Limit Your Liability: Dental Practice Insurance

Aspen Dental

Date: March 9, 2018

Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, all dentists need adequate insurance coverage.

As a practice owner, you will need to protect yourself, your business, your employees, your family, and even your patients. If you’re starting your associateship, be sure to ask your employer about the practice’s coverages too. The second you open your doors, you are opening yourself and your practice up to risk. Accidents happen and, despite your best efforts, you won’t make everyone happy. It pays to prepare for the worst and run your practice the best you can. Data indicate that it is likely you will be involved in a litigious process at least once in your career. Here’s your “at a glance” overview:

 

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects you from claims of injury or loss in your office unrelated to professional services. For example, your practice could face a bodily injury lawsuit if a patient slips and falls on a wet floor on the premises.

 

Malpractice Insurance

This covers claims of bodily and/or personal injury related to professional services. Patients may claim alleged malpractice in treatment or failure to treat, as well as errors or omissions while you are providing treatment.

 

Personal Coverage

This form includes life, disability, homeowners/ renters, and auto insurance. Life insurance protects your family by replacing lost income should you die. Term life insurance is a smart, cost-efficient first choice that does not include an investment add-on. As your savings increases, the less life insurance you are likely to need. Statistically, it is more likely that you will become disabled than die while you are working. Disability insurance maintains your salary during recovery from an illness or injury that prevents you from working. The importance of homeowners/auto insurance as it relates to your practice is in the liability coverage.

 

Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance

Personal umbrella liability insurance is purchased with your homeowner’s and auto policies as a supplement. Legal numbers can skyrocket in the event of an accident when the injured learns that you are a dentist. An umbrella can protect your personal and business interests in these cases. Approximately $400 a year can buy you up to $2,000,000 of protection.

 

Overhead Insurance

Covers office expenses, such as rent, payroll, utilities, insurance premiums, loan payments (student and practice), membership dues and advertising, if you suffer a disabling illness or injury.

 

Facility Insurance

Also called Business Property Coverage, this protects the physical office, including its contents, in case of fire, tornado, vandalism, or other covered event. You may also want to consider Business Interruption Coverage, which replaces business income based on past profit records if you are unable to see patients due to damage.

 

Employee Benefits

Not only does offering Employee Benefits (e.g., health, dental, and life insurance, pension plans, paid vacation) help attract and retain quality employees but it can also help decrease absenteeism. Employees may also accept a lower salary if offered benefits, which can result in savings for the practice.

 

Workers’ Compensation

Pays the cost of treating employee work-related illnesses or injuries, including medical bills and missed wages. Most policies also include Employers’ Liability Coverage, which protects employers from lawsuits involving work-related accidents or illnesses.

 

Data Compromise Coverage

Should your data security ever be breached, Data Compromise Coverage reimburses you for costs associated with notifying your patients, offering credit-monitoring services, recovering damaged data, paying legal fees, and more. In 2015, the average cost per record compromised was $217. The majority (52%) of reported breaches were due to system glitches or human error— not hackers.

 

Always plan for the unexpected—you can’t afford to find out in the middle of a crisis that your insurance doesn’t cover that particular event or that you are underinsured. An independent insurance agent can help you identify the insurance coverages you need and present you with the best protection/cost options. Consult your agent annually or biennially to review your coverage, as your coverage needs will change as your business grows. It pays to be covered!

 

Insurance At A Glance

General liability

Protects you from claims of injury or loss within your office

 

Malpractice

Addresses bodily/personal injury claims resulting from professional services

 

Personal coverage

Includes life, disability, auto, etc.

 

Personal umbrella liability

Pays above and beyond home and auto insurance

 

Overhead

Covers office expenses should you become unable to work

 

Facility

Addresses bodily/personal injury claims resulting from professional services

 

Employee benefits

Useful in attracting and retaining employees

 

Workers’ compensation

Pays employee wages and medical

 

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