Insurance for Dental Students: What Should You Have Prior to Graduation?

Posted by on Nov 23, 2022 9:00:41 AM

While you’re finishing dental school, you likely have a number of questions about the next steps in your career, including some related to your insurance coverage. 

You’ll have a number of insurance coverages to consider, including policies that are legally required and others that may not be mandatory, but can still help protect you and your assets. 


Which Insurance Policies Should You Obtain First? 

Here are some insurance policies that you may want to secure prior to dental school graduation: 

1. Malpractice Insurance

Malpractice insurance, also called professional liability insurance, protects you against claims of malpractice, negligence, and similar concerns. Requirements regarding this coverage vary from state to state, so it’s important to know the laws and regulations of the state you will be working in so you are properly insured.

Dental malpractice insurance may come with a number of options. For example, you may have the ability to choose a claims-made policy or an occurrence policy: 

  • Claims-made policies provide potential coverage for you over a designated period for any malpractice claims that are brought against you. 
  • Occurrence policies have the potential to cover incidents that happen during your coverage period, even if the claim is made after your coverage ends. 

In addition, premiums for malpractice insurance coverage can vary based on a number of factors, including your work location, age, risk management courses taken, procedures that you will be performing, and the type of practice you will be joining. Many companies even offer discounts to those entering practice for the first time. 

2. Disability Income Insurance

Disability income insurance allows you to protect your ability to earn a living in the event of an injury or illness. While it might seem early in your career to consider these issues, being prepared ahead of time can prevent a future loss of income.

It’s essential to work with an experienced professional who can help you find the policy that’s right for you today, while allowing for scalability in the future. 

There are a number of factors that can influence your disability income insurance premium, including your age, income, current health, and the policy options you choose. Some options you may have include: 

  • The waiting period before you can receive benefits. Similar to a deductible, this is a period of time that you must be disabled before any benefits are payable. A 90 day elimination period is common for a personal disability policy but shorter or longer elimination periods may be available depending on your insurance provider. 
  • Your coverage period. Benefit periods may be for a fixed amount of time, but it’s more common for them to end when the policyholder reaches a certain age. Three of the most common ages for benefit duration are 65, 67, and 70. 
  • Any additional riders. These are clauses you may have the ability to attach to your policy that allow you to customize your disability income insurance to your specific needs. 

3. Life Insurance

Life insurance may be considered by a dental student for various reasons, including: protection for your dependents in the case of your passing, you are considering seeking financing to start a practice, or you simply wish to protect your insurability. 

There are often two different kinds of life insurance policies that are offered — term and permanent. The kind you choose can also determine the cost of your policy and premium. 

Some differences between the two include: 

  • Term life insurance covers you for a certain number of years — typically 10, 15, 20, or 30 — at the same premium. Should you choose to obtain another policy after your existing policy expires, keep in mind that your new premiums will be based on your current age and lifestyle and health status. In addition, many term life policies allow you to convert to permanent insurance in the future without regard to any health changes, however you will want to discuss this possibility with your insurance provider before purchasing a policy. 
  • Permanent life insurance offers a similar protection, with the difference being that it is not limited to a fixed period of time. Permanent life insurance does offer some additional  benefits, which may include a cash value that you may be able to access in the future. Permanent life insurance policies have higher premiums than term policies. 


For a recent graduate, term life insurance is often the best choice as it offers higher coverage levels for a relatively low premium. Generally speaking, if you are older or have any major, current health concerns, you are more likely to see higher premiums. 


How To Choose the Best Policies for You

Due to the vast number of options in malpractice, disability, and life insurance policies, it’s best to work with an insurance professional who is experienced not only with the questions and issues you may have, but with the dental industry as well. 

An insurance professional can help you understand and explore the most appropriate insurance fits for you based on your needs and concerns. 


Resources While Getting Started in Your Dental Career 

Aside from insurance coverage, there are a number of questions you likely have while you’re in the process of finishing dental school and beginning your career.

Our comprehensive post-dental school guide provides you with insight on: 

  • Decisions you may need to make, including starting your own practice or joining an already established one. 
  • Key concepts concerning financial and career success.
  • Additional insurance options you may need to consider
  • Next steps you can take to ensure you have a strong start to your career in dentistry. 

Access our Post-Dental School Survival Guide eBook today to get in-depth answers to questions about your upcoming dental career. 

About Treloar & Heisel 

Treloar & Heisel, an EPIC Company, is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service. 

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