For most people, having some kind of income protection insurance is very important. Psychologists are no different. Not being able to work due to injury or a health condition can quickly and substantially drain your financial resources. Disability insurance for psychologists provides income protection if you’re unable to do your job because of an accident or illness. If you’re a psychologist who needs disability insurance, read this article to find out how it works and what to expect.
What to Expect – Disability Insurance for Psychologists
Because there are a variety of career opportunities within the field of psychology, it isn’t easy to generically outline what to expect when purchasing disability insurance.
The average psychologist is 46 years old and makes approximately $70,000 annually. The majority of psychologists are women, making up 72% of the occupation’s total population.
The pricing for disability insurance for psychologists will vary based on the carrier you choose and your level of education. We can not only help you find the best disability insurance for psychologists, but we can also help you to find the best disability insurance policy for YOU. Complete the quote form on the left to request a quote.
Your degree and your occupation play a large role in determining your coverage.
The higher your degree, the less expensive your coverage. Also, having an APA accreditation will help as well. Experience in your field can also help to mitigate your costs.
There are some constants when it comes to disability insurance for psychologists, no matter your discipline.
In addition to your chosen profession, disability insurance is based on your health, age, and gender.
Like most types of personal insurance (life insurance, long-term care insurance, etc.), your overall health is a major factor in both the pricing and the purchase of disability insurance.
All of the major individual disability insurance companies have standard pricing. Unlike life insurance, which has several categories denoting varying degrees of “healthy”, disability insurance just has standard pricing.
That means that if you’re relatively healthy and apply for the same policy as a triathlete, you’ll both pay the same price.
On the other hand, if you’re not healthy or you practice unhealthy behaviors, then you will pay more.
There are certain health conditions, such as smoking or being overweight, that are largely within your control. Stopping smoking or losing weight can make your premiums drastically less expensive.
A serious health condition, such as chronic pancreatitis or systemic lupus, will normally make you ineligible to purchase individual disability insurance.
Pre-existing conditions may not be covered but that doesn’t mean that your premiums will increase.
To learn more about the underwriting process for disability insurance, read the section below entitled: The Application Process.
The older you are, the more expensive your policy will be. If you wait until later in life to purchase your policy, you are going to pay substantially more than those who purchased policies when they were first getting started.
At the very least, purchasing your policy prior to age 50 will certainly help you to keep costs lower.
Men pay less for disability insurance than women. While that may sound like an issue for psychologists, since most are women, there are a few ways for women to get preferential gender-based pricing, which we will discuss below.
A lot of these factors are beyond your control, however, we can help guide you.
A certain health condition may be accepted by one carrier and not another. There are a few disability insurance companies that have excellent pricing for women. And although most disability insurance companies don’t issue policies beyond age 60, there are a few that will allow purchasers at age 65 and older.
The key is to find an insurance agency that truly understands and specializes in disability insurance for psychologists.
What to Look For – Disability Insurance for Psychologists
Anyone looking for salary protection or income protection needs to consider disability insurance.
Shopping for disability insurance doesn’t need to be confusing. We help you design your policy, navigate the underwriting process, search for discounts, and consider alternative options.
Complete the form on the left or contact us today for a complimentary, confidential, quote.
Like most professionals, there are a few key features that every psychologist should consider when purchasing disability insurance coverage.
①Own Occupation Definitions
Your ability to go on claim due to sickness or injury is often referred to as your policy definitions. Essentially, the more specific your definition of disability, the easier it is to make a claim.
A psychologist should ideally have a “true own occupation” definition of disability. This means that if you become unable to do your job, you can still go do something else and remain on claim.
Residual disability allows for partial claims if you’re unable to do your job full-time due to a covered condition and you suffer a loss of income because of that.
It’s important that you’re allowed to make a residual claim BEFORE a total disability claim, as certain medical treatments can prevent you from working full-time but do not fall into the definition of being “totally” disabled.
Just having disability insurance isn’t enough.
Having coverage that protects your income and satisfies your financial obligations is crucial.
The best disability insurance for psychologists is the one that best fits YOUR needs.
There are a lot of riders available on disability insurance policies.
Riders change your base policy.
Residual disability mentioned earlier is an example of a rider.
Some riders are additive, such as the cost of living adjustments, future purchase options, and benefit updates.
Others can restrict or reduce policy usage, such as mental/nervous limitations and social insurance supplement riders.
The riders you select for your policy are ultimately up to you, however, if you are a psychologist who is relatively new to your profession, you may look for a policy which includes paying off your student loans while disabled.
Also, if you have an office, assistant, or any other overhead costs that you have to pay, whether or not you’re working, look for business overhead expense disability insurance.
Business overhead expenses for psychologists will help you to pay for those expenses if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.
The Underwriting Process
Once you’ve selected a disability insurance company and the policy design that best fits your needs, it is time to submit an application.
The application process varies from carrier to carrier, as do the underwriting requirements.
Underwriting is the process that the carrier conducts to determine how much your policy will cost (and if they’re willing to offer you one at all).
No matter which carrier you select, the first step is completing an application. Often does as a simple eApp, this process takes 15 minutes or so and you sign it electronically.
Next is a phone interview with the company. This is where they ask you all of the pertinent medical questions and discuss your medical history.
After this point, some carriers will require a paramedical exam. This is where a trained examiner comes to your home and takes note of your blood, urine, build (height/weight) and blood pressure. They may also ask you some medical questions.
Depending on how much coverage you need, several disability insurance companies offer no exam disability insurance for psychologists, although you may be able to skip this step.
At some point, you’ll also need to provide financials.
For self-employed individuals, this normally means providing your last two years of tax returns. If you’re an employee, then a W2 and paystub are often sufficient.
Like the qualifications for disability insurance without a medical exam, financial verification is sometimes waived as well. If you’re applying for a smaller amount of coverage (under 3k), then you may not need to provide financials.
Lastly, the carrier will verify your medical information.
They do this through your doctor’s records, prescription checks, and other accessible historical data.
Once the underwriting process is complete, you’ll receive an offer. Hopefully, it is what we anticipated. If not, being an independent agency, we can always move your application to another company which may receive it more favorably.
Until you have placed (signed and paid for) your disability insurance policy, the next steps are largely reactive based on the feedback that the carrier gives us.
Discounts and Other Considerations
Everyone likes to pay less if the product quality is the same.
Psychologists who are purchasing disability insurance are no different.
There are normally discounts available for multi-product purchases, multi-life purchases, and for those who are self-employed.
If you don’t already have life insurance, you should go buy some.
Like disability insurance, life insurance can help to protect your income.
Unlike disability insurance, which helps you pay your bills if you’re unable to work due to a sickness or illness, life insurance helps to protect your income and pay your family’s bills if you die.
Purchasing your life insurance and disability insurance from the same company can sometimes get you a discount.
Certain companies will discount your disability coverage from 5-10% if you purchase them at the same time.
As mentioned earlier, women pay more for disability insurance than men.
That being said, women can use a multi-life discount to acquire gender neutral pricing, which can substantially reduce their rates, sometimes by as much as 50%.
A multi-life discount may be available in two ways.
1) The disability company already offers a discount through your employer. We can help you to verify this.
2) A minimum of three people with the same employer (even if they are self-employed) apply for a policy from the same company simultaneously.
These policies are normally issued as gender-neutral, which is obviously preferential for women, and come with a multi-life discount as high as 25% (which is preferential for everyone).
Disability insurance for self-employed psychologists has some advantages over policies purchased by employees of a company or school.
First, because of their large deductions, self-employed people often are able to get disability insurance based on a higher income than what they actually claim on their taxes.
Second, some companies offer occupational upgrades (making your policy less expensive) or self-employed discounts (making your policy less expensive) to those who work for themselves.
Let your agent know early in the process if you’re self-employed, as you may qualify for one or more of these programs.
If you have group coverage available, it should be explored.
Whether through your employer or an association, group coverage is often less expensive (at least for those under 50) than individual coverage. Group coverage may also provide protection for a pre-existing condition.
Please note that group coverage is often weaker than individual disability insurance in its definitions and its flexibility.
We provide a complimentary analysis of all group coverage to help you understand the pros and cons and ultimately determine your best options.
Disability insurance for psychologists has a lot of moving parts but it doesn’t need to be confusing.
If you have any questions or you’d like a quote, please contact us or complete the quote form on the left.