The Importance of Disability Insurance for the Young Dentist
by Dr. Laurene A. Grabill
The last thing on a recent graduate's mind is another bill, especially a bill for disability insurance, but I'd like to share with you my personal experience that demonstrates how important disability insurance can be.
My name is Laurene A. Grabill, DMD. I graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1997. Upon graduation, I joined my father's private practice as an employee. In early December 2000, my father and I incorporated.
In late December, my father found out he had colorectal cancer. He went through two months of chemotherapy and radiation. In April 2001, my father had surgery and was told he would return to work in six-eight weeks. Due to complication after complication, my father was never able to return to the practice of dentistry.
Here I was, $90,000 in debt from dental school, with a dental practice to run. My father had two different disability policies. The first policy was an overhead protection policy that had a 30-day waiting period. The money from this insurance policy helped me to keep the practice up and running. The second policy was an income replacement policy that also had a 30-day waiting period. This policy did not completely replace my father's income, but it was better than no income at all. (Today most disability policies have a 90-day waiting period, but I feel they are just as valuable when they are really needed.)
I purchased an income disability policy when I graduated, and, after my father and I incorporated, I purchased an overhead policy in the corporation's name. Every month I resent having to pay the premiums, but I have unfortunately seen firsthand what can happen without them. In order to run a successful business, money has to be spent, and debt must be incurred. The younger a person is when the policy is purchased, the lower the premiums are. The last thing on a recent graduate's mind is another bill, but take my advice, and look into a disability policy when you graduate. I hope you never have to use it, as I hope I never have to use mine.