Throughout your career as a dentist, you'll experience growth, development, and financial risks. Whether you are a new
dentist concerned about paying your dental school loans, a mid-career dentist who wants to safeguard your earning power,
or a late-career dentist thinking about leaving a financial legacy, you have options to help protect yourself, your family,
and your practice from financial risks.
BEGINNING A DENTAL CAREER:
WHEN YOU'RE YOUNG AND HEALTHY, YOU'RE MORE LIKELY TO QUALIFY FOR PREFERRED RATES.
Starting a Family and Paying Off Loans
If you're a new dentist just out of dental school, chances are you're relatively young and generally healthy.
The thought of dying or becoming disabled might not be top of mind. Hopefully you have many years of good health
and a prosperous dental practice in your future. But the truth is, the beginning of your dental career is an ideal
time to buy life and disability insurance. When you're young and healthy, you're more likely to qualify for preferred
rates, which will significantly reduce your premiums over the life of your policy. If you wait until you are older
to buy insurance, it's possible you will have suffered an accident or developed a medical condition that could
disqualify you for preferred rates or even from obtaining coverage.
LIFE INSURANCE CAN HELP PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES FROM DEBT, INCLUDING A MORTGAGE OR STUDENT LOANS.
Why You Should Consider Life Insurance
Anyone who has a spouse or children should have life insurance, but even if you are single or don't have
children, life insurance is an important tool in a risk management plan. This is especially true for
dentists, who often have a significant level of both student loan and dental practice debt, both of which
need to be paid off in the event of a dentist's death. Life insurance can help protect your loved ones from
debt, including a mortgage, credit card payments, or student loans, and pay for funeral costs. It can also
help provide for your family in case of your untimely death by helping them maintain their standard of living.
Additionally, when you start your practice, life insurance may be used as collateral on a new business loan.
Lenders may require proof of life insurance so that your business loan would be repaid in case you were to
You've invested heavily in your education and building your dental career. Life insurance helps you protect
those investments—and your family's future.
IT'S ESPECIALLY CRUCIAL IF YOU'RE RECENTLY OUT OF SCHOOL AND CARRYING HEAVY STUDENT LOAN DEBT.
Why You Should Consider Disability Insurance
Clinical practice demands a lot out of you, and that includes your physical efforts: You probably work
on your feet, and you depend on your hands. That's why disability insurance is especially important for
dentists. What if you developed a chronic illness or repetitive-motion injury, or suffered a car accident
or sports injury that resulted in nerve damage in your hands, arthritis in your wrists, or severe back
pain? These conditions would make it difficult for you to conduct the delicate hands-on work that you do
every day when seeing patients.
The fact is, no matter how young and healthy you are, a disability can happen to anyone at any time.
According to the Council for Disability Awareness, more than 1 out of 4 of today's 20-year-olds can
expect to miss at least a year of work because of a disabling condition before reaching retirement
age,1 and the odds are no better for dentists. According to the Social Security Administration,
insured workers have a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled.2
Disability insurance is important at every stage of a dental career, and it's especially crucial if
you're recently out of school and carrying heavy student loan debt. Educate yourself on riders, premiums,
and discounts, and talk to your colleagues. Finally, remember that not all disability insurance policies
are the same: Some may be less generous than others or have restrictions in place. Even if you currently
have disability coverage through an employer, check the details. Is it comprehensive enough to truly meet
your needs? You might need to buy additional disability insurance on your own.
CONSIDER LOOKING FOR DISABILITY INSURANCE THAT OFFERS COVERAGE WITH A TRUE “OWN OCCUPATION” DEFINITION OF DISABILITY.
The "Own Occupation" Difference
As a dentist, you have invested in years of specialized training to perform a specific profession. If you
became disabled and could not keep practicing, you likely wouldn't want to have to work in a different field.
Consider looking for disability insurance that offers coverage with a true "own occupation" definition of
disability. This means you would receive full benefits if you cannot continue practicing your specialized
area of dentistry, even if you are still able to work in a different area of dental practice or choose to
work in a new profession. The right disability insurance can help secure a comfortable standard of living
whether you're able to practice in another dental field or choose to start over in a new career.
YOUR LIFE AND DISABILITY INSURANCE NEEDS MIGHT HAVE EXPANDED BUT YOUR COVERAGE MAY NOT HAVE KEPT UP.
Establishing a Practice and Enjoying Life
The midpoint of your career is an exciting stage of growth. Your income may have increased, or maybe
you've started a practice or purchased an existing practice. Perhaps you're deciding whether to expand,
offer a wider array of services, or refurbish your offices. With any of those choices, there's a lot to
consider both for your current practice and for the future.
Being at the helm of a thriving dental career can be exciting and profitable, but this stage of life
also brings new financial risks. If you've taken on more debt with a growing family, a divorce, the
purchase of a house, or more investment in your dental practice, you should reassess your coverage.
If your income has grown significantly, you might need to adjust your insurance coverage to help protect
your higher standard of living. Your life and disability insurance needs might have expanded, but your
coverage may not have kept up.
As you enter your mid-career phase, re-evaluate your overall insurance needs. If your family has
grown or if your spouse has decided to leave a career to raise the kids and your family relies on
your dental practice for its income, you may need additional life insurance. Some life insurance
policies give you insurance coverage along with a tax-deferred cash savings component. Depending on
your age, income, and overall financial situation, a universal life insurance plan can be a good
investment option that may help provide financial protection in the event of your untimely death.
THIS TYPE OF DISABILITY INSURANCE HELP COVER VARIOUS OFFICE EXPENSES FOR YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE.
Office Overhead Expense Insurance Is More Important than Ever
If you own your own practice and have a few employees, you might want to consider office overhead
insurance. This type of disability insurance helps cover various office expenses for your dental
practice, such as payroll, your lease, and practice and student loan payments. It may even cover
the cost of hiring a replacement dentist to keep your practice running in the event that you are
SUPPLEMENTAL MEDICAL INSURANCE PLANS CAN HELP PAY FOR YOUR OUT-OF-POCKET HEALTH CARE COSTS.
Why You Should Consider Supplemental Medical Insurance
With the rising cost of health care and the high deductibles that go with it, you might find
that your primary health insurance coverage is not sufficient to help manage all the costs of
a serious illness or catastrophic injury. Consider boosting your health insurance coverage
with a supplemental medical insurance plan, such as a policy that pays a cash benefit directly
to you if you are hospitalized or diagnosed with a severe illness.
Supplemental medical insurance plans can help pay for your out-of-pocket health care costs. These
insurance plans can also provide reassurance should accidents happen. For example, the right
supplemental medical plan can help cover extra costs for children's hospitalizations and ER visits.
Even if you have good health insurance, there still might be some gaps in coverage or high out-of-pocket
costs, especially for a catastrophic illness or injury such as cancer, stroke, or spinal injury.
Supplemental medical coverage can give you extra cash benefits to help cover your out-of-pocket costs
and fill in the gaps that are not paid for by your primary health insurance.
NOW IS AN IDEAL TIME TO ASSESS YOUR OVERALL FINANCIAL SITUATION.
If you are a dentist in the later stages of your career, you might be looking to the future and
thinking about transitioning toward retirement or re-evaluating your overall financial goals,
depending on the needs of your family and practice. As an established dentist, now is an ideal
time to assess your overall financial situation—including savings, debt, and how much support
you give to family/dependents—and determine what kind of insurance (and how much) is needed at
this stage of your life and career.
LIFE INSURANCE ALSO CAN BE HELPFUL WHEN CREATING BUY-SELL AGREEMENTS.
Find the Right Coverage Level for Your Life Stage
There are several different options for your existing life insurance. For example, if your
children have grown up and moved out, you might want to consider reducing your coverage. However,
if you are supporting your kids through college or graduate school, you might actually need to
increase your life insurance coverage or extend the term of your coverage to help protect your
family's financial future until your kids are fully independent. Finally, life insurance also
can be helpful when creating buy-sell agreements to sell a dental practice.
EVEN AFTER YOU BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE, HEALTH INSURANCE COSTA RE LIKELY TO BE A CAUSE FOR CONCERN.
Why Established Dentists May Need Extended Medical Coverage
Even after you become eligible for Medicare, health insurance costs are likely to be a cause for concern.
As of 2020, a healthy retiring couple at age 65 would need an estimated $295,000 of savings to cover the
cost of health care during retirement.3
Supplemental medical insurance coverage can help protect your hard-earned savings throughout your retirement.
Instead of dipping into your retirement savings or other personal funds, a supplemental medical plan can help
offset the costs of hospitalization, ER visits, and costs associated with extended care such as rehabilitation
after a stroke, home health care, skilled nursing care, and more.
WITH THE RIGHT INSURANCE PACKAGE YOU CAN ENJOY KNOWING YOU ARE COVERED AT ALL STAGES OF YOUR LIFE AS A DENTIST.
Help Protect Your Future at All Stages of Life
Dentistry is a caring profession. You likely got into this profession because you wanted to help people feel
better, maintain good oral health, and keep smiling through the years. But while you're taking care of patients
and taking care of your practice and your family, don't forget to take care of your financial future. With
the right insurance package—adjusted to suit your needs as your dental career grows—you can enjoy knowing you
are covered at all stages of your life as a dentist.
Are you ready to assess your insurance needs? Our Insurance Plan Specialists work exclusively with ADA members
and their families and are available to talk about your goals and put together a package of insurance that will
help protect your financial future.