Understanding Insurance for Dentists and Dental Office
Insurance Advisor understands that running a dental office and being a dentist exposes you to potential risks. When planning to open your practice after receiving your dental license, opt for insurance specifically designed for dental offices. Because, if and when something goes wrong, it can negatively affect your practice’s financials as well as your reputation.
Your business assets also need coverage, your furniture, fixtures, medical equipment, computers, printers, everything you’ve purchased to start your office, possibly the building too, should be insured under a property policy. In that, the dental office insurance coverage will help you cover the financial risks if something happens unexpectedly. That’s why our team recommends you buy proper dentist and dental office insurance that covers the below-mentioned policies.
- General Liability
- Commercial Property
- Dental Malpractice (Professional Liability Insurance)
- Workers Compensation
- Commercial Umbrella
- Employment Practice Liability
Although you work within the safest dentist's office, a patient can still trip and sue you. Insurance for dentists covers your practice from the legal and financial ramifications of everyday mishaps. You may also need dental practice insurance to satisfy state laws or lease obligations.
Every dental practice needs Malpractice Liability, Property, and General Liability insurance. If you're an independent contractor working for a dental practice, ensure that you’re covered under the practice's Malpractice policy. If you're not, you must buy individual Malpractice Liability insurance coverage to cover your professional services and protect the practice you're working for.
While you may have a general liability policy and malpractice liability insurance while opening your dental office, you can get other coverages on an as-needed basis. For example, dentists must obtain a property insurance policy when they acquire equipment, furniture, or other business assets. Likewise, dental offices with employees should also have worker's compensation insurance coverage.
Risks and Liabilities under Dental Office Insurance
Understanding the types of Dental Office Insurance you can expect to purchase as a dentist, will help you choose the best options for your practice. Below are some scenarios of possible risks and accidents you may encounter.
Scenario 1 - Business property insurance can protect your owned building and the equipment you need to run your dental office. Business property insurance for dentists includes:
- Building or Leaseholds Improvements
- Medical Equipment (x-ray, medical chairs, lights, etc.)
- Tools and instruments
- Furniture and fixtures
- Office computers, printers, scanners, networks
- Loss of income if the building is damaged and you can’t open
Protecting your facilities and equipment is essential to any small business. That's where business property insurance comes into play when getting insurance for dental practices. This type of insurance, also known as commercial or business personal property insurance (BPP), protects the owned assets.
Scenario 2 - Employers must maintain their employees’ safety. In some states, Workers' Compensation insurance is required if you have more than three employees, but the requirement and number of employees vary by state. Work Comp covers the medical expenses and care needed when an employee is injured or hurt at the office. For example, a dental hygienist may require surgery after she injures her back while lifting a chair, an employee gets injured in a car accident while picking up lunch for the staff, or an employee contracts a blood borne pathogen via a needle stick.
Obtaining workers' compensation insurance gives your injured employee’s replacement income at a percentage of their pre-disability salary, typically 66 2/3 %, which allows them to pay their bills if unable to work. Therefore, it's an essential policy for a dental practice to purchase.
Scenario 3 - General liability insurance covers claims for bodily injury and property damage to third-parties (the general public, patients, and visitors). Legal liability typically has to be established, meaning your company is guilty of causing or contributing to the injury or property of others being damaged. This liability insurance will provide your defense when sued for damages resulting from an injury or property damage occurrence where your firm is accused of negligence. Without this coverage, your firm will be responsible for paying damages out of your pocket and providing your defense.
General liability also covers limited personal injury (wrongful detention, invasion of privacy, false arrest) injury claims.
Advertising Injury covers unintentional advertising mistakes that harm the business whose logo or slogan you copied. Types of advertising injuries that are covered by general liability are:
Slander or libel of a person or company: For many professional operations, the cost of personal injury liability insurance is built into the general liability policy. You may not need coverage beyond what is included under general liability.
Use of another company’s advertising themes or concepts without permission: You abuse another company's promotional material for your purposes.
Infringement of a person or firm’s copyright or slogans: You use another’s copyrighted work without the owner's permission.
Recommended Policies For Dental Office Insurance
Many different coverage types are available to dental offices. However, there are some core protections that all dentists should acquire. They are listed below.
Dental Malpractice Insurance (Professional Liability Insurance)
The essential coverage for dentists is their dental malpractice liability insurance. Malpractice insurance for dentists covers issues related to the dental services they provide to their patients.
Dental malpractice coverage safeguards your practice by defending you and your practice when sued by a patient alleging your dentist’s negligence caused them harm.
After a patient files a medical malpractice suit, many policies allow the insured to decline a settlement. But beware if your policy has what is known as a “hammer clause” or consent to settle clause. While you may not feel your dentist or firm is at fault if you refuse to settle. The suit goes on only to increase the settlement owed, and you will be responsible for paying the difference between what was offered to the plaintiff (when you refused to settle) and the amount the insurance carrier ended up paying to the plaintiff to close the case.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance provides coverage against physical injury and property damage from your regular business operations. From a legal perspective, General liability insurance for dentists covers harm you cause at your office not occurring while you are rendering dental services. For example, a customer slips on a wet floor or trips over a box in the lobby, hurting themselves.
Commercial Property Insurance
From chairs, dental equipment, and X-ray imaging equipment to the computers used in your practice, you have a considerable investment in the assets used daily in your enterprise. A commercial property policy can cover almost any property you own while at your office. However, when insuring more sensitive equipment, consider inland marine insurance, which provides coverage for damage to the equipment caused by electrical surges or brownouts caused by the power going off and on. This peril is not covered under a property policy. Property insurance does cover damage from fire, wind, hail, explosion, vandalism, and riots.
Due to the increasing cyber-attacks in the healthcare industry, it's essential to strengthen your data security processes and create a cyber-security policy for all to follow if sensitive patient information is kept on file.
HIPAA fines, client notification costs, forensic investigations to find out how much information was compromised, and other expenses can be covered under cyber liability insurance.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Running a dental business requires analyzing risks and being proactive in your approach. So, with the help of Worker’s Compensation Insurance, your employees will be taken care of if they are injured while working by providing a percentage of lost wages and medical benefits. Your staff is at risk from various workplace injuries, whether it be radiation exposure, needle jabs or repetitive strain injuries. Moreover, this insurance includes employers’ liability in the event an employee sues your company for negligence in causing the injury.
Most states require businesses to carry workers' compensation insurance for workers who get occupational injuries. This insurance provides medical benefits for injured employees and a percentage of lost wage reimbursement.
Additional Dentist and Dental Office Coverages:
Other than the above policies, your dental office may also require a few other types of coverage, depending on the specifics of your operations.
Dental offices are likely to utilize technology to store sensitive patient information regarding their health and billing information, so it’s imperative to protect your system from cyberattacks such as data loss, hacks, data breaches, ransomware, viruses, and denial of service attacks. For that, you need cyber insurance to protect you from first-party losses and third-party claims. Moreover, remember that commercial property insurance and general liability exclude cyber incidents from coverage.
Business Income and Extra Expense
Business Income insurance is also known as Business Interruption Insurance and when you add extra expense, this coverage will help your firm recover after a catastrophic loss. Business Income is included on your property policy and provides coverage for loss of income and extra expenses incurred to speed recovery of your business operations. A claim is triggered when your business must close due to direct physical damage to the building from a covered peril which prevents normal operations. A review of your financial information will help you determine the limit you need, considering revenue, ongoing and discontinued expenses after a loss. Extra expense coverage would pay to mitigate the loss, for instance,setting up a new temporary location or expediting replacement medical equipment after a covered loss.
Employment Practice Liability Insurance
Employment Practices Liability insurance defends your dental businesses for employee claims alleging their legal rights have been violated. Covered acts include s employment related situations such as improper hiring, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, hostile workplace, failure promost or various types of discrimination. Third party discrimination can also be added to this policy.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Purchasing Umbrella Insurance gives your business excess limits to cover claims that exceed your underlying liability policy limit. Umbrella or excess liability is written over your primary general, auto and employers liability policies. In most cases, the claim needs to be covered by the underlying policy first and once your primary policy limit is exhausted the umbrella will come into play.
Comprehensive Costs For Dental Office Insurance
The cost of insurance is affected by several factors, including
- Number of employees
- Value of business owned property such as dental equipment, furniture and computers
- Type of dental practice
General Liability insurance costs for dentists
Dental general liability insurance premiums vary significantly among different operations, but this is probably one of the least expensive coverages you will purchase. This insurance policy covers injury and property damage of visitors and patients in your office and damage to their property.
Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) costs for dentists
The BOP premium for a dentist’s office relies heavily on the unique factors of each business. It depends on the service provided, revenue, values of assets insured, location, payroll, and more. This insurance bundle generally includes general liability and property insurance. A dental practice BOP protects against injuries (not related to professional services), property damage liability, loss of business income, and damage to your business’ assets.
Workers’ compensation insurance costs for dentists
Dental doctors typically pay a premium rate per $100 of payroll. The rate varies by state. For instance, in Florida, the rate at this writing is $.32 per $100 for dentists and office employees. If you have $200,000 in payroll, the premium would be $ 640, not including the expense constant of $160 for worker's compensation insurance. This insurance is compulsory for dental offices with staff in most states. Premiums cover medical care and a percentage of lost wages to employees hurt and unable to work.
Who Benefits From Having A Dental Practice Insurance?
Dentist and Dental office insurance is appropriate for Dental Hygienists, General Dentistry, Periodontists, Pedodontics, Endodontists, Oral Surgeons, Prosthodontists, and Orthodontists. Your business is protected from liability and property losses.
Why Get Insurance for Dentists from Insurance Advisor?
At InsuranceAdvisor.com, we have access to various carriers to compare their quotes and coverage and present attractive options. We understand the coverage needed to secure your Dental practice and put your mind at ease. We will take time to explain the coverage presented and why it’s needed. You can make an educated decision, taking the coverage you feel is necessary for your firm and not deciding based solely on premium cost.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Insurance for Dentists & Dental Office
1. How much is malpractice insurance for dentists?
The cost of Dental Malpractice Insurance is based on so many variables, giving a price here without any knowledge of the dentist or practice would be impossible. Some insurance companies have minimum premiums for professional liability insurance, it may be $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000. The cost will depend on factors such as how many dentists are on staff, the years of experience of the practitioners, what services are offered, the limit purchased, deductibles, cost of assets insured and so on.
2. What are the most common risks covered by medical professional liability insurance?
Dentist’s Professional liability insurance covers the dentist for claims or lawsuits from clients, alleging that the dentist made a mistake, was negligent, or didn’t do something they should have during the procedure which resulted in harm to the client. In a dental practice setting, there could be issues with over medicating a patient, working on the wrong tooth, improper root canal, or slicing into a patient’s gums during a cleaning or scaling.
3. Do dentists need public liability insurance?
Yes, dentists in an individual practice or a dental practice group, both need to have General Liability insurance, which was known as public liability in the past. General Liability for a dental office mainly covers accidents occurring on the premises that leave a visitor or patient with an injury or damaged property.
4. Are Dentist Licensing Complaints covered in Dental Insurance?
It depends on what type of licensing complaint we are talking about? If a dentist lost his license or surrendered it, he should not be practicing dentistry. No insurance covers anyone if they cause harm or do damage while breaking a law. Dental licensure complaints from patients don’t necessarily mean there is a claim to file. If the complaint is related to an injury a patient suffered while under the dentist’s care, then that would be covered under the professional liability coverage. Your professional liability insurance carrier will provide an attorney to assist you with the response to the client’s malpractice allegation for covered acts. If you are called to a state dental board hearing, your professional liability will not necessarily provide you with an attorney, however, if the hearing is related to a previously reported malpractice claim, the carrier may provide an attorney to appear with you instead of appearing on your own.