Is your disability insurance specific enough?

To protect their income in the event of an injury or illness, it isn't enough for physicians to simply carry disability insurance. Before purchasing a policy, doctors must read the fine print to ensure the insurance will truly fill its purpose, according to an article from Physicians News Digest.

For starters, it's important that physicians' insurance cover an inability to perform their job as specifically as possible, writes Maggie M. Smith, a partner with Disability Insurance Law Group. Depending on the definition of "disability," some policies won't consider a physician disabled if he or she can still perform some type of medicine, even if it's not in that person's specialty. 

Even within specialties, such as cardiology, details matter. An invasive cardiologist, for example, would need to protect his or her ability to perform cardiac catheterizations, for example, whereas a general cardiologist needs to only be able to see patients.

Therefore, the best type of coverage to buy, according to Smith, is true "specialty" coverage followed by "own occupation" coverage, which may cost extra. The less-desirable "any occupation" version provides for disability benefit payments only if the insured is unable to perform the duties of any occupation for which he or she is qualified, trained or experienced.

When working with insurance companies to determine coverage needs, physicians must take care to complete application forms and respond to requests for information as thoroughly and accurately as possible, as inadequate information could lead to inadequate coverage. "It is essential to take the time to understand the entire disability insurance contract, thoroughly review all application materials, and pay special attention to the wording chosen when completing all forms," says Smith.

To learn more:
- read the article