Being a veterinarian is rewarding work. It’s also a challenge to become a veterinarian. There are only a handful of veterinary schools in the country, and getting the right education can be pricey. That’s why vets should protect hard work they put into fulfilling their dreams with long-term disability insurance.
Anyone can get hurt over the course of their career. 90% of disability claims are due to illness rather than injury. One in four people will become disabled before they retire. Whether you work with cats or cattle, give yourself peace of mind by finding the best long-term disability company for you.
Why veterinarians need disability insurance
Becoming a vet isn’t cheap. Besides receiving an undergraduate degree, veterinarians must get a doctorate in veterinary medicine, which typically takes four years to complete. According to the Veterinary Information Network Foundation, the four-year cost of vet school ranges from around $190,000 at North Carolina State University to $381,000 at Penn. The median student loan debt for vet school graduates is $144,500.
And that’s if your education stops there. Veterinarians can continue their education with specialized residency programs.
The flip side is that vets can begin practicing as soon as they have their license, and they are high earners. In 2016, the median pay for veterinarians was $88,770 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This combination of high student loan debt and high earning potential makes veterinarians prime candidates for disability insurance. The key is finding the best company for your profession.
Best disability insurance companies for veterinarians
|Company||30 years old||40 years old||50 years old|
|Ameritas||$110.76/mo | $1,281.40/yr||$176.76/mo | $2,048.80/yr||$271.65/mo | $3,152.20/yr|
|Assurity*||$173.01/mo | $1,988.76/yr||$268.26/mo | $3,083.46/yr||$340.77/mo | $3,917.03/yr|
|Guardian-Berkshire||$132.09/mo | $1,585.13/yr||$201.87/mo | $2,422.50/yr||$305.69/mo | $3,668.26/yr|
|Principal||$136.68/mo | $1,562.00/yr||$206.02/mo | $2,354.50/yr||$304.54/mo | $3,480.50/yr|
|The Standard||$127.51/mo | $1,457.30/yr||$184.84/mo | $2,112.47/yr||$276.88/mo | $3,164.31/yr|
|MassMutual||$155.95/mo | $1,824.08/yr||$250.46/mo | $2,916.64/yr||$406.49/mo | $4,720.40/yr|
|Mutual of Omaha**||$140.41/mo | $1,604.45/yr||$211.15/mo | $2,413.08/yr||$323.51/mo | $3,697.13/yr|
*Non-cancelable policies not available
**To age 67; non-cancelable policies not available
These rates assume the applicant is a male, non-smoking small animal vet (more on this later) in New York with a degree and an income of $100,000.
The plans offer a $5,000 benefit with a 90-day waiting period and benefits to age 65, as well as the following features:
- Own-occupation: Will receive the disability benefit if you can’t work in your own profession, even if you can work other jobs.
- Partial or residual disability: If you’re able to work but not to the extent you were able to before your disability (for example, because of reduced hours) you still receive a partial benefit.
- Future purchase option: The ability to get more coverage later in life without going through the underwriting process again.
- Non-cancelable: Your rates cannot go up.
- Automatic increase benefit: Will raise the benefit automatically for the first four to five years of the policy.
Your exact policy and rates will depend on your specific needs, so while this is a good guideline for what to expect, be sure to talk to a licensed expert about your situation.
What veterinarians need to know about disability insurance
Choosing the right disability insurance company is important — but so is choosing the right policy. Here’s what veterinarians should know about making sure they have the best coverage at the best rates.
Small animal vets can get better rates
If you’re working with small animals, you’re less likely to get hurt on the job. That’s why small animal vets are able to get better rates than large animal vets. (Unfortunately, that’s the risk you take when you work around cows and horses.) Large animal vets also tend to work in rural settings, where the risk of injury is higher.
Vets can get better rates than veterinary technicians or assistants
Although vet techs and assistants are important, they can’t get disability insurance rates as low as veterinarians. That doesn’t mean they don’t need disability insurance. They should still look at policies to protect their income.
You can purchase coverage while you’re still in school
Veterinarians have to get an undergraduate education and then go through four years of vet school. But why wait that long to get disability coverage? A future purchase option allows applicants to buy a policy and increase the coverage later to account for income changes without needing to go through the underwriting process again. This way you can get low rates, immediate protection and lock in your insurability when you’re healthiest.
Look for a student loan protection rider
Paying off those student loans? A student loan protection rider sets aside part of the disability benefit to specifically go to your student loan lender. That way, even if you’re not working, you can keep up with your payments.
Disclosure: Policygenius offers insurance policies from many of the nation's top insurers, who pay us a commission for our services. However, all editorial choices are made independently.