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:
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.
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.
If you are able to recover from your disability and return to work, chances are your practice won’t be as busy as it was when you left. It can take time to rebuild a steady stream of patients. That’s why you should search for a policy with the most liberal definition of residual disability possible. This will allow you to continue receiving some benefits while you get yourself back to your pre-disability income.
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.
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.