Focusing on your patients is your job. Focusing on your insurance is ours.
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Your patients’ teeth are your top priority. You take pride in knowing you’re providing the best care possible of every person who walks through your door. Staying up to date on news and trends in dentistry should be top of mind, not your insurance policies. Still, it’s imperative you cover your office’s unique risks with specialized dental office insurance.
Specialized dental office insurance protects your practice.
In addition to the standard office equipment like desks, chairs, and computers, your patient rooms contain equipment unique to the dental profession. Items like X-ray machines, dental chairs, lights, sterilization equipment, and more are all quite costly to replace. A standard business insurance policy may not contain adequate limits. Dentists often have visiting practitioners come in to help cover vacations or extended illness. Conversely, you may work in another office to fill in for someone else. In these circumstances, you need to be sure your insurer knows where you are and who is working in your office.
Dental malpractice and peer review policies are crucial.
Accidents can happen. Patients may also believe they have been treated improperly and, if they file suit or report you to the licensing board, you’ll need to defend yourself. Attorney fees can add up quickly, and if damages are awarded, you could be ruined financially if your practice is not properly insured. Basic dental office insurance policies generally don’t cover malpractice. Depending on the work you do and the population you serve, your needs could be different as well.
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Dental practices are susceptible to many risks, such as claims due to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and more.
General liability insurance is an absolute necessity for any dental practice. It provides broad coverage when you are deemed responsible and liable, and will also pay to defend any covered lawsuit or action, regardless of its merit. Additional limits are also available with a commercial umbrella insurance policy.
The internet has spun a whole new web of liability exposures. E-commerce, social networking, cloud storage, and other technologies bring great benefits to large and small practices alike. But with these benefits also come challenges, including protection of privacy, data, and the financial information of your customers.
Cyber liability insurance protects your practice in the event of unauthorized access to electronic data or software within your network. It also provides coverage for spreading a virus, extortion, accidental release of personal identifiable information, and resultant damage caused by a lost or stolen laptop or other mobile device. This coverage is quickly becoming more and more important as you embrace technology to help run your practice.
Dentists and licensed staff face a high risk of being sued by patients for such things as claiming a wrong diagnosis or treatment. All lawsuits must be defended, regardless of merit. There may also be a time when you are called for peer review, and hiring an attorney familiar with this process may be necessary.
Professional liability insurance, commonly known as dental malpractice insurance, can help with the cost of legal expenses and other damages if a lawsuit is filed making allegations regarding errors in your work. Peer review defense may or may not be covered under standard malpractice insurance, which is important to know before it’s too late.
What would you do if a fire impacted the operation of your practice? Or what if a pipe leak caused a system outage or extended downtime? These and other events can destroy your ability to treat patients and bring in revenue, which can have a major long-term impact on the viability of your practice.
Business interruption insurance compensates you for lost income if your practice cannot operate as normal due to damage that is covered under your commercial property insurance policy, such as fire or water damage. This type of insurance covers the revenue your practice would have earned, based on your financial records, had the incident not occurred. The policy also covers continuing operating expenses such as rent, electricity, and ordinary payroll.
Many dental offices unknowingly underestimate the costs associated with replacing dental equipment. It’s not uncommon to find out that there is not enough coverage to replace it, and sometimes it’s already too late.
With a business owners insurance policy (BOP), most office equipment is included as business personal property and would be protected in the event of a covered loss. For specialized, high-valued equipment, a separate policy may be required. Your agent or broker can help you to make that determination.
If one of your employees receives an injury or becomes ill due to a work-related occurrence, you are required by law to have the proper coverage in place.
Workers' compensation protects your employees should a job-related injury or sickness occur during the course of employment. This coverage is required by law, so be sure that you understand your obligations.
On average, it’s estimated that three-out-of-five businesses will be sued by their employees. While there is nothing you can do to prevent someone from filing a lawsuit, you can limit the costs of defending a legal claim with proper insurance coverage.
Obtain employment practice liability insurance (EPLI) to protect your practice and its directors, officers, and employees from alleged employment-related acts such as wrongful termination, failure to promote, discrimination, and sexual harassment.
What happens when your practice faces a large liability loss that exceeds the basic limit of your standard policy?
You should consider purchasing a commercial umbrella insurance policy which provides higher limits, typically between $2,000,000 and $10,000,000, and often broadened coverages. Coverage is extended over various policies, including general liability insurance, business auto, and directors and officers liability insurance.
There may be times when you cover for another dentist in their office. Similarly, you may have a dentist cover for you if you’re going to be away or unable to see patients. There may be other instances where you have independent contractors such as hygienists or dental assistants working in your office.
If your policy only covers you when you’re in your office and there’s a claim against you for work you performed in someone else’s office, you may not be covered. Your insurer needs to know the locations where you work as well as who is working in your office, even when any of these circumstances are on a temporary basis.
More and more, people are reporting practices to their state licensing bureau for any number of reasons that are not related to the care you’ve provided. Defending these claims often requires representation by an attorney who has specialized knowledge in this area.
Responding to complaints against your dental license can be very costly. License defense coverage can help cover these costs. This separate coverage is necessary because this type of complaint is separate from lawsuits covered by malpractice insurance.
Dental offices are still businesses.
As specialized as your business is, you still need to have basic insurance coverages essential to businesses of all types. You’ll want to consider general liability, employee practices liability, cyber liability, and business interruption insurance, among other policies. Working with an insurance agent who understands the specific dental office insurance you need means you’ll be getting a comprehensive suite of policies to protect your dental practice.
Don’t forget coverage for employees and contractors.
Your dental practice needs insurance coverage for its employees, too. Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage in the event an employee is injured on the job. Hygienists, dentists, and dental assistants face an increased risk of injury based on the tools they use and their close proximity to patients. If you have contract workers in your office on an intermittent basis, be sure to talk with your insurance agent about what obligations you have to provide coverage for them, too.
If you’re interested in learning more about the specialized dental office insurance policies that may benefit your dental practice, contact us today.
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