Individual disability insurance is something most people should consider owning. After all, more than a quarter of American workers will endure some type of temporary disability during their careers that will prevent them from working.

If you’ve chosen dentistry as a career, it’s doubly important to be protected by an individual disability insurance policy.

First, you have more to lose in income than the average worker. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for dentists is over $150,000. In some markets, dentists can earn well over $250,000. Specialists like surgeons and orthodontists make significantly more. How would you replace that income if you can’t practice dentistry — whether temporarily or permanently — due to an accident or illness?

Second, you have more financial obligations than the average worker, namely student loan debt. According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average student loan debt for 2016 dental school graduates was over $262,000, and more than 30 percent graduated with debt over $300,000. Student loan debt doesn’t go away if you become disabled and can’t work in the dental field.

A individual disability insurance designed specifically for the needs of dental professionals can protect you from the loss of income due to accident or illness.

Here are five of the leading disability policies for dental professionals.

Ameritas DInamic Foundation

Ameritas Life Insurance's disability insurance product for dentists, DInamic Foundation, is underwritten by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Central Life. Ameritas is rated A by A.M. Best. The policy includes:

  • An own-occupation provision included in the base policy. For dentists, your specialty is considered your own occupation and you’ll be paid benefits if you are unable to work in that specialty due to accident or illness.
  • A maximum benefit period to age 70.
  • A two-year limitation on coverage for mental disorders/substance abuse.
  • Two options for cost-of-living adjustment riders.
  • A basic and enhanced residual disability rider, both of which require a 15 percent loss in income.
  • A Future Increase Option Rider that enables you to increase your base monthly benefit without providing evidence of insurability, up to three times your base monthly benefit, through age 55.
  • An Automatic Increase Rider that enables you to increase your monthly disability benefit by 4 percent on your policy anniversary for the first five years without additional underwriting.
  • A Catastrophic Disability Rider.

Guardian Provider Choice

Guardian's feature-rich disability insurance products are the Provider Plus and Provider Choice, underwritten by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Berkshire Life. Guardian is known as the cadillac of insurance products and is one of the largest mutual insurance companies in the United States. The company has an A.M. Best rating of A++. The policy includes:

  • One of the strongest definitions of disability for physicians and dentists based on its own-occupation provision.
  • A maximum benefit period to age 70.
  • No benefit limitations for mental/nervous disabilities for most medical specialties in states other than California and Florida.
  • Three options for cost-of-living adjustment riders.
  • A basic and enhanced residual disability rider. The basic requires a 20-percent loss of income while the enhanced requires 15 percent.
  • A Benefit Purchase Option that enables you to purchase additional coverage every three years up to age 55 with evidence of financial eligibility.
  • An Automatic Benefit Enhancement that provides an automatic 4 percent compounded increase in the base monthly benefit.
  • A Catastrophic Disability Rider.
  • Student Loan Protection.

Principal Solutions 750

Principal's disability insurance product for dentists, Solutions 750, offers a range of options for maximum policy design flexibility and customization. The company carries an A+ financial rating from A.M. Best. The policy includes:

  • A Regular Occupation Rider that defines total disability as being unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, even if you are gainfully employed in another occupation. If your occupation is limited to a single dental specialty, Principal will deem that specialty to be your occupation.
  • Principal also offers a Modified Own Occupation, which defines total disability as being unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, and not being gainfully employed.
  • A maximum benefit period to age 70.
  • A 24-month limit for mental/nervous disorders with own-occupation definition of disability.
  • Two options for cost-of-living adjustments, either a 3 percent or 6 percent maximum.
  • A Partial Disability Benefit that requires a loss of earnings of at least 20 percent.
  • A Benefit Update Rider that allows you to increase policy benefits every three years up to the maximum issue and participation limits, up to age 55, without medical evidence of insurability.
  • A Future Benefit Increase Rider that increases benefits based on the Consumer Price Index with a minimum of 4 percent compounded and maximum of 10 percent compounded.
  • A Catastrophic Disability Rider.

Standard Platinum Advantage

The Standard's disability insurance policies for physicians and dentists, Protector Platinum and Platinum Advantage, have all of the components along with several riders to create a tailored solution for maximum disability income protection. Standard has an A rating from A.M. Best. The policy includes:

  • An own-occupation provision as a rider on the policy. It applies to a dentist who has limited their regular occupation to a single specialty recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).
  • A maximum benefit period to age 70.
  • Unlimited mental disorder/substance abuse coverage in the base contract for all occupations.
  • Two options for cost-of-living adjustments, either a 3 percent or 6 percent maximum.
  • A basic residual disability rider that pays a residual benefit if you have at least a 20 percent loss of duties or time, AND at least a 20 percent loss of income.
  • An Automatic Increase Benefit Rider that provides a 4 percent compounded increase in the base monthly benefit, without evidence of insurability, that is renewable every five years.
  • A Future Increase Option available annually to age 55.
  • A Catastrophic Disability Rider.
  • Student Loan Rider.

MassMutual Radius

MassMutual's disability insurance policies, Radius and Radius Choice, features several options for tailoring disability coverage to specific needs and controlling premium expenses. The company has an A++ financial rating from A.M. Best. The policies offer:

  • An own-occupation definition of disability that is only available as a rider, not as part of he base policy. Under the rider, total disability is defined as when the insured cannot perform the main duties of their occupation. The insured must also be under a doctor’s care for their injury or illness.
  • Maximum benefit periods to 67 or 70, depending on the policy.
  • A maximum benefit period of 24 months for each period of disability caused, or contributed to, by a mental disorder.
  • A cost-of-living adjustment rider that increases your monthly benefit by a set percentage for each year you are disabled starting after the first 12 months of receiving benefits.
  • A residual benefit that requires at least a 15 percent loss of income.
  • A Future Increase Option available annually to age 55.
  • An Automatic Benefit Enhancement that provides 3 percent simple increases that are renewable every five years.
  • A Catastrophic Disability Rider.
  • Student Loan Protection.