The Insurance Information Institute states that a majority of doctors in the US will find themselves facing at least one medical malpractice liability lawsuit during the course of their career. That is why medical malpractice insurance is so important for medical practitioners across the country, including Arizona.
In fact, between 2009 and 2018, medical malpractice insurance companies paid out approximately $703,470,000 in claims filed just by Arizona’s medical professionals.
If you are looking for a solid and competitively priced medical malpractice insurance policy, independent insurance agents in Arizona can help. These experienced professionals can help you obtain and compare customized quotes from a variety of insurance carriers. Contact an insurance agent near you to get started.
What Is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance. It is specifically designed to cover physicians and other medical professionals if they are accused of causing patients to experience an injury, poor health, or death.
Medical malpractice insurance can benefit many different kinds of medical practitioners including:
If you are looking for a reliable medical malpractice policy, a local independent insurance agent can help.
Is Medical Malpractice Insurance Required in Arizona?
The state of Arizona does not require physicians to carry medical malpractice insurance. However, most hospitals and medical facilities require their staff to be covered. In many cases, the medical facilities will cover the costs.
Regardless of whether you are required to have it, medical malpractice is a good idea for most medical practitioners. It can protect you from large financial losses if you find yourself on the wrong end of a liability lawsuit.
Think a medical malpractice lawsuit can’t happen to you? Think again. A 2017 survey of 4,000 physicians found that 58% of doctors who had been sued were “very surprised” by the lawsuit, and 89% said they believed that the lawsuits brought against them were without merit.
Even if the courts rule in your favor, medical malpractice insurance can save you a lot of money by covering your legal defense fees and court costs.
How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost in Arizona?
Because the state of Arizona has not passed any meaningful tort reform, and because the state does not allow a cap on damages, rates for medical malpractice insurance in this state are among the more expensive in the country.
Your premiums will be based primarily on your medical specialty, your years practicing in that specialty, and your claims history. The rates can vary significantly from one specialty to the next.
In Arizona, low-risk medical specialists such as non-surgical ophthalmologists and psychiatrists may pay approximately $5,000 a year, while more high-risk professionals such as obstetricians and general surgeons can pay as much as $50,000 a year.
To find out how much a policy will cost you, contact a local independent insurance agent who can provide you with a selection of customized quotes from a few competing providers.
What Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
Malpractice lawsuits can happen to anyone in the medical profession. These lawsuits typically arise if a patient or a patient’s family believes that a medical professional has breached established medical protocol in such a way that it resulted in physical or emotional harm.
If you are on the wrong end of a medical malpractice lawsuit, your insurance provider can cover any associated court costs, legal defense fees, arbitration costs, settlements, and court-awarded judgments, including punitive and compensatory damages.
The most common reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits are:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to identify/diagnose a medical condition
- Treatment, surgical, obstetric, or medication errors
- Failure to adequately monitor patients
- Failure to provide suitable follow-up care to patients
- Inadequate record keeping / Insufficient patient records
- Miscommunication or lack of communication with patients or caregivers
Talk to your insurance agent to learn more about the coverage your medical malpractice insurance can provide.
What Doesn't Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
As with any insurance policy, medical malpractice coverage has exceptions and limitations. You can expect your insurance provider to deny claims involving:
- Sexual misconduct
- Criminal acts
- Inappropriate or misleading alteration of medical records
Your insurance company may also deny your claim if they discover that you lied or misrepresented facts when you applied for your policy.
Talk to a local independent agent to learn more about the limitations of medical malpractice insurance.
What Is the Difference between Claims-Made and Occurrence-Based Policies?
When purchasing coverage, you will need to choose between a claims-made and occurrence-based policy.
A claims-made medical malpractice policy provides coverage for claims filed between the time the policy goes into effect and the day it is canceled or expires. Medical professionals can extend this coverage in either direction by adding tail and/or nose coverage when they are buying their policies.
- Medical malpractice tail coverage: This is designed to protect the insured against incidents that occurred while the policy was still in effect, but claims were not filed by the claimant until after the policy ended.
- Medical malpractice nose coverage: This is designed to cover against incidents that occurred before the policy was in effect, but claims were filed after the policy’s start date.
Occurrence-based policies protect the insured against claims for any incidents that occurred while the policy was in effect, even if it has since been canceled or expired. If you have an occurrence-based policy, tail coverage is not necessary.
Talk to a local independent agent to learn more about these two types of medical malpractice insurance coverage.
Does Umbrella Insurance Cover Medical Malpractice?
Umbrella insurance is a great way to increase your liability protection on your home and vehicle coverage. However, umbrella insurance does not cover professional liabilities like medical malpractice.
Fortunately, most malpractice insurance providers offer very high coverage limits, so your inability to boost it with umbrella insurance should not be a problem.
How to Choose the Right Medical Malpractice Insurance Policy
If you are searching for the best medical malpractice insurance policy in Arizona, look no further than a local independent agent. These agents work for you, not for a particular insurance company, so they are able to shop around to find a policy that offers the coverage you need at the most affordable price.
There are more than 400 independent agents in Arizona. Discover how easy it can be to find an ideal medical malpractice policy by arranging an obligation-free consultation with an insurance agent near you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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