My Colleague Pays Less

John Martens, CLU |

One question we sometimes hear after providing a disability comparison summary for a client is “Why does my colleague/friend/classmate pay less for their coverage?” Oftentimes the answer is that they picked up coverage earlier (more on this in a minute), but there are several factors that can affect the premium you pay for Disability Insurance.

We understand wanting to feel like you’re getting the best deal.  Keep in mind, however, that comparing policies based on price does not necessarily mean that the coverage is better.  Policies can differ greatly and there are many factors that can affect premiums. We are more than happy to answer questions or review an illustration from a colleague and help show you why the differences you may be seeing exist.


To help you better understand what is considered in the pricing of disability insurance, here are some of the main factors that can affect the cost of coverage:

  1. The definition of disability within the policy.

    • This determines if and when a person qualifies for benefit – less protection often comes at a lower premium. For more information on why the definition matters and the different types of coverage, check out our blog post here.
  2. Riders

    • Riders are added features within your policy like cost of living adjustments (COLA), residual benefits, etc. Read more about riders on our definitions page. Any riders that you see on your comparison summary from us are included in the cost.
  3. Age at which you picked up coverage

    • Put simply, the younger you are when you pick up coverage, the cheaper it is going to be. This is one of the main reasons we encourage residents and fellows to acquire DI as early as possible and while still in training. Learn more about this in our blog post here.
  4. State you lived in when you picked up coverage

    • Different states can have different rates and policies when it comes to disability insurance as well as different rules when it comes to the ability to lock in a rate if you move states. If you are comparing to someone who picked up coverage while living in another state, that could be a factor in the price difference.
  5. Specialty

    • Different specialties can have different premiums for disability insurance due to duties and risks associated with that field.
  6. Gender

    • There can be a difference in premiums for different genders.
  7. Ability to increase coverage in the future

    • The ease and ability to increase or change coverage can vary from one policy to another. Please feel free to ask one of our specialists more about this.
  8. Group vs. Private coverage


Each of the factors listed above can play a role in the cost of disability insurance for each individual. But one way to ensure that you are getting the right policy for you at the best available premium is to pick up coverage as early as possible. Even considering the elements above, we often find that the main reason a colleague of a client pays less for DI is because they picked up coverage earlier.

Check out another blog post here about why we recommend residents and fellows pick up disability insurance while still in training. But to summarize:

  1. There can be in-training discounts available from all 6 of the major disability carriers
  2. The younger you are when you pick up coverage, the lower the cost
  3. The application and underwriting process is often shorter and/or less restrictive while still in training


If you still have any questions about the cost of DI, the differences in coverage between policies, or when to pick up coverage, one of our insurance specialists is happy to help.

If you haven’t already, you can request a free, no-obligation comparison of your disability options below. Twin Oak Advisors is independent of any one carrier and can help shop the various options to get the right policy for you, as we have for thousands of residents and fellows across the country.



4728893IR/DOFU 5-2022