Disability insurance can help replace your income if you’re hurt or sick and can’t work, making it essential financial protection for dentists, who’ve invested years of training in their careers.
You need enough disability insurance to make sure you’re well protected if you can’t work, even if it’s for years (or decades). That’s why we recommend that dentists get a long-term, own-occupation disability insurance policy.
Why dentists need disability insurance
Disability insurance helps replace your income if you can’t work because of an injury or illness. It’s especially important protection for dentists, who’ve invested lots of time, money, and education into their careers.
Say you’re injured in a car accident and need to take a full year off of working to recover. Disability insurance will pay out so you can keep up with your daily expenses without having to drain your savings or risk your other assets. Disability insurance covers things like chronic pain, anxiety and depression, the loss of a limb, complications from pregnancy, cancer, and more.
What is the best type of disability insurance for dentists?
The best type of disability insurance for dentists is a long-term disability policy with own-occupation coverage. An own-occupation policy allows you to collect benefits if you can’t work as a dentist but you can work in another job.
Let’s say that you injure your hand and can’t work as a dentist anymore, but you can get a job teaching dental students. If you have an own-occupation policy, you’ll still be able to get benefits on top of your teaching income.
Long-term disability insurance is important because it can pay out for years or even decades — even all the way to retirement if you can never work again. Short-term disability insurance, on the other hand, only provides coverage for up to a year.
What about the disability insurance you get from work?
You may get group disability coverage as an employment benefit through the office or practice where you work. Unlike personal disability insurance, a group policy is tied to your job and any future benefits can be taxed if you paid for the policy with pre-tax dollars. Plus you have no control over how long coverage lasts — group disability insurance tends to be short term.
While a group insurance policy is better than nothing, don't rely on it by itself. The best way to make sure you’re well-protected is to get an individual long-term policy in addition to your group disability coverage.
Disability riders for dentists
There are a few important disability insurance riders, or extra coverage options, that may be important for dentists.
Cost of living adjustment (COLA): Automatically increases your monthly benefit every year to keep up with inflation.
Future increase rider: Lets you purchase more coverage later on when your income increases.
Non-cancelable/guaranteed premiums: Keeps your rates the same as long as you continue to make your payments on time.
Partial disability benefit: Pays out if you lose income because of an injury or illness, even if you’re not fully disabled.
Presumptive disability benefit: Waives your policy’s waiting period if you lose the use of your hands, feet, or speech.
Retirement protection: Contributes toward your retirement funds like you did while you worked.
Student loan rider: Continues making your dental school payments while you’re disabled.
Cost of disability insurance for dentists
Disability insurance typically costs 1% to 3% of your annual income. Depending on the type of dentist you are and how much you make in a given year, you can expect to pay between $84 to $173 a month (or more).
Disability insurance costs for dentists also depend on things like age, health, hobbies, and income. Specialized dentists, like orthodontists, often have higher incomes, which means more expensive disability insurance premiums.
Disability insurance cost by medical speciality
Monthly cost of long-term disability insurance for dentists
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
$173 or higher
$173 or higher
Dentists, all other specialists
$146 to $438
$134 to $401
$84 to $252
Are graded premiums a good idea for dentists?
If you’re still in dental school or early in your dental career, you might want to consider graded premiums instead of level premiums. Graded premiums start low and get more expensive as you get older, so you can get more coverage without having to wait to make more money.
Graded premiums may cost more than level premiums in the long run, but you may earn enough later on that the difference won’t matter much.
Best disability insurance companies for dentists
The best disability insurance companies for dentists should have experience covering high earners. They should also offer riders that dentists need, like cost of living adjustments, future increase options, and retirement protection.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can use Policygenius to get disability insurance quotes and see what your best options are.
What we like …
Includes a survivor benefit for your beneficiary.
Includes a vocational training benefit.
Offers lifetime continuous benefits for total disabilities, even after the policy expires.
Offers coverage for disabilities related to mental health, drugs, and alcohol.
Offers a future insurability rider that's good until your 60th birthday.
Specializes in coverage of people with very high-risk jobs and severe medical history.
Offers a lump-sum payment of $62,400 in addition to regular benefits if you're presumptively disabled.
Includes a family care benefit if you have to take care of a sick loved one.
How to buy disability insurance for dentists
You can find disability insurance that meets your needs as a dentist by following these steps: