Physician disability insurance 2024: Top plans, cost, quotes

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Sunny Yadav updated on 25 January 2024

In Canada, physician disability insurance safeguards doctors' incomes, providing benefits if they cannot work due to health issues. This insurance features own-occupation coverage, customizable options, and additional riders.

Physicians can select a plan tailored to their specific needs, with costs varying by age, health, and coverage details. But what are the best plans? What do they cover? Find out in this guide.

Don't forget to use our free comparator tool to explore the best disability insurance plans in Canada, compare their coverage, and get free personalized quotes right here in no time.

Physician Disability Insurance: Our Top Picks

  1. iA disability insurance for physicians: Starting at just $7 per month
  2. Canada Life disability insurance: Ideal for part-time physicians
  3. Manulife's disability insurance for physicians: Lots of optional riders
  4. RBC physician disability insurance: Multiple series with ease of customization

What is physician disability insurance?

Physician disability insurance, also known as disability income insurance for physicians, is a type of insurance designed to provide financial protection for doctors and other healthcare professionals if they become disabled and are unable to work due to illness or injury. 

  • This insurance is crucial for physicians, as their ability to earn money is often closely tied to their health and ability to practice medicine.
  • If a physician becomes disabled and is unable to work, disability insurance typically provides a portion of their regular income to help cover living expenses, medical bills, and other financial obligations. 

The specific terms and conditions of physician disability insurance can vary depending on the insurance provider and the policy chosen. Explore and compare different plans before choosing one. You can do it right here, using our free comparator below.

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What are the key features of physician disability insurance? 

Your policy will define what constitutes a disability, whether it be an inability to perform the specific duties of the physician's own occupation or any occupation.

Here are some key features of physician disability insurance:

  • Benefit amount: The insurance policy will specify the amount of the benefit, usually a percentage of the physician's pre-disability income.
  • Waiting period: There is usually a waiting period, known as the elimination period before benefits kick in. This can range from a few weeks to several months.
  • Benefit period: The duration for which benefits will be paid. It can be short-term or long-term, depending on the policy.
  • Own-Occupation vs. Any-Occupation Coverage: Some policies provide benefits if you cannot perform the duties of your own medical specialty (own-occupation), while others only pay benefits if you cannot work in any occupation for which you are reasonably suited (any-occupation).
  • Renewability and Premiums: Policies may be either non-cancelable, guaranteed renewable, or conditionally renewable. Non-cancelable policies provide the most protection against changes in premiums or coverage.

Given the specialized nature of physicians' work and the potential long-term financial impact of a disability on their ability to earn income, disability insurance is often considered an essential part of financial planning for healthcare professionals. 

Good to know

What is resident physician disability insurance?

Resident physician disability insurance is a specialized type of disability insurance designed specifically for medical residents and fellows pursuing further training after medical school. It helps protect their income and future earning potential if they become unable to work due to illness or injury.

What is the cost of physician disability insurance?

Determining the average cost of physician disability insurance in Canada is tricky, as it depends on a multitude of factors that influence your premium.

These factors include:

  • Age: Premiums generally increase with age, reflecting the higher risk of disability as you get older.
  • Health: Pre-existing conditions can lead to higher premiums or even policy denial.
  • Income: Your annual income will directly impact the coverage amount you need, thus affecting your premium.
  • Benefit period: Choosing a longer benefit period (e.g., lifetime vs. 5 years) increases the cost.
  • Coverage amount: Higher coverage translates to higher premiums.
  • Own-occupation vs. any-occupation coverage: Own-occupation, offering benefits regardless of your ability to work in another field, is generally more expensive than any occupation, which requires seeking any available work.
  • Riders and additional features: Adding optional riders like cost-of-living adjustments or critical illness coverage further increases the cost.

Also, premiums can vary significantly between different insurance companies. While an exact average isn't possible, here are some examples of estimated monthly premiums based on different age and location combinations in Canada, for a physician earning $350,000 annually:

CityAge 30Age 40Age 50
Toronto, ON
Montreal, QC
Vancouver, BC
Calgary, AB
Physician disability insurance average monthly cost/rates

If you want to get personalized quotes based on your age, location, and other factors, you can use our free comparator below. Just fill in some basic details and get customized disability insurance quotes in minutes.

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What are the best physician disability insurance plans in Canada?

Finding the best disability insurance company for physicians in Canada depends on your specific needs and priorities. However, here are some top contenders that offer excellent coverage with features geared towards medical professionals:

  1. iA Financial Group
  2. Canada Life
  3. Manulife
  4. RBC Insurance

But what makes them a good choice? Let’s explore all these options and find out.

iA disability insurance for physicians: Starting at just $7 per month

iA provides disability and income insurance, critical illness insurance and accident insurance, with notable coverage options including:

Superior Program

  • Ideal for the self-employed, business owners, individuals (including physicians) without employer coverage or those seeking additional protection.
  • Offers a monthly disability benefit of up to $10,000.

Acci-Jet Program

  • A no-medical-exam policy designed for manual laborers, individuals in high-risk occupations or those frequently traveling out of province for work.
  • Provides coverage with a monthly disability benefit of up to $6,000.

ACCI 7 Plus

  • A customizable and cost-effective policy, starting at just $7 per month.
  • Offers up to five coverages related to accidents.
  • Available for applicants in various situations, including those in high-risk occupations, new immigrants, the recently retired and the unemployed.

If you like iA's coverage and want to learn more about it, you can use our comparator. You can even compare it with other disability insurance policies.

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Canada Life disability insurance: Ideal for part-time physicians

Canada Life disability insurance presents two distinct disability insurance plans: The Lifestyle Protection Plan and the Independence Plan.

Lifestyle Protection Plan

  • A generous plan offering a monthly disability benefit of up to $25,000.
  • Available for Class 4A workers (including physicians) up to 55 years old.
  • To qualify, policyholders must work a minimum of 30 hours per week for 39 weeks per year.

Independence Plan

  • Provides up to $3,000 per month in disability benefits.
  • Designed for individuals who may not meet the criteria for the Lifestyle Protection Plan, as it has no occupational level restrictions.
  • Policyholders must work 20 hours or more per week for 35 weeks each year to qualify.

Good to know

Class 4A typically represents occupations with the lowest degree of risk, meaning these jobs are highly specialized and require extensive education and training. Examples might include physicians, dentists, accountants, actuaries and lawyers.

Manulife's disability insurance for physicians: Lots of optional riders

Manulife disability insurance is a popular choice for physicians in Canada. It offers a range of features and benefits specifically tailored to the needs of medical professionals. 

Here's what Manulif’s disability insurance typically provides:

  • Income replacement: Your income is replaced at a pre-determined percentage (typically 60-85%) if you become unable to work due to illness or injury.
  • Own-occupation coverage: This valuable rider ensures you receive benefits even if you can work in another field, protecting your earning potential as a physician.
  • Automatic benefit increases: Your benefit amount automatically increases over time to keep pace with inflation and career progression.
  • Tax-free benefits: Disability benefits received are generally tax-free, providing financial support without increasing your tax burden.
  • Cost-of-living adjustments: This optional rider helps your benefits keep pace with the rising cost of living.
  • Rehabilitation benefits: Manulife offers support for rehabilitation and vocational retraining to help you return to work if possible.
  • Critical illness rider: This provides a lump sum payment if you are diagnosed with a critical illness such as cancer or heart attack.
  • Accidental death and dismemberment rider: This offers financial protection in case of accidental death or dismemberment.

RBC physician disability insurance: Multiple series with ease of customization

RBC Insurance offers a diverse selection of disability insurance plans tailored to cater to various occupations, financial considerations, and individual needs. Here are some of its notable plans:

Simplified Disability

  • Provides a monthly disability benefit of up to $1500 (maximum 75% of previous monthly income).
  • Requires no medical exam, making it accessible for self-employed and part-time workers.
  • Suitable for individuals who may not qualify for traditional disability insurance.
  • Coverage options include injury-only or both injury and illness.

The Bridge Series

  • Offers a monthly disability benefit of up to $25,000 for occupational class 4A workers under the age of 55.
  • An affordable option designed for small business owners, middle-income workers, and farmers.


  • Provides a monthly disability benefit of up to $25,000 for occupational class 4A workers under the age of 55.
  • Ideal for high-income earners such as executives, medical professionals, and lawyers.
  • Activation occurs if injury or illness results in a 20% or more loss of income.

The Professional Series

  • A non-cancellable plan offering a monthly disability benefit of up to $25,000 for occupational class 4A workers under the age of 55.
  • Ideal for high-income earners, with the added benefit of step-up premiums for those starting their careers.
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Sunny Yadav Copywriter

Sunny has over six years of experience curating engaging content spanning across industries. Specifically in finance, his expertise is insurance reviews and lending and investment topics.

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