Life insurance for doctors

Matthew Lang

Matthew Lang

Updated 13/12/2022
Fact Checked

We’ve created this guide to explain all the key policy options and terms to help doctors find a life insurance policy that meets their needs now and into the future.

Life insurance for doctors

These careers are demanding great salaries right now.

Compare life insurance for doctors

As a doctor, you’re dedicated to helping others when they’re sick or injured - but you still need to think about yourself.

If the unexpected occurs, you’ll want to have life insurance cover that provides financial security for you and your loved ones.

Because of your profession's unique risks, choosing the ideal policy can be trickier than it seems. 

Compare Club’s specialists can help you navigate the life cover complexities specific to your profession, so you can find good value cover that meets your needs, and protects your future wellbeing.

Key Points

  • Due to the nature of your work, doctors face unique liabilities, like needlestick injuries - and there are policies that cover this.

  • You can take advantage of income protection cover if you’re unable to work in the same capacity after becoming sick or injured.

  • Because of your high earning potential throughout your medical career, you’re able to take out an income protection policy with Guaranteed Future Insurability. 

  • Guaranteed Future Insurability means that your insured monthly benefit amount can increase by 15% to a maximum of $2,500, when your salary increases (without providing evidence of health or insurability).

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What life insurance products are most important for doctors?

Working in the medical profession increases the likelihood of getting infected with blood-borne diseases.

Needlestick insurance:

This can occur by accidentally coming into contact with a needle’s point (known as a sharps injury) or accidentally inhaling infected blood or bone dust during a surgery (splash injury).

Once infected, you may find your income significantly impacted, since you may not be allowed to perform certain types of surgeries or consults. Patients may no longer elect to be treated by you once any specific condition becomes known

Needlestick injury insurance is an optional benefit attached to most life insurance covers, like Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) cover, Trauma cover, and Income Protection policies. This cover provides a lump sum payment if you become infected with a blood-borne disease (HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C) through your regular work.

Some income protection policies may offer needlestick insurance at no extra cost for medical professionals, or provide a monthly benefit payment instead of a lump sum payout.

If you’re a medical professional who knows that contracting a blood-borne disease is a considerable risk for you, it’s worth seeking out life cover that includes this benefit.

Own Occupation TPD insurance

Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover is a type of life insurance that pays you a lump sum benefit if you suffer an illness or injury that permanently prevents you from being able to work. 

This benefit can cover ‘Any Occupation’ or ‘Own Occupation’.

Any Occupation: This means that you’re no longer able to work in any occupation suited to your education, training, and experience.

Own Occupation: This means that you may receive a payout if your disability means you can’t perform the specific role you used to, but can still work in another field.

For example:

Let’s say you're a heart surgeon who suffers a disability which means you can no longer perform the precise procedures you used to. 

With Own Occupation TPD cover, you may receive a lump sum payment, and still have the freedom to work in a less intensive role, such as employment as a general practitioner.

Own Occupation TPD insurance costs more than Any Occupation TPD cover, and can not be fully funded through your superannuation.

Guaranteed Future Insurability

Working as a doctor means that your income can increase significantly year after year when your medical practice grows, or you obtain more skills and qualifications. 

Because of this, you’ll want to make sure the monthly benefit you receive from your income protection insurance is adequate if you have to stop working.

A Guaranteed Future Insurability benefit (also known as a future purchase option) allows you to increase your monthly benefit (usually up to 10 or 15%) each year to keep this in line with your increasing salary. This can be done with minimal paperwork and no medical underwriting.

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Stepped Premiums vs Level Premiums

With any life insurance policy, you can choose between stepped premiums and level premiums

Stepped premiums start low and increase the longer you hold the policy.

Level premiums stay at the same level for the entire time you hold the policy. This premium locks in your age until 65 or 70, which means that you’ll pay less for a level premium policy over time, than you would for a stepped premium policy.

But which is better for doctors? 

Since most doctors start their careers in earnest in their early 30s (with considerable earning potential), an income protection policy taken at this stage will likely be held for most of their careers.

With this in mind, opting for level premiums can be the most cost-effective option for doctors who find a suitable income protection policy.

Agreed value vs indemnity

Before March 31, 2020, most income protection policies gave you two options; agreed value, or indemnity. 

In exchange for a higher premium, an agreed value policy allows you and your insurer to agree on the level of income that would be paid out to you if you could no longer work.

In contrast, an indemnity policy means the insurer pays out a percentage (up to 70%) of what you earned in the year prior to making the claim, for as long as your policy specifies.

Agreed value was beneficial for self-employed doctors who could lock in an income amount and enjoy peace of mind if they didn’t earn as much as they expected. 

However, life cover providers no longer offer this policy. If you already have an agreed value policy with your insurer, this remains unaffected. However, you can not get this policy feature if you switch funds.

Business expenses cover

Most doctors aspire to own their own local practice at some point. 

If you open your own practice, you may be the only doctor on staff, and if something happens to you, your business won’t be able to make any money to cover expenses like staff wages.

You can take out business expense cover as a type of income protection for your practice. 

This covers fixed business expenses (up to the insured amount) for 12 months while you cannot work.

This cover allows you to continue operating your practice and pay the wages of staff like nurses, receptionists, and the locum (temporary doctor) you hire to take your place, so your patient list needn’t suffer while you regain your health.

How to find the ideal level of income protection for doctors

Working as a doctor is a career like no other, but this means finding the best life insurance cover can be challenging.

The experts at Compare Club are here to help you find the right level of income protection cover to suit your unique needs as a medical professional.

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Matthew Lang is the general manager of life insurance at Compare Club. Matthew leads a team of dedicated professionals who are passionate about helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their life insurance needs. Whether it's finding the right coverage for your specific circumstances, comparing policies, or optimizing your existing policy, Matthew and his team are here to provide expert guidance and support.

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Matthew Lang

General Manager of Life Insurance