When it comes to dentistry, many choose to work either as a self-employed dentist or as part of their own practice. While these are both great ways to work, they offer minimal, or in some instances, no sick pay benefits. The recent effects of COVID-19 have highlighted just how important it is to have a backup plan so that, should you become ill, you can avoid financial hardship. That’s where dentist income protection comes in. You may not have heard of it, but we’re here to talk you through what this insurance is and how you can find the best income protection for dentists.
What is income protection insurance?
The independent consumer body, Which, describes income protection insurance as “the one protection product every working UK adult should consider buying”. Income protection was previously named ‘permanent health insurance’ and is an insurance policy that will pay out if injury or illness leaves you unable to work. They vary from short term policies that run for one to two years, right up to policies that payout until retirement.
Do I really need income protection insurance?
The Office for National Statistics found that in 2018, around 141.4 million working days were lost due to illness or injury, averaging out at 4.4 days per person. That’s a figure that has surely risen following the COVID-19 pandemic. With self-employed workers receiving no protection on their pay for those days and employed workers receiving the statutory sum of just £95.85 up to 28 weeks, there’s minimal help out there should something medical happen that leaves you out of work. Unless you have a wealth of savings to fall back on, this can lead to real financial worries.
How does income protection insurance work for dentists?
As either a self-employed or practice-owning dentist, an income protection policy is a crucial safety net should illness or injury arise. However, it’s also worthwhile for NHS dentists who do receive sick pay, as it can be used to supplement this, topping it up to meet your full wage. It’s important to note that not all policies cover NHS dentists, so it’s best to compare and research policies first.
Protecting on average 65% of gross earnings, these protection policies are designed to cover all your monthly essentials, including rent or mortgage payments, bills and food. Lots of policies payout within one week of claiming, ensuring that you’re not left out of pocket for too long.
How to find the best income protection for dentists
There are a number of different options that will affect your cover, so you’ll need to determine the ones that suit your situation:
- Policies will often have a deferred period, which is the amount of time you need to be out of work for before you can put in a claim. Those with no current benefits may want this to start from day one, while employed NHS staff could lower their premiums by choosing a deferred period that overlaps with their entitled sick pay end date.
- You can choose how much of your earnings you wish to cover, which is usually between 50 and 70%. The higher your cover percentage, the higher your premiums, so work out how much you can afford to pay monthly vs how much you’ll need to cover all your essentials should you need to claim.
- Again, your premiums will vary depending on how long you want your cover to last, whether that’s just a few years or right up until retirement.
Once you’ve ironed out the type of cover you need and the factors that need to be taken into account, you can start comparing policies and providers to find the most suitable deal for you.
What is and isn’t covered under income protection cover?
Your policy covers medical issues that leave you unable to work, including bodily injury, accident and sickness. You should always double-check that your policy covers you for any injury or illness that directly impacts your line of work. For instance, a hand injury could have serious implications on your dental career.
It’s worth keeping in mind that you often won’t be covered for pre-existing conditions or self-inflicted injury, so always read the details of your policy carefully.
Here at WIS Business Protection, we’re an independent firm with access to the whole insurance market, allowing you to search and compare a wide range of deals to find the one that works best for you. If you’re unsure on which cover to go for or would like an independent review on your current policy, feel free to get in touch with our expert team today.