By Dan Miller, WCI Contributor

High-income earners and people with significant net worth can benefit from a variety of different insurance products. When you have a high income and/or high net worth, protecting your income and assets should be one of your top priorities. Disability insurance for physicians is something that most people in the medical field will want to understand, especially if they're considering using a policy to cover expenses during maternity leave. Some policies may exclude maternity coverage, so this is important to think about if you're planning to expand your family. 

Here's what to know.

 

Understanding Disability Insurance: Coverage for Maternity Leave

There are several types of disability insurance that you'll want to be aware of, especially if you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. The two main types of disability insurance are short-term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance.  Long-term disability insurance (LTD) can protect you against a condition that prevents you from working for a longer period of time. It is common for long-term disability insurance to have an elimination period (often 90 days) before your benefits begin. 

On the other hand, short-term disability insurance (STD) can help protect you in case of a disability that lasts a short amount of time (usually anywhere from 3-24 months). There are a variety of things that might be covered under your short-term disability policy, including short-term disability insurance for maternity leave.

More information here:

How to Prepare for Maternity and How It Could Affect Your Family’s Finances

12 Financial Considerations of Pregnancy

 

Maternity Leave Benefits: What Disability Insurance Covers

You might be wondering if you can use short-term disability insurance for maternity leave or if you can buy disability insurance for maternity leave. As with most types of insurance, the exact details will vary based on the specific policy that you have. It is common for disability insurance policies to have certain exclusions and limitations, so if you are considering short-term disability insurance for maternity leave if you're already pregnant, check your policy details to make sure that you will be covered.

While the details will vary based on your policy, a normal pregnancy will generally be excluded under most disability insurance plans. However, if your pregnancy has complications that prevent you from working, you may be eligible for a claim through your short-term disability insurance plan for maternity leave. In most cases, you will need to have your obstetrician certify that you are not able to work.

 

Choosing the Right Disability Insurance Plan

disability insurance maternity leave

Disability insurance typically covers you if you were to become disabled for an extended period of time and you couldn't work within your specialty. In that case, your disability insurance policy would generally provide a portion of your income. This could help you pay your bills and provide for your family. There are several good reasons to have disability insurance, especially if you have a high income or if you have dependents that rely on your income.

If you are considering private short-term disability insurance for maternity leave, you'll want to make sure that you're aware of any exclusions and how they might affect you. As we said before, in most cases, a normal or typical pregnancy will not be covered under most short-term disability policies. However, if your pregnancy has complications that prevent you from working, it may be covered. Check the terms of your policy or consult with your insurance agent or broker to make sure you have chosen the right disability insurance plan.

More information here:

Applying for Disability Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions

17 Physician Disability Insurance Mistakes to Avoid

 

Making the Most of Disability Insurance

If you are considering using disability insurance for maternity leave, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind. One is how much disability insurance you should have. Another factor that could come into play is if you are considering signing up for short-term disability insurance for maternity leave while already pregnant. 

It's best to talk with your insurance agent to see how signing up for short-term disability insurance while already pregnant might work. In most cases, you are unlikely to “sneak” your pregnancy past your insurance company—it's very difficult to hide a pregnancy, after all, and if you try to make a claim for short-term disability insurance while pregnant, the insurance company will easily determine when the pregnancy started and whether that affects your claim.

 

The Bottom Line

There are many good reasons to have disability insurance, especially if you are a medical professional. The intersection of disability insurance and maternity leave is one that will vary depending on the exact details of the disability insurance policy that you have chosen. Make sure that you read your policy and/or talk with your insurance agent to make sure you understand how your specific policy works.

As a general rule, most typical pregnancies will not be covered under either short-term or long-term disability policies. However, if you have complications that arise from your pregnancy and your doctor has said that you cannot or should not work, that may be covered under your short-term disability policy. A typical pregnancy and delivery will not be covered under long-term disability insurance either, since it will likely not meet the elimination period for LTD benefits. However, again, complications due to pregnancy may also be covered under a long-term disability policy if they prevent you from working for an extended period of time.

 

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