You’ve probably heard various references to statistics about the odds of becoming disabled. One that is commonly referenced is from the U.S. Social Security Administration, which found that 1 in 4 twenty year olds will become disabled during their working years.

Let’s assume that’s true. As a physician or dentist, did you purchase a disability insurance policy, or are you considering purchasing one, because you were alarmed that your chance of becoming disabled was 25%? I doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ignore disability statistics. I’ve even got a page on my website that lists various statistics about the chances of getting disabled. Many people love disability statistics, which provide interesting information. My point is that knowing the odds of becoming disabled, while interesting, is probably not the driving force behind the purchase of most disability insurance policies.

In my experience over the past 32 years, physicians and dentists have seldom asked me about or mentioned the odds of becoming disabled.

What is it About?

So why would a physician or dentist buy a disability insurance policy if not because they are concerned about the percentage likelihood of becoming disabled? I believe it’s probably because they understand that if they were to become totally disabled and unable to work, the consequences would be devastating to themselves and their families.

I believe physicians and dentists are more likely motivated to buy a policy by the magnitude of their potential losses, not by the magnitude of the odds of becoming disabled. I don’t think they’re focused on whether or not they will be the unlucky 1 in 4 who becomes disabled or one of the lucky 3 out of 4 who will not. I believe they’re focused on how much they have to lose if they become disabled and that many, if not most, of them would probably buy a policy even if the odds of becoming disabled were much lower.

The stakes are way too high to take a chance and not insure your income, but I don’t think it’s about the odds. I think it’s about the consequences.

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