Dentists should Purchase Own Occ Disability Insurance


Most dentists are well-schooled on the need to protect their specialties in the event of a disability which is provided in disability insurance for dentists that include an “own occupation” definition of disability.  This definition is crucial for practitioners who rely on their specialty to earn an income without which they might not be considered to be totally disabled.  Policies with an “any occupation” or “regular occupation” definition would require that they be unable to perform in any occupation for which they are qualified.

But, not all “own occupation” policies are created equal, and it is vitally important for dentists to know how the definition in their policy is interpreted or they may be in for an unpleasant surprise.  The definitions do differ among the various disability insurance carriers in a way that just a few words can alter the outcome significantly.

Take, for example, the language in one particular carrier stating that, when the period of “own occupation” expires, the insured is considered disabled only if he is unable to work in an occupation for which he is “qualified or could reasonably become qualified based on his education, training, and mental and physical capabilities.”  So, if a disability insurance for dentists policy contains a term limitation of the own occupation definition, typically 24 months, it is possible that the insurer could limit or stop benefit payments if it deems the insured capable of performing at some other occupation.  Dentists should always be protected by a disability insurance for dentists policy with no limitation of the own occupation definition.

The language dentists should look for in their own occupation disability insurance for dentists policy should clearly state that a total disability results from the inability to perform “any one major duty” of their occupation, or some variation.  The premium rate on these policies tends to be higher, but having a more certain outcome at a time when it’s needed the most, is priceless.

Be sure to review your policy’s definition of disability with a qualified disability specialist that understands the options that are available for disability insurance for dentists, so you know exactly what you have.