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Insurance Checklist for Physicians

By Anthony DelVecchio

Whether you are just joining a practice fresh out of residency or the owner of a practice for 15 years, disability insurance will always be a part of your life.  This article is going to focus on your disability insurance needs.

Below you are going to see a checklist of types of insurance you may need now or in the future as well as a brief general description of what they do.

Individual Disability Insurance (IDI)

One of the first insurance needs a physician should obtain while in residency is an Individual disability insurance policy (IDI).  This type of policy is designed to protect your most valuable asset, your ability to earn an income.  Although you will more than likely have a group policy during residency it is important to supplement that policy with one you can take with you when you leave.  If you are a physician with a group policy at your current practice chances are the group coverage does not protect your income completely and I would recommend supplementing your group with an IDI policy.  There are many different carriers that offer own-occupation disability insurance policies for physicians but very few that offer medical specialty language.  I strongly recommend you do some homework and find a carrier that offers medical specialty language policies.

The second disability type insurance you may need is Overhead Expense insurance.  While individual insurance protects your income and your family’s lifestyle this type of insurance protects what I like to call your second family, the business. 

Overhead Expense Insurance

Overhead expense insurance is meant to keep the doors of your practice open while you recover from whatever illness or injury has put you on the shelf.  Overhead Expense policies will pay for employee salaries, utility bills, office expenses, malpractice premiums, rent-lease-mortgage payment on the office, and possibly a replacement physician’s salary.  By having this policy in force as an owner of a practice you are giving yourself an opportunity to not only keep your doors open for a year or two but if you are not able to return to work in your profession it will give you the ability to sell your practice.

Retirement Protection Insurance

Another type of disability insurance that is not talked about often is a policy that protects your ability to put away money for retirement.  If a disability was to occur and you had an individual disability insurance policy in force, paying you $10,000 month how much of that is going toward your retirement?  My guess is zero.  There is a policy available with an insurance carrier that in the case of a disability would put “x” amount into a retirement fund that you would control.  The product is called Retirement Protection Plus.  I would encourage you to talk to your insurance agent about this protection.  The only company I know that offers this type of protection is The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

There are quite a few more types of insurance you need to own in order to be fully protected.  Please make sure you speak with your financial advisor or an insurance agent about what products you need to protect yourself, your family, and your business.  I recommend talking to a specialist who has written these forms of coverage before.  Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or if you would like a quote.

Anthony DelVecchio is a financial representative specializing in disability insurance with the Guardian Disability Insurance Brokerage in Rockville, MD. The firm services physicians and executives nationwide for all aspects of business and personal disability insurance benefits.


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