Dental Essentials are specialist insurance brokers for Dental professionals. We currently arrange insurance for over 1,500 dentists across Australia. We’ve been insuring dentists for almost two decades which has allowed us to build a comprehensive knowledge of the dental profession and its unique requirements.
The viability of a dental practice is very much dependent on the health and well-being of the dentists who practice there, so it makes sense to ensure that they have the most suitable insurance to protect them. Our insurance brokers provide dentists with access to a range of life insurance products suitable for the dental profession, but importantly they will be customised to fit your specific needs and requirements.
Dental Essentials arranges the full range of life insurance products; some of the most common are:
Income Protection for dentists is essential to protect the dentist’s income if they are unable to practice due to an accident or illness. Dentistry is highly specialised so it is important that Income Protection cover for dentists reflects the nature of their work and ‘incapacity’ is defined as the inability to work in the specific field of Dentistry.
A nominal amount of Income Protection is sometimes included by default within superannuation funds. Whilst this can be convenient, it can also be problematic due to the standardised, restricted clauses included for all members of the superannuation fund – as opposed to specific clauses for those who work in dentistry. Some areas that you need to pay careful consideration to include:
- Most superannuation-included income protection policies provide an Indemnity basis of insurance – meaning your payout could be reduced if your income is lower at the time of claiming.
- Restriction on taking out a second policy. Some superannuation policies will not pay out if you hold a second policy with the aim of topping up your sum insured from the nominal superannuation amount.
- You can only access payments if all of your sick leave has been used up.
- Payments may only be based on your base salary and not include superannuation, commission and overtime.
- Premiums can’t be set to ‘level’ meaning your super fund will be charged increasing premiums as you get older.
Like most insurance, Income Protection for dentist’s has many adjustable elements. Your experience when you have a claim is dependent on you getting these options correct when you set your policy up – you need to ensure you have the most suitable cover for your particular circumstance. Your requirements will change over time, meaning you can’t afford to set and forget – regular reviews with a life insurance specialist are important.
Another important consideration for dentists Income Protection insurance is to ensure that cover is provided for occupationally-acquired blood-borne virus. If you do contract a blood-borne virus, you will likely be forced to stop practicing even if you feel like you can practice, so it is important that the policy will pay out if this occurs. In addition to normal benefits, some policies will also pay you a lump sum payment in the event you are infected with a blood-borne virus.
Business Expenses insurance is a policy that is relevant for practice owners who would have ongoing practice expenses such as rent, staffing, lease costs and the like. Without this insurance, if you are unable to practice you would need to fund these expenses from your income protection payout, denying you of personal income, or possibly from other cash reserves or borrowings.
This area of insurance is not well understood and is often neglected which may result in financial stress for a practice owner who finds they are unable to practice.
Life insurance for dentists is usually taken out to provide a lump sum payment to clear debt (business or personal) and to provide an income to support your family in the event of your death. Another use for life cover can be for dentists practicing within a partnership, so that in the event of the death of one partner, the surviving partner can buy out the other partner’s share in the practice. This is often referred to as ‘Buy & Sell’ insurance and allows the surviving partner to continue practicing with minimal financial disruption.
Often Total and Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD) is added on to an existing life insurance policy. This insurance will provide dentists with an agreed lump sum payment in the very unfortunate event that you suffer a permanent disability. The events that trigger this insurance are all serious and will be life-changing. However unlikely, these events do happen to people every day and having TPD insurance will allow you to adjust to a different life much more easily. So make sure you have the best dental life insurance cover for your personal situation.
Trauma Insurance for dentists is an essential consideration that will provide you with a lump sum payment in the event that you suffer a critical illness. We all think these events only happen to other people, but the reality is 1 in 5 people suffer from cancer or a heart attack before reaching retirement age. Trauma Insurance will provide you with a lump sum payment for your recovery, or however you see fit. This will then provide you with crucial time to recover without having to worry about any financial stress. Without this insurance you will need to divert energy to maintaining your practice or personal finances when really all focus should be on regaining your health.
Like everyone else I have absolutely hated paying the premium for my income protection and business expenses insurance, I had always thought I never use this why on earth am I paying so much money. On the 17th September 2014 my life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I would like to share my experience with you because having this insurance has truly been a life changer.
I was chatting to the husband of a patient of mine, during treatment, who I knew had recently had breast cancer, he told me her story and she was someone close to me in age, we had children who were close in age and I generally related to her, so I asked my receptionist to make an appointment for a Breastscreen on that day. Little did I know this conversation may well have saved my life! I was diagnosed with breast cancer following a diagnostic mammogram through Breastscreen, I had no symptoms and could not feel the 6cm cancer that I have. So for any woman over the age of 40 Breastscreen is free and not just for women over the age of 50. If you are a male please encourage every woman over 40 you know to have a Breastscreen, and for every woman over 40 please don’t put it off another day!
I was so shocked, appointments were so frequent, there was so much to cope with emotionally. Dentistry is a career where you have to deal with people all day. I was in no frame of mind to treat people; I had no time because appointments ruled my life, I needed to attend whenever an appointment was offered to me. For many years I had never considered myself, work was always my number 1 priority; it was finally time to put myself and my own health as number 1 priority. My insurance cover has allowed me to do this.
My income protection and business expense insurance has given me peace of mind and had a significant impact on my financial position. I don’t know how I would have coped without it. Essentially I was able to walk away from my practice on the day of diagnosis and take care of myself. I know there are many people who have to work through chemotherapy and who it is good to have that routine. I am certainly not one of those people, I am still coming to terms with the fact that I am seriously “sick”, in my working career of 25 years I had about 5 sick days!
I was able to take time to find a locum to help me out and still maintain my staffing as it was. I employ 5 non producing staff and could not imagine having had to let them all go. My business expense insurance means I am able to continue to pay them all and maintain a working staff for my return, or to be able to sell as a working concern if that is what I choose to do.
So the take home messages from my experience:
1. Every woman over the age of 40 is eligible for a free Breastscreen mammogram and as practitioners I would encourage you all to encourage your patients and friends to do this!
2. Never be without income protection and business expense insurance. In our family I was the primary income earner and we would have been making some serious lifestyle changes without this insurance. At the completion of my treatment, approximately 12 months after diagnosis my completed payout will be in the vicinity of $500,000, no one would ever be self-insured for that.
3. Consider the peace of mind that this sort of cover gives you to breathe at the worst time of your life- it is invaluable when everything around you is crashing in!
4. Get to know your insurance agent I would suggest on the anniversary of your premium don’t just pay the bill, have a conversation with them and make sure your policy meets your needs. Check they are the person who you want watching your back at the worst time of your life.
I cannot recommend Chris Earle highly enough, he wasn’t my agent when I was diagnosed but it quickly became apparent that the representative I had wasn’t giving me the service I needed or deserved. Chris has been outstanding and in many ways just as important as my medical team, making sure I don’t have to focus on income during this time.
My husband has recently swapped his insurance cover knowing the peace of mind he will have after Chris’s wonderful care of me.
5. Income protection/business expense insurance allows you to make choices, I could not recommend it highly enough to every practitioner I know!
6. Make the most of every day!
Michelle Thow (BDS)