Disability Insurance Basics for Dental Practices

Disability Insurance Basics

Most people plan to work in their dental practice until they are old enough to retire. Unfortunately, unexpected accidents, injuries and illnesses can quickly derail this plan and render an individual unable to work and earn a living on his or her own. For this reason, many people invest in disability insurance to protect against financial problems.


A disability insurance policy replaces a portion of the covered person’s income when he or she becomes unable to work because of a covered event, such as an accident or severe illness. Disability insurance may offer short-term and/or long-term coverage. While short-term coverage typically provides benefits for six months or less, long-term coverage provides benefits to workers with disabilities expected to last more than 6 months. Some dental employers provide disability insurance for their employees as a benefit of employment, but workers can also purchase a policy on their own.


Not all disability insurance policies are the same, so careful shopping and consideration is highly recommended. Most disability insurance policies replace at least 60 percent of the covered worker’s gross earnings. However, additional coverage is sometimes available for a higher premium. While some policies can be canceled based on certain factors, such as the worker’s health, others cannot. Not all policies define “disability” in the same way, so subscribers should read all policy information thoroughly before making a final purchase decision.

Disability Insurance versus SSDI

Disability insurance is not the same as Social Security Disability. While disability insurance policies are purchased from private insurance companies, SSDI comes from the federal government and is based on the covered individual’s work and earnings history. Most dental workers have the option of applying for SSDI after becoming disabled, regardless of whether they are receiving benefits from a private disability insurance policy. However, the approval process is lengthy and often difficult.