Why Is Own Occupation Disability Insurance So Important for Physicians?
Apr 3, 2024
Jamie Fleischner

Jamie Fleischner

3 Apr, 2024

If you are a physician shopping around for individual disability insurance, chances are you have heard the phrase “own occupation” definition of disability. But what does that mean?

By definition, own occupation says that it will pay you your monthly benefit if you are too sick or injured to work in your occupation. If you are a physician, your occupation is your medical specialty or subspecialty.

Without an own occupation definition of disability, you may be in a position where you can’t work in your specialty but are still working. The company may not pay your claim. Most employer sponsored group policies that have a total disability definition would not pay your claim.

Recently I had a long term client of mine who is a surgeon. She called me frantically. She was cleaning out her dishwasher and slipped and tore her finger on her dominant hand. She immediately went into surgery and she has permanent damage on her hand. She will no longer be able to perform surgery. Because her disability insurance contract is own occupation, she will receive her full policy benefit. If she decides to teach, do research, consult or anything else, she will continue to receive her disability benefits regardless of income earned elsewhere. Her group policy requires her to be totally disabled and not working. If she decides not to work elsewhere, she might receive benefits from them. She is still unsure.

If you are a physician but are in a non-surgical specialty, it is still important to have an own occupation contract. It is important to have options available to you if you ever go on claim without the insurance company determining if you are able to work in another capacity.

For more information about own occupation definitions of disability, to review your existing policy or to request a disability insurance quote, contact Set for Life Insurance today!

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