According to the Council for Disability Awareness, nearly 90 percent of all disabilities are caused by common illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, carpal tunnel, and chronic back pain. This means that disability can strike at any time, and impact anyone in any profession. Once you consider the specialized education and training you went through to become a dentist—not to mention the financial investment—the sudden loss of your ability to practice dentistry, and the income that goes with it, would be nothing short of devastating. That is why disability insurance for dentists is so important.
However, once you’ve made the decision to protect your income with disability insurance, how can you be sure which policy to go with? Here’s a quick guide to help get you started:
Choose A Reputable Insurance Company
A reliable disability insurance provider will have strong financial ratings from independent rating services like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. So, before you jump into a policy, speak with a professional to get some background information on your potential provider to make sure you’re purchasing insurance from a company you can trust.
“Own Occupation” Coverage
An own-occupation policy will cover you if you are unable to work in your specific field. This means that if a condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or a chronic back injury keeps you from being able to perform your duties as a dentist, you will still be eligible to collect benefits even if you are willing and able to work in a different occupation.
If you are a specialist in your field, you can also look for a policy that offers a specialty-specific definition of disability. This takes own occupation coverage one step further by allowing you to still be eligible for benefits if a disability keeps you from being able to perform the skills required by your specific specialty within the field of dentistry.
Residual Disability Coverage
Many dentists are conscious of the fact that an occupation and even a specialty definition of disability is important in a dentists disability insurance policy but they may not be as aware of the nuances of how one’s claim is paid by an insurance company when one is recovering and when there is still a residual disability after a dentist goes back to their practice on a partial basis. To simplify this part of a dentists disability insurance policy: We recommend that you own an occupation disability insurance policy that covers loss of income during recovery versus one that states that residual disability as “time and duties.” A hypothetical situation described below can help demonstrate this. Doctor Jones has dentist insurance and has been receiving disability insurance monthly income because of total disability. Now Dr. Jones has recovered has returned to his practice. The question is: Is there any money coming in when work begins? The answer is that there will probably be none and then will increase steadily. Even though Dr. Jones is treating patients and practicing full time it could be some time, maybe never, before the practice returns to where it was before the disability.
Future Increase Rider
If you are just starting out in your career and want to purchase disability insurance, it is a good idea to ask about adding a future increase rider to your policy. This will allow you to purchase additional disability insurance at specified dates in the future as your income increases, without having to go through medical underwriting again. This rider guarantees future insurability, even if your health changes since purchasing the original policy.
Cost of Living Rider
A cost of living rider automatically increases your benefits to offset increases in the cost of living (some policies tie the increase to the consumer price index (CPI), while others offer a fixed percentage). If you become disabled, your benefits will increase annually to keep up with inflation.
Nobody wants to think about the possibility of suffering an illness or injury. But as a dental professional with highly-specialized skills, your ability to practice your chosen profession is your most valuable asset. Contact us today to protect that asset with disability insurance for dentists.
In my 20+ years as an independent life and disability insurance broker, I have personally assisted thousands of clients with their life and disability insurance needs. Being independent, I represent many highly-rated insurance companies and, because I am not beholden to any one insurance company, my focus is to find the right company and policy for each individual client. I believe that when people shop for insurance (or anything else, for that matter) on the Internet, they are looking for a simple, non-intrusive, non-pressure method of doing so. I strive to treat my prospective clients with the utmost respect and I believe an educated prospect can make the right decision without sales pressure. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience.