This article was provided by Lockton Affinity, the administrator for the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program. Available insurance products include group term and level term life insurance, group disability insurance, critical illness insurance, cyber liability insurance, business overhead expense and more. Lockton Affinity is focused on enhancing the insurance program to ensure it continues to meet the changing needs of orthodontists. To learn more, contact Lockton Affinity at (844)-893-9888 or visit AAO-Insurance.com.
There are many situations in your personal and professional life in which insurance can be helpful. While all these situations may not occur in your life, the odds of them occurring and the financial burden they can cause make purchasing insurance worthwhile.
Common claim risks orthodontists may face include:
- You experience a critical injury or death
- A fire or flood damages the practice you own
- An employee or guest is injured at the practice you own
- A cybercriminal steals patient data from your practice
Though you may face these risks as an orthodontist, there are ways to help protect yourself and your practice through insurance.
Group Insurance Policies to Help Protect Against Common Claim Risks
First, it’s important to note that the way you practice will affect the type of insurance you need. But whether you are a practice owner or an employed orthodontist, there are some risks all orthodontists face.
The core products all orthodontists should consider are:
- Disability insurance*
- Life insurance*
- Critical illness insurance*
- Malpractice insurance
Common claim risk #1: You experience a disability and cannot work as an orthodontist.
Disability insurance protects your income as an orthodontist should you become disabled and unable to work due to a covered illness or disability as an orthodontist. After all—the odds of experiencing a disability may be higher than you may think.
According to the Council for Disability Awareness1, 1 out of 4 American workers experience a long-term disability at some point during their careers.
While you may be young and healthy, be aware that the most common disabilities are illnesses rather than accident-caused disabilities2, such as:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety
- Injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains of muscles and ligaments
Common claim risk #2: You experience a critical injury or death.
Life insurance helps provide financial stability for your loved ones in your absence. Critical illness insurance provides support and covers associated healthcare costs if you experience an unexpected covered critical illness.
Life and critical illness insurance policies may be especially important for orthodontists due to your highly specialized skills. The median salary for orthodontists is $208,000—much higher than the median annual wage of $39,810 for all workers3. You may expect to earn a higher income as an orthodontist for decades, providing financial stability for your family.
These policies can be especially beneficial if you are considering buying a practice and must take out a large loan.
Common claim risk #3: You make an error treating a patient or a patient alleges you made an error.
Malpractice insurance covers the cost of certain legal fees, and judgments/settlements that you may face as a result of litigation brought against you for the services you provide as an orthodontist.
Business Insurance Policies to Help Protect Against Common Claim Risks
If you own your own practice there are additional risks associated, so you may need additional coverage.
Common claim risk #4: You experience a disability and cannot work as an orthodontist.
Overhead expenses for orthodontic practices typically range from 49% to 60% of a practice’s total revenue4. After just a few months off due to a disability**, these expenses quickly add up, especially without income.
Group business/professional overhead expense insurance* helps cover business expenses such as rent, utilities, employees’ salaries and more in the event a covered disability keeps you from working.
Common claim risk #5: An employee makes a claim of wrongful termination against your practice.
Employment practices liability covers costs associated with employees’ claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination. These claims are on the rise and the average cost to settle out of court is about $75,000 per lawsuit5.
Common claim risk #6: A cybercriminal steals patient data from your practice.
Cyber liability provides coverage against the high costs of recovering from theft or breach of client data. The average cost per breached record is $4996. With hundreds or thousands of records on file, a cyber-attack without insurance can be worrisome for orthodontists.
Common claim risk #7: A guest is injured at the practice you own.
A business owner’s policy includes both property and general liability to protect your building and equipment, as well as coverage for third party claims of bodily injury and property damage. For example, if a patient trips and breaks their arm in your office, you may be responsible for the medical costs.
Common claim risk #8: An employee is injured at the practice you own.
Workers’ compensation protects your organization from the lost wages and medical costs you may have to pay to an employee who was injured on the job. Depending on your state of practice and the number of employees you have, this policy may be legally required.
Protecting Against Common Claim Risks
Insurance offers protection that orthodontists may need in their personal and professional lives. It can be a safety net should something go wrong, helping you recover without risking bankruptcy and everything you’ve worked to build.
Explore coverage options designed for AAO members at AAO-Insurance.com.
1 “The Chances of Becoming Disabled Are Rapidly Increasing.” Council for Disability Awareness: Prevention, Financial Planning, Resources and Information, Council for Disability Awareness. 2022.
2 “Causes of Disability; Why People Become Disabled.” Council for Disability Awareness: Prevention, Financial Planning, Resources and Information, Council for Disability Awareness, 2022,
3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, September 1, 2020.
4 Wilson, Susan. “The Universal Language of Business.” The Orthodontic Practice US, Gaidge, 31 July 2020.
5 “How Much Does EPLI Cost? Full Cost Breakdown.” Embroker, Dec. 2021.
6 Bitglass. Northwestern University, John Muir Health, The Wall Street Journal. 2021, Healthcare Breach Report 2021.
For more information including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, limitations and exclusions, visit AAO-Insurance.com.
The AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program is administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC d/b/a Lockton Affinity Insurance Brokers LLC, Affinity Administrator Services, LLC in California Insurance License Number 0795478, in Arizona Insurance License Number 1800004362 and in Arkansas Insurance License Number 100108685. Coverage may not be available in all states and is subject to actual policy terms and conditions. Policy benefits are the sole obligation of the issuing insurance company. American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) will receive a royalty fee for the licensing of its name and trademarks as part of the insurance program offered to the extent permitted by applicable law.
*Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010 on Policy Form GMR.