This article addresses a common question asked by many site visitors: why is disability insurance more expensive for women? The simple answer is that statistics show that women are more likely to file a claim than men, and therefore carriers underwrite their policies accordingly.

There are multiple reasons why women are more likely to file a claim. They are more likely to suffer from autoimmune disorders, depression, and to seek help for these conditions. Also, women are more likely to have a second household income and can afford to stop working to address their condition.

There are several ways that women can find more affordable policies. Rather than buying directly as an individual, group policies provide unisex rates, and also cover the final condition unique to women: normal childbirth.

Disability Insurance is More Expensive for Females

Disability insurance is more expensive for women because they are more likely to file a claim then men. There are multiple reasons this seems to happen. Underwriters have understood for a long time that women tend to utilize healthcare services far more frequently than men. Even when holding for pregnancy-related conditions, females tend to get sicker more often, with longer-lasting conditions, and they are more likely to seek care.

While women live longer, and men pay more for life insurance, the opposite is true for health and disability insurance: women pay more. In the past health insurance policies were also more expensive for women.

Request a short-term disability quote to determine what you might pay for coverage.

Group Policies and Unisex Rates

The best way to overcome the fact that disability insurance is more expensive for women is to purchase group coverage. Most group plans provide unisex rates: both men and women pay the same premium rate.

There are two types of policies that provide important distinctions:

  1. Employer paid disability: unisex premiums are funded by the employer
  2. Employee paid disability: unisex premiums are funded by payroll contributions

There is one amazing premium pricing anomaly. Employee-paid short-term disability for pregnancy has unisex rates and covers normal childbirth. Even though men will never have a baby, and individual disability insurance is more expensive for women, unisex rates make this an ideal purchase for women.

Affordable Care Act

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, gender rating was abolished for health insurance plans. You may be familiar with the phrase repeated by Democrats extolling the virtues of the new law: “being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition”. While women utilize health care more than men and are more expensive to insure, it is now against the law to charge higher premiums based on gender.

Disability policies are more expensive for females for now. The Affordable Care Act prohibits gender rating for health insurance but stops short of prohibiting the practice for life and disability insurance. So for now, life insurance remains more expensive for men and disability insurance remains more expensive for women.

Why Women file more Disability Claims

Statistics show that women file more disability claims, and their claims last longer than for men. While the statistics are plain and undisputed, the reasons behind the trend are more conjecture. The most commonly cited qualifying conditions related to women are autoimmune disorders, depression, assistance seeking, and dual incomes.

Autoimmune Disorders

Women are more likely than men to suffer from autoimmune disorders such as Celiac disease, Diabetes, Graves disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systematic lupus, and others.

As the name suggests, chronic medical conditions last a long time. These conditions can remain in remission, and then flair up causing a long disability. Since women are likely to suffer from these chronic conditions, they are more likely to make more claims that last longer.


It is estimated that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. One in five women will suffer from depression sometime in their lifetime. The leading causes of depression in women include puberty, premenstrual problems, pregnancy, and postpartum disorders.

Not every disability insurance policy will cover depression. Read through your policy language carefully. Even if not covered, depression is often diagnosed along with a medical condition, some of which are noted above. The biologic reasons triggering depression may be covered.

Assistance Seeking

We may all be familiar with the joke about men not seeking directions when lost. Apparently, this trend continues when not behind the wheel of a car. Many job coaches will tell you that women business owners make up most of their clientele – they are more open to direction. Women are also more likely to seek the care of a doctor, who may recommend they stop working.

Dual Incomes

While this trend was more pronounced in the past, women are more likely than men to have a second household income. While both men and women may be the sole and/or primary breadwinners, a greater portion of men are the sole family breadwinners. When a disabling medical event occurs, a sole breadwinner is more likely to continue working.