The leading causes of disability (approximately 18%) in the United States are mental/nervous disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.) and substance abuse.

In addition to these diseases, practicing dentists have to worry about what an injury or accident to a hand, wrist, or shoulder could do to their ability to work. Of course, the ongoing strain on your neck and back is also a concern.

Disability income insurance pays if you’re unable to work because you become disabled through an accident, injury, or illness. This type of coverage will typically allow you to insure approximately 60% of your income, and if set up properly, any benefits received are tax-free.

Key Features of Disability Income Insurance

The Definition

The most important feature in a disability insurance policy for a dentist to have is a true, specialty, own-occupation definition of total disability for the entire benefit period of the policy. Under this definition, benefits will not be reduced or eliminated if the insured returns to work in another occupation (which could also be a different dental specialty). This means a disabled dentist is not penalized or forced to change careers because of disability.

Other important policy features to look for are:

  • a strong residual benefits definition
  • future purchase options
  • policy renewal guarantees
  • no limitations or exclusions for mental and nervous conditions
  • and the financial strength of the company.

What the Proper Type of Disability Coverage Can Do For You

If you have the proper type of disability insurance in place (hopefully as part of a comprehensive financial plan), these policies will allow you to concentrate on your practice and to live a full life. They will give you peace of mind by insuring that if you become disabled, you could have or do one or all of the following:

  1. Have a guaranteed increasing, tax free, income for the rest of your life or until retirement age.
  2. Pay the staff, rent, and overhead expense, even if you can’t work.
  3. Have the freedom to work part time or in a new occupation, if you choose to, without jeopardizing your benefits
  4. Pay off your business loans.
  5. Continue to accumulate retirement savings.

Starting July 2017, group long term disability and group term life insurance will be offered to eligible TDA members through TDA Financial Services Insurance Program.

A special open enrollment period will launch the programs, and be held July 17–August 31, 2017. During this period, TDA members can enroll—no medical questions asked.

Learn more about what these plans offer through educational webinars held during open enrollment on: July 25, August 15 and 22; 12:30 pm–1 pm CST. Register at

If you’d like more information or to discuss the insurance options available, please contact TDA Financial Services Insurance Program at 800-677-8644 or visit