Not all insurance is the same
Car insurance varies widely from household to household. It varies by type of car, age of car, age of driver, driver experience, number of drivers, length of time with insurance … you get the picture.
Dental malpractice insurance varies widely as well. You need a policy that fits your unique insurance needs at the moment. This may change over time, and we hope it does. Your policy should be able to change with you.
6 Items to consider before you buy insurance
When searching for the best dental malpractice policy, here are a few things to consider.
- Before you land your first job, talk to a malpractice insurance agent about your state. Does your state have one insurance rate state wide? Or are there portions of your state where the insurance is more expensive?
- Are you fresh out of dental school? Most insurance companies offer significant discounts for first-year and second-year dentists. Find out if your quote is including this discount, and if so, get an idea of what the policy will cost after that discount disappears.
- Is there a good chance that you’ll move and practice in a different state in a few years? Find out if your insurance company writes in most states, or just a few. Some companies are regional and you may have to switch if you move. Remember that insurance rates vary WIDELY from state to state. An occurrence policy in some states may only be $950. In other states the same policy for the same dentist could be closer to $7,000, just because of the state.
- Are you planning to work for a few years, establish your career, and then take a few years off to raise a family or pursue further education? An occurrence policy form would be a better option for you than a claims-made policy form. An occurrence form can be in force for a few years, cancelled for a few years, and resumed again later without any problems or gaps in coverage.
- Do you work part time? Every company has different ideas about how many hours constitutes part time work. We work with four malpractice insurance companies. All four of them have different guidelines concerning what is considered part time. If you’re going to work part time, it is worthwhile to comparison shop your insurance, or have your agent do it for you.
- Do you have enough coverage? The vast majority of dentists start their career with insurance limits of $1 million per occurrence, $3 million aggregate (for the year). This is the generally agreed upon industry standard. As long as you continue to have personal assets totaling less than $1 million, this should be sufficient coverage for you. You need enough to protect your assets from being stripped from you in a lawsuit. However, as your practice grows and you become successful, your income and assets will grow. Your insurance limits need to increase to protect you properly.