Disability Insurance Options: What you need to know to protect your assets

As a family physician, maintaining your current income and lifestyle is not only important to yourself, but to your family as well. Protecting the assets you’ve worked so hard to acquire begins with finding the right financial protection, and often times that means having disability income coverage. Not sure where to begin your search? Whether you have a private practice or are an employed physician, here are some options for you to consider to protect your income.

Practice Overhead Expense Disability Insurance

Also known as Business Overhead Expense or Office Overhead Expense, this coverage is designed to reimburse your private practice for overhead expenses should you become unable to work due to a disability or serious illness. Practice overhead insurance covers expenses such as:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Utilities
  • Employee salaries and benefits
  • Property tax
  • Accounting and billing services
  • Maintenance
  • Office supplies/equipment

This type of coverage ensures that your physician practice can continue to operate even in your absence. Practice overhead protection secures not only the financial future of your business, but of your employees as well. You will find that this coverage is easily affordable. For example, a 35 year old could get $15,000 per month for as little as $540 per year.

Employer-Provided/Group Disability Insurance

In previous posts, we’ve discussed how family physicians are susceptible to on-the-job injuries just like everyone else. In addition to health insurance, disability insurance is perhaps the second-most important form of insurance that is provided by employers. If you’re a physician who is currently employed by a hospital or health care network, find out whether or not your employer offers disability insurance. Some employers will offer short-term disability insurance which helps replace income for the early period of a disability. These plans generally provide benefits that range from as little as two weeks up to two years.

Your employer may also provide long-term disability coverage. These benefits help replace income for an extended period of time, up to five years or until the disabled person turns 65, so these plans may be more expensive.

Once it’s been determined what kind of coverage your employer will provide, review the disability insurance policy thoroughly. Make sure you understand the contract provisions such as “own-occupation” and “when benefits end” as they will vary significantly from one contract to another.

Disability Income Insurance

Whether you are an employed physician or in private practice you will want to have individual disability income insurance to adequately protect your lifestyle. Evaluating contracts and insurance carriers can be a daunting task that will eat into your busy schedule. You may choose to work with an individual agent for help or an association program can be an excellent source for knowledge and expertise. For example, the AAFP Insurance Program offers employer group, association-group, and individual coverage options. They offer a website and a staff of licensed professionals to help you find the coverage that you need at a cost that fits your budget.


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AAFP Insurance Services
Attn: Policyholder Services
PO Box 7470
Leawood, KS 66207-0470

(800) 325-8166

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