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Disability Insurance for Architects: What You Need to Know in 2021

Why architects, engineers, and planners need disability insurance, how much (or how little) it costs to get a personalized policy, and where you can find affordable coverage online.

Architects conceive everything from a couple’s dream house to a 40-story hotel to an 80,000-seat sports stadium. Their days can be filled with planning meetings, construction site visits, or hours in front of a computer screen. There are often tight deadlines, project delays, and multiple design drafts.

Architecture requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though many go on to earn a master’s degree. They are required to complete an internship before taking a registration examination. Once they pass the exam, they can apply for licensure.

To advance in their career, architects must stay on top of design technology as well as building trends, such as best practices for environmental sustainability.

Some architects supplement their incomes by doing home inspections between projects.

That’s a lot to invest in a fulfilling architecture career, which is why those working in the field should have disability insurance.

Why do architects need disability insurance?

If you're a typical architect, you:

  • Make a median salary of about $79,000 in 2017. The states that pay architects the highest mean salary are New York ($100,760), Massachusetts ($100,430), Texas ($98,330), California ($97,440), and Georgia ($97,040).
  • Earn about $138,000 if you’re among the best-paid 25 percent of architects. On the opposite end, you earn about $48,000 if you’re among the lowest-paid 25 percent made $60,550.
  • Make an average of around $45,000 to $51,000 during the first five years of your career.
  • Accumulated about $26,000 in student loan debt to earn your bachelor’s degree. If you attended graduate school, you may have accumulated another $70,000 or so in student loans.
  • Are not in a career expected to grow much in the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the architect field will grow 4 percent by 2026, with 5,500 jobs added by that time.

As an architect, you need disability insurance to protect your ability to earn a living. Without adequate coverage, a number of injuries and illnesses can limit your ability to work in your profession.

  • According to the Social Security Administration, about 25 percent of 20-year-olds will become disabled at some point before reaching age 67.
  • A number of accidents and illnesses can prevent you from or limit your ability to work as an architect.
  • Depending on how much schooling you went through, you may thousands of dollars of student loan debt. This debt will not be forgiven if you can't work due to a disability.
  • Even if you can do other types of work with a disability, the odds are you will earn a fraction of what you make in your current profession.
  • Even if you don’t make a lot of money today, that might change in several years. It’s better to buy disability insurance at a young age.
  • If you have to step away from the field due to disability, it may be difficult to get another position in the field due to the low projected demand.
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How much does disability insurance cost for architects?

The cost of disability insurance for architects depends on the following personal factors and policy decisions:

  • Your age and health. The younger and healthier you are, the less you will pay.
  • Your income. Disability insurance is designed to replace a percentage of your income if an injury or illness limits your ability to work as a nurse.
  • Where you live.
  • The benefits and features of your disability insurance policy.

Here are some estimated monthly disability insurance premiums for architects:

  • A 28-year-old male architect making $47,000 in Kansas City could get a $1,000 monthly benefit for about $11 a month, a $2,000 monthly benefit for $19, or a $2,890 monthly benefit for $26.
  • A 37-year-old female architect making $65,000 in Portland, Oregon could get a $1,200 monthly benefit for about $29 a month, a $2,300 benefit for $52 a month, or a $3,470 benefit for $77 a month.
  • A 45-year-old male architect who owns his own firm making $85,000 in Hartford, Connecticut would pay about $38 a month for a $1,500 monthly benefit, $73 for a $3,000 monthly benefit, and $106 for a $4,430 monthly benefit.
  • A 52-year-old female architect who owns her own firm making $110,000 in Houston would pay about $81 a month for a $1,800 monthly benefit, $158 for a $3,600 monthly benefit, and $235 for a $5,390 monthly benefit.

These quotes assume a five-year benefit period and a 90-day waiting period. The information displayed above features estimates that are being used solely for illustrative purposes. Individuals who fit the profiles described above may be subject to rates that are higher or lower than the rates shown here. To see your monthly disability insurance rates, get a personalized quote with Breeze.

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What occupation class is an architect?

Disability insurance carriers group jobs into specific occupational classes. These classes take into account the hazards of the job and the difficulty in returning to work following a disability. Another factor is the claim experience associated with certain professions.

Insurance companies generally classify occupations on a scale of 1 to 5 or 6. Typically, the higher the numerical value of the classification the lower the rate available from the insurance company.

Architects are typically rated in the highest occupational class by disability insurers. This means companies consider the job low-risk from an underwriting standpoint and architects will pay less for coverage than those in other occupations.


Jack Wolstenholm is the head of content at Breeze.

The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

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