Use this Time to Ensure that You’re Insured

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As I mentioned in my last blog, I learned the hard way just how vital it is to have adequate insurance for your dental practice. I admit it’s not the most exciting of subjects, but it’s vital to the health and wellbeing of your business.

Insurance is the kind of thing we grudgingly buy, hope we’ll never use, and promptly forget all about. I get it because I was the exact same way – until a semi-truck smashed into one of my buildings two years ago. All of a sudden, that “confusing” insurance was the most important thing for my future.

Anyone opening or owning a practice of any size needs the following:

  • Professional Liability: Covers you and your business if a patient sues for malpractice.
  • General Liability: Covers non-medical items you could be sued for, such as a slip-and-fall accident or accusations of a HIPAA violation.
  • Business Personal Property Insurance: Covers all your business and personal property – the equipment, materials and other items you need to do the job day today – in the case of fire, theft or yes, a wayward truck. A good policy will also include “business interruption,” which covers the income you’re losing while out of commission; and “extra expenses,” which can help minimize your losses. My extra expenses clause was a godsend when I went to open a temporary practice. Rather than the insurance company calling all the shots and dictating where I would temporarily hang my hat, I was able to negotiate my own solution – which included a much nicer office with better equipment than the insurance company originally proposed.
  • Building Insurance: This is a must if your own the building that houses your practice. It covers everything that is “fixed” in the building, from the walls to the floor to the light fixtures.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Covers the cost of taking care of any workers injured on the job – be it from a faulty drill or a runaway vehicle.
  • Employment Practices Liability Indemnity: Protects you from employees who claim they were discriminated against or wrongfully terminated.

Don’t let your eyes glaze over. Use this list to ask the right questions about your coverage so you don’t just blindly trust your insurance agent or the Michigan Dental Association if you buy from them. This is not suggesting they are dishonest by any means, but it’s just common sense. And let’s face it, in these days of self-isolation, you have the time to tackle this.

I also highly recommend hiring a public adjuster if you do need to make a claim. This is an independent entity who will look out for your best interests as your claim is settled. They interpret and dig deep into your policy to get you the best possible outcome, and only charge a fee (about 8-10% of your settlement) when you get the check. Since it took me nearly two years to be made whole from my truck-vs.-building accident, that was no small thing.

One last thing to consider: Do you have enough insurance? I thought I was totally conscientious about all my policies so was shocked to learn that I was, in fact, underinsured. I just barely escaped being fined for under-coverage! Take inventory and revisit your policy at least once a year, especially when you purchase major equipment or add staff.

Pay careful attention to this often-overlooked aspect of your business. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but if you do, you’ll thank yourself for doing the right thing.

 

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