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Best disability insurance for lawyers

Attorneys should have enough disability insurance to replace their incomes in case they’re sick or injured and can no longer practice law.

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Andrew HurstSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertAndrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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Anna SwartzAnna SwartzSenior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance ExpertAnna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

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Long-term disability insurance, which pays out if you’re sick or injured and can’t work, is especially important for attorneys. Since many lawyers are high-earners, or still have law-school debt to pay off, long-term disability insurance is an essential tool for financial protection.

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Why disability insurance matters for attorneys

Disability insurance is important for attorneys because it protects their incomes in the event that they are temporarily or permanently disabled and have to stop practicing law. 

Being a lawyer means you’ve invested years of expensive training in your career, and a long-term disability insurance policy is a way of protecting that investment. 

Long-term disability coverage can pay out for years, or even decades, depending on how long your illness or injury keeps you from practicing law. And you can use your disability insurance payments just like you’d use your regular salary, which means you can put it towards:

  • Law school debt

  • Mortgage payments

  • Childcare expenses

  • Groceries and other necessities

Some types of disability insurance even allow lawyers to hold other jobs while continuing to get disability benefits.

What is long-term disability insurance?

Long-term disability insurance is a type of coverage that can pay out for anywhere from a year or two all the way up to retirement age. Short-term disability insurance, on the other hand, only pays benefits for a few months.

What is the best disability insurance for attorneys?

The best disability insurance for attorneys is a long-term policy with a true own-occupation definition of disability. Own-occupation coverage pays benefits if you can’t continue in your original career, even if you can still work another job.

For example, let’s say that after a stroke you can no longer practice law, even though you can still hold a job outside of the legal profession. An own-occupation policy would replace the income you made as a lawyer and allow you to still earn money from an unrelated job.

A disability insurance policy with an any-occupation definition of disability means you’ll only receive benefits if you can no longer work any job at all.

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Do attorneys need disability insurance if they have group insurance?

Most attorneys should get individual long-term disability insurance or supplemental disability insurance instead of relying on the group insurance their practice or employer provides.

Group disability insurance is usually short-term coverage, which means it only lasts a few months. And any benefits you receive would be taxed if your practice or employer paid for the policy.

Disability insurance riders for attorneys

Disability insurance riders are additions or changes to disability insurance coverage. Here are some disability insurance riders that lawyers should consider:

  • Cost of living adjustment (COLA): Automatically increases your monthly benefit every year to keep up with inflation.

  • Future increase rider: Lets you purchase more coverage later on when your income increases without having to go through another medical exam.

  • Non-cancelable/guaranteed premiums: Guarantees coverage at the same rates as long as you continue to make payments on time.

  • Partial disability benefit: Pays out if you’re not fully disabled, but still lose some income because of an injury or illness.

  • Presumptive disability benefit: Pays benefits without a waiting period if you lose the use of your hands, feet, or speech.

  • Retirement protection: Replaces the retirement contributions you would have made while you worked.

  • Student loan rider: Continues making your law school payments while you’re disabled.

Cost of disability insurance for lawyers

The cost of disability insurance for lawyers depends on their age, health, hobbies, and income. The more money you make as an attorney, the more disability insurance coverage you need, which means higher rates.

Disability insurance generally costs about 1% to 3% of your annual income. The median pay for lawyers is $127,990, which means you can expect to pay between $106 to $320 a year for disability insurance. [1]

Are graded premiums a good idea for lawyers?

If you’re a current law student or an early-career lawyer who’s still paying off law school debt, you may want to consider a disability insurance policy with graded premiums instead of level premiums.

Graded premiums mean you pay lower rates earlier on in the policy, and your disability insurance gets more expensive as you age.

The upside of having graded premiums instead of premiums that stay one price is that you don’t have to go without disability insurance while your pay is low. When your rates get higher later in life, you’ll be able to afford the cost increase.

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Best disability insurance companies for lawyers

The best disability insurance companies for lawyers are companies that have experience covering high earners. These companies are most likely to have useful riders for lawyers (like riders for cost of living adjustments, future increase, and retirement protection).

Some of the best disability insurance companies for lawyers are:

BBB rating

A.M. Best rating

What we like about it …




Includes a survivor benefit for your beneficiary.




Offers lifetime continuous benefits for total disabilities, even after the policy expires.

Massachusetts Mutual



Offers a future insurability rider that's good until your 60th birthday.




Offers a lump-sum payment of $62,400 in addition to regular benefits if you're presumptively disabled.

The Standard



Includes a family care benefit if you have to take time off to care for a sick loved one.

How to get disability insurance for lawyers

Attorneys can find disability insurance that meets their needs by following these seven steps:

  1. Calculate how much coverage you need Pick monthly benefit amounts, how long the policy should pay out, and choose an elimination period (the time between your disability and when you receive your benefits).

  2. Choose riders Helpful riders for lawyers include a cost of living adjustment, option for future increase, and student loan protection.

  3. Compare disability insurance quotes Get long-term disability quotes from multiple companies to find the one with the best rates for your needs as an attorney.

  4. Fill out an application Be ready to share your age, gender, where you live, your job title, and income when you apply for long-term disability insurance.

  5. Complete a phone interview Answer questions from the insurance company about your medical history and lifestyle (like whether you smoke or have any risky hobbies).

  6. Go through underwriting Take a medical exam, verify your income, and get an attending physician's statement (APS) from your doctor.

  7. Sign your policy and get covered After the underwriting process (which takes four to six weeks) receive your policy in the mail. Sign and send it back to the insurance company to start your coverage.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best disability insurance companies for people in law school?

If you’re still in law school, you can still get disability insurance from companies that usually work with people earning high incomes. If you can afford locking in coverage at an early age, you’ll be able to get lower disability insurance rates than if you wait until you’re older.

Should lawyers get more disability insurance?

Lawyers should get more disability insurance than someone who doesn’t earn as much. Since attorneys go through years of specialized schooling before they see high salaries, it’s important to be sure their income would be protected if they could no longer practice law.

Do attorneys need long-term or short-term disability insurance?

While long-term disability insurance is better for protecting lawyers’ incomes in the long run, having short-term disability insurance is certainly better than not having any coverage at all. If you already have short-term disability insurance through your firm or employer, consider adding supplemental coverage and a long-term policy for more protection.


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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of oureditorial standards.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    . "

    Lawyers: Occupational Outlook

    ." Accessed August 25, 2023.


Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.


Anna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

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