Determining Disability Insurance Needs for Dentists

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Dentists often face unique challenges when obtaining disability insurance due to their typically high incomes and the specific nature of their profession. Here’s how to determine how much disability insurance a dentist might need:

1. Assess Income and Financial Obligations

  • Income-Based Benefits: Disability insurance benefits are usually based on a percentage of your income, as reported on W2 forms.
  • Financial Commitments: Consider your financial obligations, such as a home mortgage, educational loans, practice expenses, and personal living costs.

2. Understanding Coverage Limits with Traditional Companies

  • Benefit Caps: Traditional disability insurance providers often have a maximum benefit limit, which may not fully cover a dentist’s high income.
  • Coverage Gap: This can leave a significant coverage gap, especially for dentists in higher income brackets.

3. Supplemental Coverage Options

  • Petersen International: Petersen offers coverage options that exceed traditional maximum limits, providing a solution for high-earning professionals like dentists.
  • Lump-Sum Payments: They may also offer lump-sum payments, which can be beneficial for managing larger financial needs.

4. Types of Coverage

  • Excess/Supplemental Coverage: The shortfall between traditional coverage limits and actual income needs is addressed.
  • Special Risk Coverage: This can provide additional protection for specific risks associated with the dental profession.
  • Domestic Coverage: Ensures that coverage is tailored to the needs of dentists practicing within their home country.
  • International Coverage: Important for dentists who may work or travel abroad, providing global coverage.

Considerations for Dentists

  • Own-Occupation Coverage: Essential for dentists, as it provides benefits if you cannot perform the specific duties of your dental specialty.
  • Future Income Potential: Younger dentists or recent graduates should consider their future income potential when determining coverage amounts.


For dentists, especially those with high incomes, it’s crucial to find a disability insurance policy that adequately covers their specific financial needs. Companies like Petersen International offer supplemental and excess coverage options that can fill the gaps left by traditional insurance limits. Assessing income, understanding coverage limits, and considering the unique aspects of dental practice are key steps in determining the appropriate amount of disability insurance.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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