Disability insurance rates by age

The earlier you buy disability insurance, the lower your premium rates will be, and you lock in those rates for life.

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Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius. Her insights about life insurance and finance have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, The Balance, HerMoney, SBLI, and John Hancock.

Updated|5 min read

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Disability insurance insures your income if you become disabled and can no longer work. Disability insurance benefits should replace about 60% to 80% of your pre-tax wages ( roughly equivalent to your take-home pay). You can expect to pay between 1% and 3% of your income in premiums.

The earlier you buy disability insurance, the lower your premium rates will be. That’s because as you age, your health declines and you become more likely to suffer a disability or illness. By purchasing disability insurance when you’re younger and healthier, you’ll lock in lower rates that will last you through retirement age.

A 24-year-old male who needs a $5,000 monthly benefit that lasts until retirement can expect to pay about $1,028.72 per year for disability insurance. Alternatively, the same policy bought at age 40 would cost about $1,539.44 per year.

Read on to learn more about disability insurance rates by age and how to get the best policy.

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Disability insurance rates by age

Men pay less than women for disability insurance because more claims are filed by females for pregnancy and mental health conditions. [1] However, disability insurance rates increase at a faster rate for men than women, with males paying about 50% higher rates at age 40 and 191% higher rates at age 60 than they would at age 24.

The following disability insurance rates are for people living in New York working in a high-income career, such as engineering, practicing law, or accounting. The rates are based on a long-term disability insurance policy with these coverage provisions:

  • Benefit amount: $5,000 per month

  • Benefit period: Until age 65

  • Elimination period: 90 days

  • Definition of disability: Own-occupation coverage

  • Riders: Non-cancelable rider, basic residual benefits rider, future benefits increase rider

Disability insurance rates for men

AgeAnnual cost% percentage increase over previous yearTotal cost over course of careerTotal potential benefit to age 65
24$1,028.72 $42,177.52$2,460,000
25$1,036.560.76%$41,462.40$2,400,000
26$1,044.400.76%$40,731.60$2,340,000
27$1,051.680.70%$39,963.84$2,280,000
28$1,058.960.69%$39,181.52$2,220,000
29$1,066.800.74%$38,404.80$2,160,000
30$1,074.080.68%$37,592.80$2,100,000
31$1,102.642.66%$37,489.76$2,040,000
32$1,134.562.89%$37,440.48$1,980,000
33$1,172.083.31%$37,506.56$1,920,000
34$1,212.963.49%$37,601.76$1,860,000
35$1,257.763.69%$37,732.80$1,800,000
36$1,307.043.92%$37,904.16$1,740,000
37$1,359.684.03%$38,071.04$1,680,000
38$1,416.244.16%$38,238.48$1,620,000
39$1,476.164.23%$38,380.16$1,560,000
40$1,539.444.29%$38,486.00$1,500,000
41$1,608.884.51%$38,613.12$1,440,000
42$1,686.164.80%$38,781.68$1,380,000
43$1,768.484.88%$38,906.56$1,320,000
44$1,855.284.91%$38,960.88$1,260,000
45$1,943.764.77%$38,875.20$1,200,000
46$2,032.804.58%$38,623.20$1,140,000
47$2,120.164.30%$38,162.88$1,080,000
48$2,204.163.96%$37,470.72$1,020,000
49$2,283.123.58%$36,529.92$960,000
50$2,355.923.19%$35,338.80$900,000
51$2,428.723.09%$34,002.08$840,000
52$2,499.842.93%$32,497.92$780,000
53$2,568.722.76%$30,824.64$720,000
54$2,635.922.62%$28,995.12$660,000
55$2,700.322.44%$27,003.20$600,000
56$2,763.042.32%$24,867.36$540,000
57$2,823.522.19%$22,588.16$480,000
58$2,881.762.06%$20,172.32$420,000
59$2,938.321.96%$17,629.92$360,000
60$2,992.641.85%$14,963.20$300,000

Disability insurance rates for women

AgeAnnual cost% percentage increase over previous yearTotal cost over course of careerTotal potential benefit to age 65
24$1,825.60 $74,849.60$2,460,000
25$1,839.040.74%$73,561.60$2,400,000
26$1,852.480.73%$72,246.72$2,340,000
27$1,866.480.76%$70,926.24$2,280,000
28$1,879.360.69%$69,536.32$2,220,000
29$1,892.800.72%$68,140.80$2,160,000
30$1,906.240.71%$66,718.40$2,100,000
31$1,942.081.88%$66,030.72$2,040,000
32$1,986.322.28%$65,548.56$1,980,000
33$2,036.162.51%$65,157.12$1,920,000
34$2,090.482.67%$64,804.88$1,860,000
35$2,149.842.84%$64,495.20$1,800,000
36$2,211.442.87%$64,131.76$1,740,000
37$2,275.282.89%$63,707.84$1,680,000
38$2,340.242.86%$63,186.48$1,620,000
39$2,404.642.75%$62,520.64$1,560,000
40$2,467.922.63%$61,698.00$1,500,000
41$2,532.882.63%$60,789.12$1,440,000
42$2,600.082.65%$59,801.84$1,380,000
43$2,670.642.71%$58,754.08$1,320,000
44$2,742.322.68%$57,588.72$1,260,000
45$2,814.562.63%$56,291.20$1,200,000
46$2,885.682.53%$54,827.92$1,140,000
47$2,955.122.41%$53,192.16$1,080,000
48$3,022.322.27%$51,379.44$1,020,000
49$3,086.162.11%$49,378.56$960,000
50$3,144.401.89%$47,166.00$900,000
51$3,207.121.99%$44,899.68$840,000
52$3,267.601.89%$42,478.80$780,000
53$3,326.401.80%$39,916.80$720,000
54$3,383.521.72%$37,218.72$660,000
55$3,438.401.62%$34,384.00$600,000
56$3,491.601.55%$31,424.40$540,000
57$3,543.121.48%$28,344.96$480,000
58$3,592.961.41%$25,150.72$420,000
59$3,640.561.32%$21,843.36$360,000
60$3,686.481.26%$18,432.40$300,000
Cost Per Year of Coverage

Methodology: Sample premiums are broad guidelines based on industry data in 2021. Individual premiums will vary based on your policy benefits and factors like your occupation, age, and health.

What determines my premium rates?

By paying monthly or annual premium payments to your insurer, you keep your disability insurance policy in force. Premiums are determined by several factors including your personal health background, the amount of coverage you need, and the type of disability (own-occupation or any-occupation).

Your age

As you grow older, you’re likely to be less healthy and take longer to recover from a disability. You’ll also have higher coverage needs due to higher salary earnings and increased financial responsibilities, like paying a mortgage or raising children. Policygenius makes it easy for people at any age to compare quotes for disability insurance plans until you find the best plan for you.

Your health history

Disability insurers and underwriters may request a medical exam or medical records to determine premiums. If you have a chronic illness or a family history of one, it may be more expensive to get disability insurance because of the increased risk of becoming disabled. It may be possible to receive an exclusion for a given illness or disability you already have, which means you'll pay less, but be unable to claim disability insurance benefits under that condition.

The benefit amount

Benefits should roughly equal your take-home pay. If you purchase more coverage, you’re essentially purchasing a larger benefit amount. A Policygenius agent can work with you to make sure you’re not purchasing either too little or too much. Benefits are paid monthly as long as you’re disabled or until the end of the benefit period. Note that disability insurance benefits are not taxed if you pay your premiums with after-tax dollars.

The benefit period

The benefit period is the length of time the insurance company is obligated to pay benefits to you in the event that you become disabled. The long-term disability insurance benefit period ranges from two years to age 65 (or age 67, depending on the insurer). You can save on premiums if you choose a shorter benefit period, but it might not provide enough coverage for you if your disability lasts many years.

The elimination period

Every disability insurance policy has an elimination period, which is the length of time after becoming disabled that you have to wait until the insurance company begins paying benefits. This allows the insurer to monitor your health in case you recover and can go back to work before it starts paying benefits to you. Shorter elimination periods – meaning that you can get paid sooner – mean higher premiums. The most cost-effective elimination period is 90 days.

Definition of disability

Disability insurance companies typically offer one of two main definitions of disability, which is the metric they use to confirm that you’re eligible to receive benefits.

  • Own-occupation disability insurance is the more expensive of the two because it means you only have to be so disabled that you can’t work at your current job. If you can earn an income working a different occupation, then you’re still eligible for benefits. A typical example is a surgeon who can no longer perform surgeries but can still teach medicine at a university.

  • Any-occupation disability insurance may let you save on your premiums, but it makes it much harder to qualify for benefits when you become disabled because you have to be so disabled that you can’t work any job. In the example of the surgeon-turned-lecturer above, having the physical ability to teach medicine would invalidate their eligibility for benefits.

→ Learn more about how long-term disability insurance works

How to get the most affordable premiums

Riders are additional coverage that enhance the terms and provisions of your base disability insurance policy. Some may be added at no additional cost, but others will increase your premiums.

  • Non-cancelable rider: guarantees your rates won't change as long as you keep paying the premiums.

  • Guaranteed-renewable rider: guarantees your policy cannot be changed or canceled by the insurance company.

  • Residual benefits rider: pays partial benefits if your disability has reduced your income but you’re still able to work.

  • Future benefit increase rider: allows you to increase coverage as your income increases.

Additional coverage will often raise your premiums. Talk to your agent and read disability insurance company reviews to learn more and compare options.

Buying disability insurance if you’re transgender

Every disability insurance company has its own guidelines for transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Depending on the company, your premiums may be priced based on your gender assigned at birth even if it differs from your actual gender identity. Not only is this disparaging, it also has significant consequences for the premiums you pay for disability insurance at any age.

If your company refuses to process your application under your actual gender identity, you can continue to shop around for another insurer that correctly genders you when determining your rates.

Buying disability insurance early to gain financial leverage

Buying disability insurace early saves you money on premiums, while also helping you gain financial leverage (the value you gain from your premiums if you become disabled at an earlier age over what you’d gain by becoming disabled at a later age).

We calculate financial leverage using the assumption that your disability will last the entire benefit period. For example, someone might pay $1,825.60 per year from age 24 for disability insurance coverage. If they become disabled at age 24 and remain disabled until the end of the benefit period (age 65, a span of 41 years), the $5,000 monthly benefit will result in a total lifetime benefit of $2,460,000. This person's financial leverage is 1,347.50 (the $1,825.60 premium multiplied by 1,347.50).

But the older you are when you get disability insurance, the less financial leverage and options you have. If the same person from the example above purchases coverage for the first time at age 40, they’ll pay $2,467.92 per year for coverage for the same benefit amount. That results in financial leverage of just 607.80.

Financial leverage by year for men

AgeAnnual premiumTotal potential benefit to age 65Financial leverage
24$1,028.72$2,460,0002391.32
30$1,074.08$37,592.801955.16
40$1,539.44$38,486.00974.38
50$2,355.92$35,338.80382.02
60$2,992.64$14,963.20100.25

Financial leverage by year for women

AgeAnnual premiumTotal potential benefit to age 65Financial leverage
24$1,825.60$2,460,0001347.50
30$1,906.24$2,100,0001101.65
40$2,467.92$1,500,000607.80
50$3,144.40$900,000286.22
60$3,686.48$300,00081.38

Still not sure where to start? Reach out to a Policygenius disability insurance agent for free to learn more.