Many people ask about the average short-term disability insurance cost per month when first thinking about buying a policy. Many variables affect what your actual premium rate might be.

You can get an online quote for precise estimates once you determine the policy flavor that is right for you.

Average monthly cost figures provide an object lesson that answers three critical questions that directly affect the majority of site visitors.

  • Can I buy a policy online as an individual?
  • Does it cover my normal pregnancy?
  • What must my employer spend to offer an option?

Average Monthly Cost of Short-Term Disability for Individuals

The average monthly short-term disability insurance cost for individuals tells us much about where to purchase the right type of plan. Many site visitors begin looking for private policies because they do not have an option at work, or they missed their open enrollment.

You can choose between an individual plan with better maternity benefits, and one more conveniently purchased online.

Online Purchase

Calculating the short-term disability cost per month for individuals purchased online requires a different thought process. Two sets of factors make the math much different. Carriers selling directly have to combat adverse selection, and there is no single ideal feature configuration.

Adverse Selection

Adverse selection occurs when too many people planning to file a claim purchase coverage. Therefore, individual policies sold directly online do not cover normal childbirth, as 90% of women planning to conceive will use the benefit. They do cover bed rest, postpartum disorders, accidents, and illnesses that are not preexisting conditions. A much smaller percentage plans to file a claim.

Feature Variation

Feature variation makes it almost impossible to calculate an average monthly premium cost for individual policies bought directly online. Each applicant chooses between three different features, each of which affects the monthly rate.

  1. Benefit amount covered up to 2/3 of the applicant’s gross monthly income
  2. Elimination period choices include 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90 days
  3. Payment length choices include 3, 6, 12, and 24 months

Your age at the time of application and tobacco usage, affect the monthly rate.

Get a short-term disability quote online for a precise estimate of monthly premiums for these limited benefit plans. Before requesting a precise estimate, consider these typical figures for common policy configurations with a 30-day elimination period, and a 12-month payment length.


AgeMonthly BenefitCost per Month
18 – 35$1,000$32
36 – 45$2,000$70
46 – 55$3,000$123
56 – 65$4,000$190


AgeMonthly BenefitCost per Month
18 – 35$1,000$26
36 – 45$2,000$56
46 – 55$3,000$97
56 – 65$4,000$156

Normal Childbirth

Consider the most common cost per month for an individual short-term disability policy covering normal childbirth. Compare what women typically spend to the expected benefit. This explains why this policy type is both very popular and difficult to obtain.

Learn more about pregnancy disability coverage here.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the median monthly income for a woman is $3,000 per month. We can use this figure to derive a prototypical illustration by using an ideal configuration for women planning to conceive.

  • Monthly benefit amount – $2,000
  • Elimination period – 1 week
  • Benefit period – 1 year
  • Monthly premium – $110

Utilize a separate set of statistics from the Centers for Disease Control to apply the projected benefits to the likelihood of pregnancy-related outcomes.

  • 90% of women planning a pregnancy conceive in one year
  • 68% vaginal deliveries
  • 32% C-section deliveries
  • 25% of expectant women require bed rest
  • 10% experience postpartum complications
Claim ReasonCommon AmountExpected Benefit
Vaginal birth$2,325$1,423
Bed Rest$2,000$450

Do the math. The typical woman planning to conceive expects to garner a $2,990 benefit in exchange for a $110 monthly premium payment. At a minimum, she must make nine payments in advance. The math is heavily stacked in favor of the applicant.

This is why you must buy policies covering childbirth at work. As you just saw, carriers lose money on a majority of policies they write. In addition, the same women may file claims for accident and illnesses unrelated to pregnancy.

Average Monthly Cost of Short-Term Disability for Employers

The average monthly premium cost of short-term disability insurance for employers has a very wide range. The reason is threefold. Apply the figures noted above to calculate what your organization might spend.

  1. Some employers choose to pay all the premiums themselves by offering group plans.
  2. Other employers ask the individual employees to shoulder the burden when they offer voluntary plans.
  3. Others fall in the middle when they pay the premiums for a base plan and give the employees the opportunity to buy up.

Voluntary Plans

The average voluntary short-term disability cost per month for employers is very close to zero. Any company with more than three benefits eligible personnel can offer a voluntary option. Voluntary options are worker paid. The direct enterprise expense is zero!

Three different indirect employer costs are very modest.

  • Allow carrier agents to conduct yearly group meeting to educate the group about the options.
  • Allow carrier agents to counsel each person individually, complete applications, and capture payroll elections.
  • The company must support a payroll deduction. This means holding money from paychecks and sending the money withheld to the carrier once per month.

Group Plans

The average group short-term disability cost per month for employers depends on upon the number of personnel, their income levels, industry, and choice of feature options.

  1. Employer groups with more lives are less expensive to cover. Carriers prefer to pool risks and larger groups allow greater diversity.
  2. Income levels within employer groups also can have a wide dispersion. Groups with higher income may provide a relatively higher monthly benefit amount, which of course is more expensive also.
  3. Employer industry also determines the risk rating for group master contracts. Those in high-risk industries pay more. High-risk industries often require intense physical labor and dangerous occupations. Those with high turnover rates may pay higher premiums also, as projected persistence is an important pricing variable.
  4. The employer choice of feature options also affects pricing.
    1. Plans with shorter elimination periods cost more
    2. Longer elimination periods are less expensive
    3. Policies with longer payment durations charge more
    4. Those with shorter payment durations are less pricey