Disability insurance for nurses

As a nurse, you care for those who need it most everyday. What would happen to your finances if the tables suddenly turned?
Read Time
4 mins

You may spend up to 12 hours or more on your feet, which takes a toll on your body. You care for the physical and emotional needs of patients and their loved ones, many of whom treat you like a servant instead of a trained medical professional. You handle a wide range of responsibilities that make every day anything but routine.

And yet with all that, you wouldn’t do anything else. You’re among the most fulfilled and secure professions in the health care industry.

You are a nurse. Whether you work in a clinic, a hospital, or in the classroom, people depend on you. And at home, you and your dependents rely on the income you earn from this noble profession.

That’s why you need disability insurance.

If you’re a typical nurse, you:

  • Start your career earning about $55,000 a year.
  • Earn a median annual salary of around $70,000.
  • Make between 9 percent and 10 percent more a year than you did five years ago and will see your earnings grow another 10 percent in the next five years.
  • Have between two and six years of post-secondary education and had to take out student loans to finance some of that training.
  • Graduated nursing school with between $40,000 to $55,000 in student loan debt.
  • Are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of registered nurses will grow 15 percent between 2016 and 2026.
  • Can work in various positions, giving you flexibility and freedom throughout your career.

Nurses need disability insurance because:

  • 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 or limit your ability to help patients.
  • 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 the nursing 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.
  • You may have a significant amount of income to replace if you can’t work, depending on where you live, your education level and what type of nursing you practice. Registered nurses in California can earn as much as $150,000 a year, while the national salary range for RNs, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, midwives and nursing instructors can top out well above $100,000.

Nurses can expect to pay the following estimated monthly premium for disability insurance:

  • A 30-year-old female nurse making $60,000 in Central Iowa could get a $1,200 monthly benefit for about $27 a month, a $2,300 monthly benefit for $49, or a $3,400 monthly benefit for $71.
  • A 37-year-old male nurse making $70,000 in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area would pay the same monthly premiums for the same monthly benefits as above.
  • A 44-year-old female nurse making $85,000 in Tampa, Florida would pay about $62 a month for a $1,500 monthly benefit, $120 for a $3,000 monthly benefit, and $175 for a $4,430 monthly benefit.
  • A 52-year-old female nurse making $125,000 in Sacramento, California would pay about $131 a month for a $2,000 monthly benefit, $259 for a $4,000 monthly benefit, and $389 for a $6,040 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 long term disability insurance rates, get a personalized quote below.

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Your monthly disability insurance premium will depend on the following factors:

  • 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.
  • The type of nursing you practice and the type of facility you work in.

Disability insurance companies 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. Nurses are rated lower than physicians because they are considered to have more strenuous duties.

Occupational Ratings for nurses typically fall into the following categories:

  • Insurers with five classes typically classify nurses as a 2.
  • Those with six classes put nurses in their 3 rating class.
  • CNAs and some home health providers may be rated lower than other types of nurses.
  • Some insurers also rate LPNs lower than RNs.
  • Some insurers will rate nurses higher (meaning less risky) who work in doctors offices and clinics than those who work in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities or in home health care.

As a nurse, you rarely receive the accolades that doctors get. But you don’t need them.

You do, however, need to consider investing in disability insurance.


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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