dentist owner working on a patient for sugery and needing a dental attorney for insurance coverages

Insurance Coverage for Dental Practices: Legal Insights

Owning a dental practice comes only after many years of hard work. You know that the dental industry naturally leaves you vulnerable to a variety of liabilities, and you also know that having the right insurance coverage is non-negotiable. However, figuring out exactly what insurance your practice needs is rarely easy. 

The more you learn about dental practice coverage options, the more you see that it can be hard to make sure all your bases are covered. What’s even worse is that even if your coverage looks good on paper, many of the necessary forms of insurance can still leave you open to losses and lawsuits. 

Types of Insurance Every Dental Practice Should Consider

Some types of dental practice insurance coverage aren’t optional. For example, even someone who knows nothing about the dental field probably knows that dentists carry malpractice insurance. Some of these common forms of insurance are legal requirements, while others are smart investments that can save you a lot of money down the road.   

Common types of dental practice insurance coverage that every dental practice should strongly consider include: 

  • General liability
  • Malpractice 
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Commercial property 
  • Business interruption 
  • Employment practices liability
  • Entity malpractice
  • Business overhead expense disability

Not every type of coverage is necessary for every dental practice. For example, entity malpractice differs substantially from your malpractice insurance. This type of coverage kicks in when your practice is named in a malpractice suit involving another dentist or employee who works at your practice. 

Your malpractice insurance typically won’t provide coverage in a case like this. Having entity malpractice coverage in place doesn’t just protect you — it also protects your business. 

It’s a good idea to know about these options and identify which are right for you. It’s also essential to ensure your practice’s coverage complies with any state or local requirements. 

Common Shortcomings of Dental Practice Insurance Policies 

Having the right dental practice insurance is a strong start to protecting your practice from liability. Unfortunately, that’s only part of the picture. 

Two common shortcomings of dental practice policies are coverage scope and extended reporting coverage. The first addresses what is covered, while the second concerns how long you have coverage. 

Coverage scope is often an issue that only comes up when it’s too late. You need to know that your coverage offers the protection you assume you’re paying for. 

For example, dental equipment is often costly. You might assume that equipment issues are covered under your existing policy. However, if a machine is damaged in a manner that falls outside the scope of coverage, you can find yourself paying out-of-pocket for repairs or a replacement. 

Extended reporting coverage, also called tail coverage, is another legal consideration every dental practice owner should be aware of. Malpractice insurance policies sometimes expire before the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. 

As a result, you can find yourself facing a malpractice suit at a time when your malpractice coverage can no longer protect you. It’s important to understand the limits of your malpractice insurance and consider additional coverage to protect you from extended reporting.

Protect Your Dental Practice By Consulting a Dental Attorney

Identifying the right coverage for your practice is just the first step. To ensure you’re getting the protection you’re paying for, you must also be able to identify and guard against potential shortcomings in your policies. 

When you’re busy running a dental practice, you don’t have time to study insurance. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Instead, you can focus on your practice and allow a dental attorney to put their legal knowledge to work for you. 

If you’re ready to make sure your dental practice has the coverage you need, Mahan Law can help. As a dental law firm that serves clients nationwide, we know the dental industry and how to protect your dental practice from liability. 

Call Mahan Law today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced dental law attorney.