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Disability Insurance for Nurses: What You Need to Know

Nurses at work

As a nurse, you play a critical role in the care and healing of your patients. 

What would happen if you couldn’t play that role? What if you became the person who needed care and healing? How would you be able to care for your family without your income? 

Thankfully, you have a way to protect your income in the event that you become disabled and can no longer perform your nursing duties.  This can be done by purchasing disability insurance.

You may know plenty of doctors who carry disability insurance but considered it a luxury that you just can’t afford or don’t need. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Doctors and nurses are just as likely to become disabled, so you need the policy to protect your income as well. Curious?

Here’s everything you need to know:

Get a Policy that Covers You as a Nurse

Each disability insurance policy will have a different definition of what disabled means. If you can’t continue your job as a nurse but you can get a different job, will you still be covered?

If so, you don’t want that policy. Shop around for one that has an “own-occupation” rider. This means that you will receive benefits if your disability renders you unable to still be a nurse, not unable to work at all.

Choose a Waiting Period that Suits You

For many people, they think that the shorter your waiting period, the better. You don’t want to go for months without benefits.

While this is true, your healthcare system most likely provides short term disability insurance. This will take care of your immediate needs.

Since the price of your policy goes up with a shorter waiting period, you can save yourself some money by choosing the longer waiting period and building an emergency fund to help you pay for immediate bills.

Budget 1-3% of Your Annual Income

The price of your disability insurance generally falls between 1-3% of your income. Knowing this ahead of time will help you to budget those costs. 

Also, knowing that this fact will help you to get disability when your income is low. 

Keep in mind, however, that your income is also what insurance companies use to determine how much benefits you will receive in the event that you do become disabled. 

Many nurses opt to purchase disability early in their career for two reasons: a lower-income lowers the premiums, and a younger age lowers the premiums.

You Can Add “Future Purchase Option”

You may be thinking that it would make more sense to wait until you make more money to buy disability so that you would get more benefits, but that would be taking unnecessary risks and there is another way.

You can still buy a policy that covers your income now with the ability to increase the benefits you will receive when your income increases later.

This is called the “Future Purchase Option” rider and it can be added to your disability insurance policy.

Choose from The Big 6 Insurance Companies

There are so many insurance companies out there that claim to offer the lowest price but when you go with a little company with an unknown name, you risk buying a useless policy.

Instead, stick with one of the most widely used and known disability insurance companies to protect you from relying on coverage from a company that will find a way to deny you.

The six companies that are reputable and reliable, offering the most comprehensive disability insurance plans are known as The Big 6.

They include Mass Mutual Insurance, Ameritas Insurance, Guardian Insurance, Principal Insurance, Ohio National, and The Standard Insurance. 

It is highly recommended that you choose one of these six companies to protect your income in the event of a disability.


A nurse may not earn as much as a doctor but they still deserve to be protected financially in the event of illness or injury. 

The earlier you purchase your disability insurance policy, the earlier you can relax knowing that even though you can’t stop tragedy from striking, you’ve done all you can to set yourself up for that possibility.

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