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Taking Inventory to Safeguard Your Practice

Thoroughly documenting your office contents ensures you have the right level of coverage and can speed up the claims process should a loss occur.

Take a quick moment to reflect on your practice. Imagine the space — the patient lounge, reception area, operatory and back office. Now, consider all of the many moving parts that come together to make your practice function — computer systems, phone systems, delivery systems, digital imagery, autoclaves and the list goes on and on. Lastly, name each piece of equipment you own, including the model number, serial number, purchase date and estimated value.  Not so easy, is it?

Relying on memory alone to recount your business assets is an exercise in futility. While most dentists have a general idea what they own and how much it’s worth, not all have a thorough, detailed inventory of their office contents. Unfortunately, failing to document all items of value can lead to a shortage of insurance coverage should a loss occur.

The Dentists Insurance Company reports many cases in which dentists have failed to conduct accurate inventories of their office contents and subsequently did not purchase enough coverage. In one case, a dentist purchased only $580,000 in coverage for a practice with 12 operatories, which had a value of at least $1.2 million — not including the value of the reception area, break room or sterilization room. In another case, the building in which a dentist housed her practice suffered a fire, and while her property was unaffected, she was forced to relocate. But with four operatories and 1,600 square feet, her $287,000 coverage was hardly enough to rebuild her practice in a new location. 

Waiting until after a loss occurs to conduct an inventory can slow down the claims process and dentists risk inaccurate reimbursements due to unaccounted for and overlooked items. Conducting thorough inventories preemptively avoids additional and unnecessary stress following a loss. Being proactive, rather than reactive, results in a smoother claims process and a reimbursement amount more in line with the true value of the loss.   

While a manual method or spreadsheet can suffice, taking inventory of your property has never been easier with apps and software designed especially for this purpose. Tools marketed for conducting home inventories can also work well for documenting business personal property. Many walk users through the process step-by-step, storing the information securely online. Following are two popular options, though it should be noted that neither are endorsed by TDIC.


An app designed to inventory home belongings, Encircle’s intuitive, photo-based interface can also be used to quickly and accurately take a visual inventory for a small business. Both mobile and desktop accessible, data can be exported to PDF or Excel. The home inventory app is free on the App Store and Google Play.


This easy-to-use app allows you to take photos and videos of each item, along with capturing serial numbers, values or links to product manuals. Group items by category, location or condition, add custom fields to track every detail,  and even generate custom barcodes and QR labels. The app features automatic backups, secure cloud-based syncing and an offline mode. Available for Apple and Android devices with a free or low-cost monthly/yearly plan. 

As a TDIC policyholder, you can refer to your declaration insert to determine your individual policy’s coverage limits. To make adjustments, contact a TDIC advisor who can work with you to assess the value of your office’s contents and develop a coverage plan that ensures you are not under- or over-insured.

Ensure your practice — and everything in it — is taken into account. Failing to document all contents can lead to stress and frustration should a loss occur. Taking complete and regular inventories of your office contents allows you to purchase the coverage that’s right for you and ease the process of filing a claim.


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