April 25, 2017

Dental Insurance: What You Need to Know to Make Sure You Got it Covered

Getting the right dental insurance coverage ensures having the coverage you need, when you need it most.

considerations when starting a dental practice

When you graduate from dental school and start working as a dentist, like any other medical professional, you will need some insurance. Typically, before you even own your own practice, you will need malpractice insurance as well as some disability coverage. 

In this article I want to highlight some of the main things to look for when signing up for disability insurance and why it matters.

Dental Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is that insurance that covers your expenses when you are not able to provide services as a dentist. There is definitely a distinction between good insurance and bad insurance. Here are three things though that stand out as things you absolutely cannot live without.

  • Make sure it is a guaranteed policy – The company can never cancel the policy or change the rates, or the contract language. Without these provisions, the insured is essentially exposing themselves to the possibility that they will be taken advantage of by the insurance company 10, 20 to 30 years away. The insurance company would be allowed to place the burden of changes in the insurance industry on the shoulders of the dentist.
  • Make sure disability is defined properly – Every contract must define what disability actually means so that it is not left to a panel of judges or anyone’s subjective opinion. Specifically, you want to avoid having your contract define disability in the extreme. For example, you don’t want it to imply that you need to be in a wheelchair before you get coverage.
  • Make sure your coverage reflects your income. – You don’t want to sign up for a plan that doesn’t cover you enough to cover your current living expenses and lifestyle needs. When you set up your plan, make sure you are taking into consideration the amount you earn, and get the coverage that is aligned with that earning level.

Who needs what and when?

When you are coming out of dental school, you will need, at a minimum:

  • Malpractice
  • Disability

When you buy a dental practice, you will need:

  • Two more types of disability including business overhead and the business loan disability
  • Life Insurance – Most lenders are going to require you to have life insurance to get a loan
  • Workers Compensation Insurance

What is at Stake?

I think most dentists understand the need for insurance. It’s fairly obvious. What isn’t obvious are what can go bad if you don’t get this right.

For example, there is something called a waiting period built into each contract. In many cases you will have a 90 day wait or a 180 day wait. What that means is that you have to wait 90 or 180 days to go by before your benefits kick in. 

Many insurance companies will require that your wait period be in consecutive days. That means, if you are out for 10 days and go back to work, the clock starts at the beginning. With this type of agreement, it could take forever to get the appropriate number of days consecutively. 

The ideal contract will eliminate the need to have the waiting period in consecutive days. 

I have a client who has carpal tunnel syndrome and needs cortisone shots periodically. He can’t be out of work consecutively and because I set up his agreements properly, he doesn’t have to be. He get’s the coverage he needs when he needs it and doesn’t have to worry about the interval of his inabilty to work.


This article is meant to give you things to consider as well as to highlight the importance of working with someone who understands the insurance needs of a dentist. Insurance agreements can be unpredictable if you don’t know what to look for. This unpredictability could lead to you not being covered when you think you are and when you need it the most.

More About Tyler DeStefano, LUTCF 

dental practice insuranceVP, Business Development




Tyler joined Living Legacy Financial Group in 2007 as a Financial Representative. He has been recognized for his outstanding achievements as a Leaders Conference Qualifier and Centurian Club Qualifier. In addition, he qualified for Guardian’s Next Generation Inner Circle, which recognizes Guardian Financial Representatives in the first four years of business who have demonstrated early success and an early commitment to helping their clients preserve their standard of living should they become injured or too sick to work in their profession. Through consistent efforts, reputation for outstanding services, client referrals, and his use of The Living Balance Sheet®, he has built a solid client base and a network of professional alliances.

Tyler’s client base comprised primarily of individuals in the medical/dental field, including Dentists, Oral Surgeons, Orthodontists and Dental School Residents. Much of his time is spent at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and Boston University Dental School. In addition, he works closely with the Connecticut State Dental Association and it’s members.

Tyler is involved in the recruitment, selection, and training of new Living Legacy Financial Group associates, while continuing to develop and maintain his personal practice. He is committed to advancing his career, and recently earned the LUTCF ( Life Underwriter Training Council) designation through the American College.

Tyler is a graduate of St. John’s Preparatory School and St. Michael’s College. He is an active member of the Danvers Kiwanis Club, and is involved in the St. John’s Prep Alumni Association. Tyler resides in Danvers with his wife, Rachael, son Harrison, and their dog, Petey. Financial Representative of Guardian.

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