Go to content

About the service and policy

By taking out BDA Indemnity, you'll have access to dento-legal support from the BDA, plus professional liability insurance from RSA Insurance Ltd.

It's a unique service offering comprehensive, contractual and bespoke cover for members. Contractual certainty means a legally-binding right to cover

It's cover for modern dentistry – the treatments that were once exceptional but are now day-to-day

Our service​

  • We won’t just give in to pressure to settle and make cases go away: we’ll do what’s right in each and every case
  • There’s no limit on how often you can speak to our Indemnity Team, and calling won’t penalise premiums
  • It’s a bespoke policy and service, designed with fairness at its heart, to protect members from the wide-ranging issues they may face
  • We have a flexible category structure so you only pay for what you do. That means dentists won’t be subsidising the risks of other dentists or medical colleagues, or peers in other countries.

Key facts about the policy

You'll get advisory, case management and indemnity support from the BDA. Read about our cover and promises.

Not all indemnity policies are the same. BDA Indemnity provides you with a professional shield against legal and regulatory challenges. We already fight hard for our members and dentists alike, and believe that our insurance simplifies your dental experience; giving you the peace of mind you deserve. Download our brochure.

Read more about our agreement with you, the member, in our terms of business

Policy documents

RSA policy - summary

RSA policy - full wording

Switching is straightforward

Choosing your professional indemnity arrangement is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your professional life; apart from the obvious financial consequences, it can make the difference between being able to continue practising or not.

This is a personal choice, with personal consequences; it is not a purchase that should be determined by price alone. No two indemnity products will be the same, so any price comparisons will not be on a like-for-like basis.

How to change provider

​1. Check what kind of cover you have. It'll either be occurrence-based or claims-made. We can advise you on the differences.  

2. Get an indicative quote from us. It'll take just a few minutes to get an indicative price emailed to you.

3. Check when your existing cover is due to be renewed. This date will appear on your certificate of membership or other correspondence from your existing provider. Gather the information you need to complete the application form. Here's a checklist of what you will need to hand. 

4. Complete the application form by using the link within your quote email. In many cases we can confirm your acceptance within two working days. In some cases we may need further information but we'll contact you to let you know.

Leaving your current provider

Mutual defence organisations

If you have had occurrence-based indemnity from a mutual provider up to the date of change to BDA Indemnity, you will still have a right to apply to them at any time in the future to request discretionary assistance and indemnity for any new matters that surface in the future from your period of membership with them. They would normally continue to assist you with any existing cases where applicable. 

Commercial insurers

If you have a policy of claims-made insurance which provides cover up to the date of change, and have already reported an actual or potential claim to them, they must continue to cover you for that case.

You should check that policy wording to establish whether or not you can continue to report new claims that surface in the future, relating to that period - and if so, whether any time limits and/or other terms and conditions apply. If you are not sure, contact your current provider for guidance:

Please note, calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes. 

Your questions answered

About the policy

With occurrence-based cover, as long as you are paying the right subscription rate at the time the incident occurred that later gave rise to a claim, you will be covered in perpetuity. This means that if you did something negligent but retired the next day and stopped your payments, even if the complaint and legal claim is made against you three years later, your policy will respond.

Ours is insurance-based indemnity which operates on the same basis as other forms of insurance. The policy wording specifies what is covered by this agreement as well as being transparent about the term, conditions and policy exclusions.  If you are declined cover, you can complain to the BDA in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied with the final response from BDA, you can then refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). That same legal protection does not exist with discretionary cover: the organisation can exercise its absolute discretion not to assist you, even if you are in the right subscription category, have paid the correct fees and the matter is within the scope of cover – and there is no independent source of adjudication. Whilst it rarely happens, as a mutual fund, a refusal to assist an individual member can be argued to be justified on the basis that incurring the costs of the case would not be in the interests of other members.

It's a unique policy designed for dentists and dentistry. It's specifically designed for UK dentists and the wide range of work they do. The cover is for all the things that dentists generally do, including tooth whitening and dental implants (including sinus lifts and bone grafts), the dental specialty of oral surgery and the use of cosmetic injectable procedures throughout the face.

Because this is a policy for dentists who are delivering dentistry, the medical specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery is not covered.  Procedures in the neck or other parts of the body are not included, and certain types of specialised cosmetic facial procedures (even when used in the face) are similarly excluded. See our flowchart to assess whether or not the surgical procedures you carry out are covered.

When a patient makes a claim, they may pursue a company (or owners), as well as an individual dentist. A Limited Company (or PLC/LLP) is a legal entity in its own right and could face legal action itself. In addition, NHS contracts may require such cover to be in place. You therefore need to ensure that your business has indemnity cover itself. This is referred to by different providers as entity cover, corporate indemnity, corporate medical malpractice or contingent liability. Find out more including arranging entity cover with Lloyd & Whyte, the BDA’s financial services partner.


Any GDC-registered UK dentist can get a quote and we'd encourage you to do so. Members can apply after receiving the quote. 

Once you have an indicative quote, use the link within the email to apply, as it connects your quote and application in our system. 


This application information is what you'll need to gather in order to apply.

Many dentists working in various branches of the salaried services are oblivious to the variety of ways that gaps can exist in their professional protection. Our cover is designed to 'wrap around' the employer-provided indemnity, giving the member extra peace of mind.

If you join the BDA to take advantage of the indemnity cover but your application is unsuccessful, we will refund your membership fee. If you upgrade from one package to another to be eligible to purchase the cover then we will refund the difference and revert your membership to the original package.

About entity cover

As a result of recent legal decisions in cases brought against dental practices, it has become clear that both individual practice owners and any entity (Limited Company or partnership) that owns and operates a dental practice, could be held liable for the actions of a self-employed dental associate who may have provided negligent treatment to a patient seen in the practice. This is not a new law, but reflects recent changes in the approach being taken by patients' legal representatives, especially those conducting cases on a 'no win-no fee' basis. These firms are encouraging patients to sue a practice owner (or entity) rather than the dentist(s) who actually carried out the treatment.

Increasingly in recent years, both practice owners and associate dentists have set up limited companies on the advice of their financial advisors to manage their dental income and their tax position. NHS Providers have also chosen to incorporate in order to protect their NHS contract and goodwill value.

Whilst all practising dentists are required by law to have their own professional indemnity in place, to cover their own acts and omissions, it is important to note that in most cases this indemnity arrangement is personal to the individual dentist and will not cover claims brought against the Limited Company, this being a separate legal entity.

This means that a claim which is brought against the entity that you have shares in would only be covered if the entity has its own separate insurance, or if the entity is specifically named as a party covered by your personal insurance policy (or membership of a discretionary indemnity provider). Failing that, the company could be forced to pay any damages and the patient's legal expenses out of its own resources, and additionally to find and pay for its own legal representation and other costs incurred in defending the claim.

No. It is only available to limited companies which are wholly or partly owned by one or more BDA Indemnity policyholder(s). Those policyholders must collectively own 50% or more of the company. Only individual registered dentists who are in an appropriate tier of membership can apply for and hold a BDA Indemnity policy.

Yes to both. Although many organisations choose to offer entity cover only on a 'claims made' basis, or on a discretionary basis (or worse still, a discretionary claims made basis), BDA Indemnity was set up with the deliberate intention of avoiding the many gaps that can arise in relation to claims made cover. Reflecting that, and the fact that a practice owned by a Limited Company might face additional vulnerability because of these gaps, we have taken care to ensure that both individuals and entities can enjoy the added protection of occurrence based, contractual indemnity insurance.

This is particularly valuable in the case of claims which relate to treatment which was provided by dentists who no longer work at the practice, perhaps having left many years ago. Occurrence based indemnity provides cover in perpetuity, irrespective of how many years later a claim is brought and without the need to buy any additional ('run off') cover.

Not in terms of the number of dentists, or the number of practices/sites. But the BDA represents, advises and supports dentists, and BDA Indemnity was never designed to cover large corporates, especially not those which are majority-owned by non-dentists. For that reason, and to avoid smaller dental practices having to subsidise the larger corporate groups, we have chosen to use gross turnover as an approximate measure of practice size, limiting our entity cover to those with an annual gross turnover of £2million or less. Below that level, the pricing varies for different levels of turnover. Above that figure we will obtain a quote directly from RSA.

No. It is an optional extension to a BDA Indemnity policy held by any individual dentist who wholly or partly owns a Limited Company. The Schedule to the dentist's own BDA Indemnity Insurance Policy is endorsed to confirm that the entity becomes an additional named Policyholder. So the cover and policy wording is identical to that for an individual dentist, and the aggregate £10 million limit of cover for any policy year is for both the individual and the entity.

​Pricing and payments

The cover has been arranged putting members at the heart of it. It's unique to dentistry and we've worked hard to price it so it's fair and accessible. There will be members for whom our price isn't cheaper than their current provider, but hopefully the combined package of membership plus indemnity over is worth more than the sum of its parts.

Remember, not all policies and scope of cover are the same.