help.



About Raymer Malone, CFP®
About Raymer Malone, CFP®

Raymer Malone, CFP® is principal and owner of www.highincomeprotection.com, an online insurance agency that specializes in disability insurance.  Ray has been in financial services since 1998 and has been life and health licensed since 2004. He started his company to help consumers get access to disability insurance products online and to provide them with the proper direction in selecting a policy. Ray resides in Lake Tahoe, NV with his wife and two children.

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