Dentists Income Protection

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What is Income Protection for Dentists?

Many Dentists are self-employed and work through their own dental practice; as such, they tend to have little to no sick pay provisions in place. Should they suffer a long-term injury or illness it can easily turn into a financial nightmare.

Dentists Income Protection provides you with a monthly income you can rely on should you be too ill or injured to work.

  • It is designed to cover your core monthly financial commitments such as your mortgage / rent, bills and food if you can’t work for any medical reason.
  • Protect up to 65% of your gross earnings.
  • Choose a policy which will pay out from as short as 1 week of illness or injury.
  • Protect your income right up until your expected retirement age.
  • In 2018, leading insurers Liverpool Victoria and Legal & General both paid 95% of valid Income Protection claims.

According to consumer group Which?, Income Protection is the one policy every working adult should consider.

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What Does Income Protection Cover?

  • Accidents and bodily injuries
  • Periods of sickness and illness that leave you unable to work.

As a Dentist, you want to make sure your Income Protection covers you in your own occupation. This will ensure the policy will pay out for any illness or injury that prevents you from working in your specific role as a Dentist.

A hand injury, for example, could derail a dental career – if this happens, you want the policy to pay out on your inability to do your job as a dentist rather than on any other terms.

What Doesn’t Income Insurance Cover?

When buying any insurance, it’s important to understand that there are limitations and restrictions on policies that mean certain things simply aren’t covered.

Pre-existing Conditions
This includes pre-existing health conditions – if you’ve had a health condition in the past 5 years, it will need to be declared when applying for cover and could possibly be excluded.

However, you may be able to serve a period on the policy where you don’t receive any advice, medication or treatment for that condition and eventually gain coverage for it.

Being expert advisers who specialise in Income Protection we have direct access to the underwriters at all the leading UK insurers. This gives us the greatest chance of getting you the best terms should you have existing medical conditions to declare.

Self-inflicted Injuries
Aside from pre-existing conditions, most policies exclude self-inflicted injuries and any illnesses / injuries caused by misuse of drugs or alcohol or those which occur in the pursuit of illegal activities.

However, other than these most policies don’t have any standard exclusions. What you are and aren’t covered for will simply be dependent on your medical history at the time you take the policy out.

Do I Need Dentist Income Protection?

When deciding if Dentist Income Protection is worthwhile, it makes sense to weigh up the risk of something happening and the potential consequences:

The Incapacity Risk:

14.7% of individuals over 55 has experienced at least one instance of absence as a result of injury or illness that has lasted for at least 6 months according to the 2018 Drewberry Protection survey. That translates to as many as 1 in 6 people.

The Consequences:

With Statutory Sick Pay offering only £95.85 per week for up to a maximum of 28 weeks for employed workers, many people would struggle to cope on such a reduced income.

If the health problem persists past 28 weeks, maintaining your usual lifestyle can become even more difficult as state benefits remain minimal and savings start to come under strain.

If you lost your income how would you continue to meet your essential monthly outgoings without some form of financial protection?

Why Dentist Sick Pay Insurance?

No matter whether you are a private dentist or employed by the NHS, it’s worth investigating what your position would be should you suffer from ill health or an injury that prevents you from working.

While many people are aware of the risks of their occupation, not many think seriously about the consequences of them. If you faced a disability that prevented you from working, can you be certain that you have the resources necessary to survive without income while you recover?

Stress is the leading psychological condition that occurs in dental professionals. Dentists also face exposure to infectious diseases and are at risk of developing musculoskeletal complications due to repetitive motions and strained posture during procedures.

If you’re one of the two-fifths of people Drewberry surveyed who had no more than £1,000 in cash savings to rely on if your income ceased, this could be problematic for you and your family.

While NHS sick pay for dentists will cover you for up to a year, the sick pay provided by private practices typically pays out for a shorter length of time. Self-employed dentists working through their own dental practice, meanwhile, receive no sick pay at all.

How Does Sick Pay Insurance for Dentists Work?

When selecting a policy, you need to consider several different cover options, including three core options that will have the most impact on the cost of your cover:

  • Your Deferred Period
    Your policy’s deferred period is the length of time you need to be out of work for in order to begin claiming your insurance benefits. Deferred periods start at 1 day and run all the way up to 2 years. If you are employed by the NHS and are able to take out a specialised Dental Income Protection policy, you will be able to benefit from reduced premiums by setting your deferred period to the maximum length of your sick pay entitlement according to your length of service (see below).
  • Sum Assured
    Typical Income Protection for dentists can insure between 50% and 70% of your gross earnings. Obviously the more you choose to cover, the more premiums will cost, so consider what your essential outgoings are and potentially look to cover those only rather than opting for the maximum you can insure.
  • Your Policy Cease Age
    This refers to how old you’ll be at the end of the policy. You typically set this to align with your retirement age, which may be 60 or 65 for example. The older your cease age, the higher premiums will be.

You’ll also have to be aware of:

  • Length of Your Claims Period
    You can choose either short-term or long-term Income Protection cover. Short-term cover will pay out either for a maximum of 1, 2 or 5 years per claim, while long-term cover will pay out right up until you reach retirement age (policy cease age) if you need it.
  • Indexation
    An index-linked Income Protection policy will increase your cover in line with inflation to ensure that the overall value of your policy does not depreciate over time. However, as your cover increases so will your premiums to compensate for the fact you’ll be receiving a higher benefit.

Choose Your Premiums

There are three types of premium options to consider when choosing your Income Protection Insurance:

  • Reviewable premiums
    These can be ‘reviewed’ by the insurer at any time, which means that they may rise in a number of circumstances, such as if the insurer has seen a spike in claims or based on economic factors. Such premiums often start out cheaper but are then reviewed upwards and usually therefore work out more expensive over the life of the policy.
  • Age-banded premiums
    Age-rated premiums also work out cheaper at the start but then rise each year. Unlike reviewable premiums, age-banded premiums can only rise by a preset amount laid out in your policy. Any rises are solely linked to your age and the increasing risk of you claiming as you get older.
  • Guaranteed premiums
    There are usually a little more expensive initially, but cannot be adjusted over the life of the policy by the insurer unless you yourself make any changes to the plan. This generally means guaranteed premiums work out cheaper over the life of the policy, especially if you took out cover when you were young and healthy, as premiums are locked in from the start and can’t change with time.

Getting Own Occupation Income Protection

Not every form of sick pay insurance for dental professionals will provide own occupation cover, so it is really important to read the terms of the different policies available to you.

It is particularly important as a dental professional, given the level of skill required in your job role, that your policy protects you if you are not fit enough to return to your original occupation.

The definition of incapacity is what your insurer uses to define whether or not you are incapable of working and entitled to claim benefits. With the own occupation definition applied to your policy, you will be able to claim benefits as long as you injury or illness prevents you from working as a dental professional.

Other definitions of incapacity, such as ‘Suited Occupation’ or ‘Any Occupation’, may prevent you from claiming on your Income Protection policy if you are well enough to work in a different occupation, such as teaching dental students.

How Do I Make A Claim?

As soon as it becomes apparent that you’re likely to be out of work for longer than your chosen deferred period, you should tell your insurer.

Although you won’t receive benefits until you have waited out your deferral period, your insurer will be better able to judge how long you’ve been off work the sooner you advise them you’re too ill to do your job.

The insurer will likely require two things from you to register a claim:

  •  Completed claims form.
  • Medical evidence from your GP or other medical professional.

The claims forms can usually be either completed online or downloaded, filled in and returned by post to the insurer.

Medical evidence could come in numerous forms. It could be as simple as a sick note from your GP stating the medical issue and signing you off work for a specific period.

Sometimes further medical evidence might be required, such as copies of diagnostic scans / tests and letters from any consultants you’ve seen.

This should all be held in your medical records, which the insurer can request from your doctor.

Once you’ve been out of work for longer than your deferred period, you’ll begin to receive a monthly income from the policy until either:

  • You’re well enough to return to work
  • You reach the end of your claims period (1, 2 or 5 years for short-term policies)
  • Or the policy ends (typically at retirement, for long-term cover).

Neil’s Cancer Claim With British Friendly

Neil is a client of Drewberry and took out an Accident and Sickness Insurance policy with British Friendly. He was a member for 4 years before he needed to claim.

He became unwell and had pains in his stomach. After consulting his GP and having some further tests Neil was diagnosed with stage 2 Bowel Cancer and needed to make a claim.

🤕 Read More About Neil’s Claim

Specialist Income Protection for Dentists

If you’re employed by the NHS, there are some insurers that offer Dentists Sickness Insurance policies that are specially designed to work around the NHS’s unique sick pay scheme. While these policies are usually reserved for Doctors and Surgeons, there are some insurers that may offer you similar terms provided you work for the NHS.

These specialised policies provide cover which will pay out a proportionate benefit as soon as you stop receiving full sick pay to supplement your income. So if you get 6 months of full sick pay and 6 months of half pay, the benefit will kick in after 6 months to ‘top up’ your half pay.

However, these types of policies are not always available from every insurer and are best discussed with an adviser because of the complexities of split deferred periods.

NHS Sick Pay for Dentists

These policies benefit NHS employees because it allows them to set their deferred period to match the full length of their sick pay entitlement, reducing their premiums, while topping up their income regardless during the period of reduced sick pay.

If you are employed by the NHS, the maximum amount of sick pay you could expect to receive will change depending on your length of the service.

After 5 years of service, the maximum amount you’re entitled to will be 12 months of sick pay after 5 full years of service. However, you would only receive full sick pay for the first 6 months and for the latter 6 months provided with half sick pay.

If your disability is serious enough that you need to take a year or longer to recover, your NHS dental sick pay will run out and you may need to rely on savings or other means to get you through.

Length of Service

Sick Pay Entitlement

0 – 3 months

No sick pay entitlement

3 – 12 months

1 month full pay + 2 months half pay

2 years

2 months full pay + 2 months half pay

3 years

4 months full pay + 4 months half pay

4 years

5 months full pay + 5 months half pay

5 years

6 months full pay + 6 months half pay

Sickness Insurance for Self-Employed Dentists

If you own your own dental practice and work through that as a corporate entity, you may want to consider Company Director Income Protection. This can take into account any salary and dividends from the business that you pay yourself through your own limited company.

Crucially, the policy is owned and paid for by the business, so premiums can be paid for by the business.

If you can’t work due to accident or sickness, Income Protection paid for by your dental practice will kick in to pay a monthly benefit back into the business. You then distribute these funds from your practice via your usual remuneration process.

The main difference between Executive Income Protection and Income Protection taken out personally is that it is owned and paid for by the business so should a claim arise any benefit would be taxed as income. Personal Income Protection sees the benefit paid tax-free because you’re paying the premiums from post-tax income.

Given the benefit from a corporate Income Protection policy is taxable, you can insure a higher proportion of your pre-tax income – up to 80% – compared to a personal policy.

How Much Does Dentist Sick Pay Cover Cost?

Dental professionals will pay different amounts for Sick Pay Insurance depending on their job role and a variety of other factors.

Given the different occupation risks we have put together the average cost of Income Protection for both a Dentist and a Hygienist of three different ages in the table below.

To come up with these premiums, we’ve assumed:

  • The individual is a healthy non-smoker
  • They want a benefit of £1,500 a month
  • They’re looking for an 8 week deferral period
  • Their cease age will be age 65
  • They’re looking for long-term cover
  • They want to guarantee their premiums for the life of the policy.


Age 25

Age 35

Age 45









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Common Dentist Income Protection Questions

  • Can my business pay for my Dentists Income Protection?

    Many Dentists run their own private practice and are structured as a limited company. If you are a company director you can opt to take out ‘Executive Income Protection’ which can be paid for by your business.

    It is important to note that should a claim arise the benefit payment will be taxed which means your level of cover will need to be grossed up to take account of the tax that will be due.

  • Does Income Protection match my NHS sick pay?

    NHS workers typically get more generous sick pay than other workers; this is set at a maximum of 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay depending on your length of service.

    Given this, you can set your Income Protection deferral period to match this and therefore reduce premiums considerably. This is known as an NHS sick pay mirroring deferral period.

    If you get the full NHS sick pay, then in the first instance the cover won’t kick in for the first 6 months. This is because you won’t need it as the NHS will pay you full pay for that initial 6 month period. The cover only starts to kick in after those 6 months, meaning you can choose a 6 month deferral period and save significantly on your premiums.

    Thereafter, when you start receiving half pay, the policy pays out half your benefit to ‘top up’ your half sick pay. Then, after a year, the benefit begins paying out the full amount.

    As the insurer only has to pay out half of the benefit for 6 months out of the first year thanks to your NHS sick pay, there’s room for a considerable premium discount compared to a policy where the insurer has to pay the full benefit out sooner.

  • What are the most common claims on Dental Income Protection?

    The most common claims dentists make on Income Protection policies are for musculoskeletal issues (e.g. bad backs) and mental health problems.

    Both are particularly prevalent among dentists compared to other professions, with musculoskeletal issues being a particular concern due to cramped posture and repetitive movements during procedures.

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Compare UK’s Best Dentist Income Protection Providers

AIG logo


AIG is one of only a handful Income Protection providers to offer cover for individuals with type 2 diabetes. It is also willing to offer diabetics guaranteed premiums and will not exclude diabetes in its policy, unlike other providers.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of the first £30,000 of your salary / 55% of salary between £30,000-£100,000 / 45% of any salary £100,000+
  • Deferred periods: 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 54


Aviva covers all policyholders with an own occupation definition of incapacity and, if you choose to return to work in a different occupation until you are well enough to return to your pre-incapacity occupation, Aviva will top up your reduced income with Back to Work Benefits.

  • Maximum coverage: 55% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £240,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: 4-104 weeks (104 weeks is the longest available deferred period for UK Accident & Sickness policies)
  • Maximum entry age: 59

british friendly

British Friendly

British Friendly gives access to its Mutual Benefits program, which provides rewards such as vouchers for high street shops, discounted fitness tracking devices, emotional support services and online legal services.

  • Maximum coverage: 70% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £45,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 / 1 / 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 64
  • One of the few insurers that will cover pilots on an own occupation basis
cirencester friendly

Cirencester Friendly

Cirencester Friendly provides you with a range of additional benefits and services, including a hospitalisation benefit and a Friendly Voice service that provides you with a personal nurse that you can contact for advice and emotional support.

  • Maximum coverage: 65% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £65,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 or 4 / 8/ 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 54

The Exeter

The Exeter is one of the few UK insurers that is able to offer own occupation cover to workers in higher risk occupations, although such policies only offer age banded premiums.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your gross salary up to the first £100,000 and 40% of any additional income.
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 / 1 week / 4 weeks / 8 weeks / 13 weeks / 26 weeks / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 59
legal & general

Legal & General

L&G offers a free life cover element that pays out a maximum of 12 times your monthly benefit if you pass away while the policy is in force.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your annual income before tax, up to a maximum of £200,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: 4 /13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 60
liverpool victoria

Liverpool Victoria

LV offers free access to unique LV Doctor Services, which include fast access to remote GP services, second opinion services and private prescriptions for policyholders and their children up to the age of 16.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your annual income before tax, up to a maximum benefit of £12,500 per month
  • Deferred periods: 1 month / 2 months / 3 months / 6 months / 12 months
  • Maximum entry age: 59
royal london

Royal London

Royal London can include Fracture Cover, which pays out a lump sum of between £1,500 and £4,000 on top of any benefit you’d receive for being off work if you receive a fracture of a specified body part

  • Maximum coverage: 65% of the first £15,000 income and 55% of the remainder, up to a maximum of £250,000 per year
  • Deferred periods: 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 59


Vitality provides a unique offering. While the core of its policy is similar to other providers’ offering, it also offers a unique set of additional benefits to those who participate in the Wellness / Optimiser programs that can include policy discounts and rewards.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your earnings capped up to £2,500 per month and 50% of any earnings above, up to a maximum of £16,666 per month
  • Deferred periods: 1 week / 1 / 3 / 6 / 12 months
  • Maximum entry age: 59

Get Dentist Income Protection Quotes & Expert Advice

As a Dentist, there are a number of Income Protection options available to you. This includes a policy with a deferred period to match your NHS sick pay. To ensure you get it right, we recommend you get in touch.

Why Speak to Us…

We started Drewberry because we were tired of being treated like a number and not getting the service we all deserve when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to let us help.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are independent and impartial
    Drewberry isn’t tied to any insurance company, so we can provide completely impartial advice to make sure you get the most appropriate policy based solely on your needs.
  • We’ve got bargaining power on our side
    This allows us to negotiate better premiums for you than you going direct yourself.
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
    You will speak to a named expert with a direct telephone and email. No more automated machines and no more being sent from pillar to post – you’ll have someone to speak to who knows you.
  • Benefit from our 5-star service
    We pride ourselves on providing a 5-star service, as can be seen from our 3183 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5.
  • Gain the protection of regulated advice
    You are protected. Where we provide a regulated advice service we are responsible for the policy we set-up for you. Doing it yourself or going direct to an insurer won’t provide this protection, so you won’t benefit from these securities.
  • Claims support when you need it the most
    You have support should you need to make a claim. The most important thing when it comes to insurance is that claims are paid and quickly. We are here to support you during the claims process and make sure it’s as smooth and stress free as possible.
Tom Conner Director at Drewberry

With sick pay entitlement and taxation to think about setting up Income Protection can be a bit of a minefield.

If you need any help please do not hesitate to pop us a call on 02084327333 or email

Tom Conner
Director at Drewberry

Very helpful from start to finish. Talked through all the points and gave great advice.

Darren Comer
16/05/2021 Logo
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