BEGINNING A DENTAL CAREER:
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.
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 die
You’ve invested heavily in your education and building your dental career. Life insurance helps
you protect those investments—and your family’s future.
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 claims data from Great-West Financial® on the ADA members insurance plans, dentists 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.
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.