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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dental Malpractice Insurance for the New-to-Practice Dentist

You are a dentist ready to begin practice. You have spent years in dental school. You may have student loans that you need to begin paying. You have expenses that seem overwhelming. Have you considered dental malpractice insurance?

The good news is that the process is relatively simple and discounts for dental malpractice insurance for the new dentist are widely available.

First, contact an insurance agent who specializes in sales and service of dental malpractice insurance. A general lines agent will likely represent several dental malpractice insurance companies. This is important to give you a choice based on premium, coverage, and strength of the company. You must have a valid license to begin the process and you must complete an application. Unless there are complications, the policy can likely be written within 24 hours.

Two types of dental malpractice insurance policies are widely available: claims-made and occurrence. Your agent can explain the differences to you and recommend the best option for your particular situation. We generally recommend a claims-made policy unless the “tail” becomes an issue with your future employer.

Rates vary by state. Florida is one of the more expensive states for dental malpractice insurance. The good news is that there are several strong dental malpractice insurance companies operating in Florida, thereby keeping dental malpractice premiums down.
Most dental malpractice companies offer premium discounts to the new dentist. These range from new-to-practice discounts to risk management discounts to discretionary discounts for larger dental groups. Some dental malpractice companies rate up for procedures such as surgical placement of implants or extraction of impacted teeth. Some rate up for IV and IM sedation. All will rate up if you are an Oral Surgeon or practice under general anesthesia.
Your agent should recommend other coverages to lessen your potential exposure to risk, such as cyber liability coverage and coverage from wrongful employee dismissal and sexual harassment claims.

Talk with your dental malpractice agent about your entire insurance program. He or she should be able to assist you in creating a package of insurance protection that will last throughout your career.

One more suggestion regarding professional liability insurance: inquire if you can add additional coverage, such as wrongful employee dismissal and sexual harassment claims, to your malpractice policy. It will increase the cost of your annual premium, but it is well worth it.

Barbara Gracey Backer

Barbara Gracey Backer is the Vice-President of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Professional and Personal Insurance. She may be contacted at 800-272-6055 X118 or at

What is the difference between a flood insurance claim and a water damage claim on a homeowner’s insurance policy in Florida?

This is question we get all the time from our clients. “I had water damage to my home. Should I file a claim under my homeowner’s insurance policy or under my flood insurance policy?” The answer is important because water damage losses are very expensive, unanticipated, and could be excluded if you have the wrong policy.

Water damage coverage on a homeowner’s policy

The typical homeowner’s policy form (HO-3, Special Form) covers all risks of direct physical loss to your home including water damage, but with significant exclusions and limitations. Generally speaking, your homeowners policy will pay for “sudden and accidental water damage” from inside your home. It generally does NOT cover losses caused by water that rises from the ground and comes in from the outside. (A breach of the roof or wall by wind with water entering is covered.) A good rule of thumb to remember is: where the water originated will ultimately determine whether there is coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Under a homeowner’s policy, water damage is a covered loss when it is caused by leakage of an inside water pipe (behind a wall or under a sink) or caused by leakage from an appliance (hot water heater, washing machine or dishwasher).

In all cases of a covered loss, the property deductible applies.

Interesting caveat: The expense of repairing damage caused by water is covered by the homeowner’s policy; however, the policy does NOT pay for repair of the faulty item, such as the hot water heater or the water pipe. Damage to the item which was compromised because of old age, erosion, or defective materials or construction, is never part of a covered loss. The policy will pay to access the damage, such as cutting a hole in the wall to reach a broken pipe and then repairing the cut in the wall.

Water damage on a flood insurance policy

Flood insurance is responsible for covering water damage to your home caused from the outside. The National Flood Insurance Program defines flood as follows: A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.

Remember that if it rains in Florida, it can flood in Florida. Any time you enter the State of Florida you enter a flood zone! Besides rain, other conditions can cause flooding: hurricanes and tropical storms, broken levees, and clogged or faulty drainage systems.

Just because we in Florida have not experienced a flood recently does not mean that we will not in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history. It is also based on a number of factors such as rainfall, tidal surges, topography, flood-control precautions and changes due to building and development. Even development in another city in Florida can create flooding in our area.

The government has made flood-hazard maps to show the risk of flooding in different areas of the community. This map partially determines the cost of flood insurance based on the flood zone. Obviously, the lower the degree of risk, the lower the cost of flood insurance.

John Gracey Backer, CPA

John Gracey Backer, CPA, is the Treasurer of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Malpractice, Professional and Personal Insurance for the Healthcare Provider. He can be contacted at 800-272-6055 ext 128, or at

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