As a new dentist or a dental practice looking to buy insurance, you need to be aware of all the currently available types of insurance for dentists. Understanding the different types of coverage, along with how they will protect you from personal, professional, and financial disasters, is essential.
What Are Some of the Risks Faced by Dentists?
As a public-serving company, you face many risks on a daily basis. And, as the owner of that business, you need to make sure you buy insurance to give you the right amount of protection to alleviate those risks. From protection that covers the expensive state-of-the-art equipment your dentists need to do their jobs, the safeguarding of the electronic patient records, to the right set of workers insurance; not to mention any malpractice suits or legal action that could be brought about, there are numerous risks you need to protect your dental practice from.
While the levels of coverage for your individual practice could vary from one provider to the next, here is a quick summary of dentist insurance coverage types to consider.
#1 Equipment Breakdown Coverage
The work you do and the patients you treat can only usually occur when you have the right set of tools and equipment in place. From your x-ray machines to dental vacuum systems, imaging, and more, if something stops working, then having dental equipment breakdown coverage can give you the reassurance you need that your practice and patients will not be adversely affected. In some cases, you might also be able to get help to replace any lost income that results from the broken-down machinery.
#2 General Liability Coverage for Dentists
For almost any business, general liability coverage is essential. It will protect your practice in the case of any accidents or unexpected mishaps. For example, if somebody was to take a tumble and fall on your premises, this would provide coverage for their medical expenses and costs. In addition to this, if your dental practice is found to be liable for the loss or damage of a person’s property, then having a general liability policy for your dentists will give you help towards covering the costs of any damages or associated legal expenses.
#3 Business Property Coverage for Dentists
If you own the building your dental practice operates from within, buying business property coverage can help you to pay to either replace or repair if it is damaged or even destroyed any perils as outlined in your policy. Dental property coverage will usually also include the contents of your office, for instance, your inventory, equipment, and company furnishings. The specific events and contents that are covered will vary from one provider to the next, so before you buy dentist insurance coverage, make sure you double-check this with your provider.
#4 Data Compromise Coverage for Dental Practices
With the growing concerns around data, more specifically, any data theft of personally identifiable information, buying insurance for your dental practice to provide coverage against any stolen or compromised data could be prudent. Aside from having a robust data security plan in place, this coverage can give you a reimbursement for incurred costs that are connected with having to notify your patients, providing ongoing credit monitoring services, damaged data recovery, and more.
#5 Employment Practices Liability Coverage for Dentists
A dentist’s office will usually employ a multitude of personnel. Regardless of the tenure, seniority, or contractual liabilities you have for your employees, having this type of coverage in place can serve to protect you in the case of any legal action from former or current workers.
#6 Business Interruption Coverage
This is another type of insurance for dentists that can help you to recover lost income should your practice need to close unexpectedly because of damage caused by a storm or other unexpected event. This will usually only pay out an amount that is based on your previous profit records. However, it is worth considering as you look for the best types of dentist insurance to buy for your practice.
#7 Keyman Insurance for Dentists
Keyman protection for dentists can help a dental practice recover from any financial losses in the event of an extended incapacity or the death of a key member of the company. It can also contribute to a smoother business continuity process by giving the dental practice adequate monetary support in order to make arrangements should something happen to a key person in your dental practice. If you seek investment or take out a loan for your business, then this type of coverage might be demanded as part of the terms of the loan.
While it will not cover your practice for any losses that are incurred, it will provide the dentist practice with a lump sum of money as set out in the policy terms.
#8 Dental Locum Insurance
Buying locum insurance for dentists can give your practice the financial support it needs to continue its work should a member of your team be deemed as unable to work because of illness or injury. There is usually a pre-set amount that will be paid to the practice for each week of a person’s absence.
#9 Dental Malpractice Insurance
Lawsuit awards in dental malpractice cases can be sizeable. As a practicing dentist or dental practice, you may find yourself involved in the litigation process at one point or another. Even for the cases, you win, your legal fees can be crippling should you not have the right type of dentist malpractice insurance in place.
Who needs dental malpractice coverage?
Dental Malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that protects the majority of dental professionals. Oral surgeons are considered to be more likely to have a lawsuit filed against them due to the nature of their work and regular use of anesthesia, but general dental practitioners and orthodontists are also at risk too.
Dental Malpractice Coverage Types
There are two different types of malpractice coverage for dentists, each insurance company will offer different levels, but these are the two options you have if you need to buy dental malpractice insurance.
Of the two types of dental malpractice insurance, this is usually the cheapest. It is based on the point in time that a claim is made against you and will usually come with a retroactive date that is between 1-5 years. This means that if one of your patients was to take legal action two years after a procedure had taken place, and you only had 1-year claims made policy, then you would not be covered in this case. Additionally, once your policy ends, a claims-made policy will no longer provide you with any coverage for past procedures.
If you are nearing retirement and you want to safeguard yourself from any potential lawsuits, then an additional policy, called tail-coverage, could be ideal for this situation.
An occurrence policy is the other type of dental malpractice coverage available. You can expect to pay more for this type of insurance for your dental practice, but you get a more comprehensive volume of coverage in return for the additional premium. This type of policy provides coverage for any claims that are brought about for work that is done while the policy is in effect. So, if your policy expires and a claim is made for the period you held occurrence coverage, then you’ll be covered.
If you are approaching retirement, then occurrence coverage will give you peace of mind that you get full coverage according to the terms of your dentist insurance policy at the point in time the work was carried out.
What Does Dental Malpractice Insurance Cover?
If you buy malpractice insurance for your dental practice, you are typically covered for any dental malpractice settlements or judgments. Aside from this, your legal fees and court costs are covered, and this also includes consultation expenses in case you are asked or subpoenaed to attend court as a dental expert or witness. Although you will need to check the individual terms with your dental insurance provider, most dental malpractice insurance companies will also provide you with a lawyer too.
As with all types of dental insurance, there are different levels of coverage offered, and the specifics of each policy will depend greatly on the individual insurance company.
When you deal with a professional dentist insurance broker, you can discuss all of the types of insurance for dentists to buy and discuss your individual needs and demands with them directly. They will often have a greater perspective of what the whole dentist insurance market is offering and can help you secure the best levels of coverage for the most competitive price.