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.
According to consumer group Which?, Income Protection is the one policy every working adult should consider.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When deciding if Dentist Income Protection is worthwhile, it makes sense to weigh up the risk of something happening and the potential consequences:
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.
With Statutory Sick Pay offering only £94.25 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?
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.
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:
You’ll also have to be aware of:
There are three types of premium options to consider when choosing your Income Protection Insurance:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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 months full pay + 2 months half pay
4 months full pay + 4 months half pay
5 months full pay + 5 months half pay
6 months full pay + 6 months half pay
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Director at Drewberry
Sam was very helpful and kept me informed at all times. Brilliant service.