Insurance for Dentists: What Coverage Do Dentists Need?

Posted by Amy Carbone on Aug 10, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Personal and professional insurance may be one of the most important purchases you make early on in your career. In fact, some coverage may be mandatory for you to start work as a dentist. 

Here are some of the basics and highlights you’ll need to know about insurance for dentists if you’re a practicing dentist or a soon-to-be practicing dentist:

1. Disability Income Insurance

Who Needs It?

Most dentists should consider disability income insurance. While it isn’t mandatory by law, disability insurance may provide a measure of protection that could be valuable in the event that you’re unable to work because of injury or illness.

What Is It?

This coverage may provide protection in case you are too ill to work or are injured and unable to practice dentistry. It won’t completely replace lost income but it will go a long way in offsetting your inability to work by replacing a portion of your former salary. 

This differs from workers’ compensation coverage in that you do not have to be injured or become ill due to anything related to your job in order to qualify for compensation. With disability insurance, you can continue earning income even in the face of debilitating injury. 

2. Professional Liability Insurance

Who Needs It?

Any dentist who wants to begin or continue their career.

What Is It?

Professional liability insurance, which is also called malpractice insurance, covers the costs associated with a malpractice claim. There are two primary forms of this coverage: occurrence policies and claims-made policies. 

This is important coverage because no matter your skill level or attention to detail, accidents can happen and you need protection from the legal ramifications if someone decides to pursue litigation. 

3. Entity Malpractice Coverage

Who Needs It?

If you are a dentist who has just started your own practice, entity malpractice coverage could be a policy that protects you, your employees, and your business. 

What Is It?

This coverage protects your business entity if you face a malpractice claim naming either the owner or an employee. In such an event, your practice could be named as a party, which is when this insurance comes into play. This additional coverage extends your protection beyond your personal professional liability coverage.

4. Term Life Insurance

Who Needs It?

Every dentist may use term life insurance coverage to provide financial protection to their families. 

What Is It?

This insurance is intended to pay benefits to beneficiaries should you pass away while the policy is active. Term life insurance policy timeframes generally range from 10 to 30 years. It is often more cost effective than permanent policies (listed below), but the policies do expire.

5. Permanent Life Insurance

Who Needs It?

Every dentist may find use for permanent life insurance

What Is It?

This is similar to term life insurance but differs in that this is a permanent plan that provides your family with a payout if you pass away. Permanent life insurance also may accumulate  cash value over time allowing you to withdraw or borrow upon your insurance policy. 

6. Business Loan Protection Insurance

Who Needs It?

If you have financed your practice or plan to buy into a practice, this type of insurance may be useful coverage.

What Is It?

Business loan protection insurance can continue your business loan payments if you become incapacitated due to injury or illness. This can become invaluable if you have a great amount of debt just starting your career. Imagine facing an illness or injury early on in your dental career. 

Could you maintain your debt payments associated with your practice? If not, consider speaking with an agent about business loan protection coverage.

7. Life Insurance for Practice Loans

Who Needs It?

If you have secured financing to buy into a practice or start your own, life insurance for practice loans may be beneficial for you.

What Is It?

If you die unexpectedly, this insurance coverage could pay the remaining balance of your business loan debt. This means your family won’t be burdened with that debt on top of dealing with your unexpected death. 

While you don’t want to leave your family prematurely and most certainly aren’t “expecting” to do so, life is full of uncertainty and you want to take steps to help provide for your family in the event you pass away.

8. Business Overhead Insurance

Who Needs It?

If you own your own practice, you may want to consider business overhead insurance.

What Is It?

Business overhead insurance does just what you would imagine, it covers your practice’s utility and other bill payments if you are unable to work due to injury or illness. This could be useful coverage for you if you are a new practice owner. This helps you to stay afloat in terms of your practice’s bills and utilities even if you cannot practice dentistry for a span of time due to injury or illness.

9. Business Owner’s Protection

Who Needs It?

You may want to consider business owner’s protection if you own your own practice.

What Is It?

This coverage protects your practice from various types of property damage, including compensation for lost business income, equipment breakdowns and more. Let’s face it, equipment isn’t cheap and you don’t want to lose expensive equipment you still owe on with no means of replacing it. 

Business owner’s protection may provide you a measure of protection not only against equipment damage but for a variety of other property damage scenarios as well.

10. Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Who Needs It?

If you own your own business, employment practices liability insurance may be helpful coverage as your practice grows. 

What Is It?

This coverage protects you against lawsuits related to employment issues, such as wrongful termination, sexual harassment and age discrimination, etc. Even if you treat all your employees fair and aim to be the best employer possible, some people may still find fault. 

In addition, the situation might not even involve you, but if you don’t have this insurance coverage, any negative employee related issue could impact your practice if your practice is the target of such a claim.

11. Data Breach Insurance

Who Needs It?

Data breach insurance can be helpful for any dentist who owns a practice and uses digital storage devices to keep patient records.

What Is It?

Data breach insurance covers some costs associated with theft, data loss and provides coverage for public relation issues, credit monitoring, legal fees and more. With an increase of technology-based data storage, breaches are common concerns for many practices. (2) Even if you do everything you can to protect your patient’s personal information, data breaches can and do happen, making this type of insurance important.

12. ERISA Bonds

Who Needs It?

You may be required to have ERISA bonds if you own your own practice and have certain types of employee benefit plans.

What Is It?

This is a special kind of bond that protects employee benefit plans from losses caused by dishonesty or fraud.

13. Life Insurance for Buy-Sell Agreements

Who Needs It?

If you are a shareholder in a practice or in a partnership, consider this insurance.

What Is It?

Life insurance for buy-sell agreements funds a buy-sell agreement in the event of a business partner’s death. This allows you to purchase the owner’s share of the practice from their heirs.

14. Disability Buy-Sell Insurance

Who Needs It?

If you are a shareholder in a practice or are in a partnership, disability buy-sell insurance may be advantageous. 

What Is It?

Disability buy-sell insurance provides assistance to buy and sell an incapacitated partner’s share of your business. This provides the option to get out from under the shared responsibility regarding your practice without placing the burden solely on your practice.

How Do You Pick The Coverages You Need?

While we hope you never have to utilize your insurance due to sickness and injury, we are committed to providing you with appropriate coverage to help you endure not only those incidents but many other occurrences.

Contact us at Treloar & Heisel to learn more about the professional and personal insurance policies you need to protect yourself against everything life can throw at you. Let us help advise you about coverage and applicable policies. 

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Sources:

1.) https://physicianlitigationstress.org/the-litigation-experience/dentists-impact-malpractice-suits/

2.) https://www.databreaches.net/dental-medical-counsel-how-data-breaches-affect-dental-practices/

Treloar & Heisel and Treloar & Heisel Property and Casualty are divisions of Treloar & Heisel, Inc.

Insurance products are offered through Treloar & Heisel, Inc.

Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer tax or legal advice.

This information is provided for general informational purposes only. These definitions are not binding contract definitions. You should review your policy to determine the binding contract definitions. Please review with a licensed insurance professional.

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Topics: Dental Practice Business Tips