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Insurance for New Dental School Graduates

Learn more about the types of insurance you should consider based on your post-graduation plans.


Congratulations — you’ve made it through dental school! Now it’s time to start planning for the rest of your life. Regardless of your career path in dentistry, it’s important to consider the protection of disability, life and supplemental medical insurance. Here’s an overview of the types of insurance you should consider based on your post-graduation plans.

The Insurance Everyone Needs to Consider

Disability income protection insurance can help replace your income if you become disabled and can no longer practice your specialized area of dentistry. Look for a true “own occupation” policy, which means that if you are disabled from your specialized area of dental practice, you can still receive benefits even if you are able to work in another area of dentistry, or in another field.

Life insurance is essential, especially if you have a family or plan to start one.A life insurance policy can help make it possible for your family to maintain their standard of living, even if you’re no longer there to provide for them. You don’t need to have a family to think about life insurance because the younger and healthier you are at the time of purchase, the lower your premium will generally be. You can choose between annually renewable term policies where the premiums start lower and increase with age or level term insurance plans, in which the premium remains the same for a fixed period of time. Remember that if you choose a level term insurance plan, your premiums are averaged over the term of your policy, and you will be paying more when you are just starting out than you would with an annually renewable term policy.

To help protect your savings against unexpected healthcare costs, consider Supplemental Medical Insurance, which can help cover the high out-of-pocket costs typically associated with high-deductible health plans and with individual health coverage purchased under the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Insurance Based on Your Career Path
The career path you choose will also influence your insurance needs. Depending on whether you are planning to go into residency, the military, a Dental Service Organization (DSO), a small group practice or an individual practice, the type and amount of coverage you'll need will vary.

Completing additional education
While you may not be bringing in a substantial income, you should still consider financial protection for you and your family. Look for options that are no-cost or low-cost but will still provide enough coverage to meet your needs, especially if you're going to be in a long-term residency.

Buying a practice or funding a buy/sell agreement
You'll likely need a bank loan, or funding for a buy/sell agreement, to start a practice, and to obtain either you’ll need some type of collateral. Many dentists use life insurance. This strategy, known as "collateral assignment of a life insurance policy," enables your lender to collect some or all of your life insurance (depending on how you set it up) if you still owe money on your loan at the time of your death.

Consider Office Overhead Expense Disability Insurance. These policies help protect your practice if you become disabled by covering important business expenses, like employee salaries, rent or mortgage, practice loan or buy/sell agreements.

Working for a DSO or as an employee at a practice
Find out whether your employer provides disability and life insurance. If it does not offer both, you'll need to find your own coverage. Even if your employer does offer disability insurance, does the plan provide you with sufficient coverage, including a true "own occupation" definition of disability? If not, consider obtaining your own coverage. Remember that you typically need to medically qualify for life insurance, and it could become more difficult to obtain new life insurance or qualify for preferred rates later in your life.

Right for your situation
Wherever your career takes you, insurance can help protect what you've worked so hard to build. Look for the coverage that's right for your situation. Reach out to your Insurance Plan Specialist to talk about your career plans and discuss how to customize your insurance portfolio to meet your needs. They can help you determine what type and how much disability and life insurance coverage you'll need. They can also help you consider whether you need Office Overhead Expense Disability Insurance and Supplemental Medical Insurance.

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