Medical Malpractice Insurance

Doctors Liability Insurance: The Coverage to Protect You and Your Practice

The right coverage can allow you to continue healing the public for years to come.

Doctor reviews her patient's records on her computer in her office. Find doctors liability insurance.

When you work in the health field and lives are literally on the line, you’ve got to take numerous extra precautions to protect yourself and your career. One such action involves getting set up with the right coverage just in case of disaster. That means finding adequate doctor's liability insurance.

Fortunately an independent insurance agent can help you get set up with the right kind of doctor's liability insurance for your needs. Better yet, they’ll get you equipped with the proper coverage long before you ever need to actually use it. But first, here's a closer look at this crucial protection.

What Is Doctor's Liability Insurance?

Doctor's liability insurance, also called medical malpractice insurance, is a type of coverage designed for professionals who work in the medical field, including physicians, dentists, druggists, psychologists, and more. This coverage is critical for medical professionals to guard against lawsuits for accidental injuries or death. An independent insurance agent can help you and your practice get equipped with the necessary doctor's liability insurance for your field.

What Does Doctor's Liability Insurance Cover?

Doctor's liability insurance is a special form of professional liability insurance designed to protect professionals in the medical field. This coverage protects medical professionals from the legal expenses required to defend and settle medical malpractice lawsuits, as well as settlement fees if they’re found to be liable for the claim.

Doctor's liability insurance covers the following

  • Costs of medical damage
  • Costs of punitive and compensatory damages
  • Costs of arbitration and settlement
  • Costs of attorney and court fees

Your independent insurance agent can further explain the critical protections provided by medical malpractice insurance, and why you need it.

What Are the Main Types of Doctor's Liability Insurance?

Doctor's liability or medical malpractice insurance comes in two basic forms. It's important to get your practice equipped with the type that works best for you. Here are the major forms of doctor's liability coverage.

  • Claims-made medical malpractice insurance: This coverage only reimburses the policyholder if the service is provided and the claim is made while the policy is in force.
  • Occurrence medical malpractice insurance: This coverage reimburses the policyholder if the service is provided while the policy is in force, regardless of when the claim gets filed.

An independent insurance agent can help you determine which type of medical malpractice insurance makes the most sense for you.

What Doesn't Doctor's Liability Insurance Cover?

Doctor's liability insurance unquestionably provides a ton of critical coverage for professionals in the medical field, but it doesn’t cover just everything. Coverage also comes with its own set of exclusions.

  • Criminal acts
  • Inappropriate alteration of medical records
  • Intentional and dishonest acts
  • Sexual misconduct liability

An independent insurance agent can help address any concerns you may have about what you doctor's liability insurance policy excludes.

Who Sells Doctor's Liability Insurance?

Leading medical professional liability insurance companies in North America, by direct premiums (in million US dollars)

leading-medical-professional-liability-insurers-north-america-by-premiums

Currently, the Berkshire Hathaway Group is the leading insurer for doctor's liability coverage in the US, with $1.7 billion in direct written premiums. Other industry leaders include CNA Insurance Group ($609 million) and Liberty Mutual ($262 million).

An independent insurance agent can help you determine if the doctor's liability coverage provided by any of these leading insurance carriers is right for you.

Options for Purchasing Doctor's Liability Insurance

When shopping for doctor's liability insurance, you often have a few different options, including the following.

  • Policies held by an employer, like a hospital
  • Policies from a traditional private insurer, either individual or group coverage
  • Policies offered through a medical risk retention group (i.e., a medical professionals organization that provides doctor's liability coverage)

Doctors and other medical professionals don't need medical malpractice insurance if they work for the Federal government. The Federal government is already self-insured against lawsuits. However, other medical professionals need to find enough coverage for themselves as an employee, for their practice, as well as for their employees, if applicable.

Common Doctor's Liability Insurance Claims

There are numerous reasons doctors and other medical professionals get sued on a regular basis. A doctor might prescribe a medication that makes a patient ill, who in turn decides to press charges. 

Wrongful diagnosis is another common claim against doctors. Whether you're actually found guilty or not, it's imperative to have enough coverage for yourself and your practice before a lawsuit ever arises.

Most common doctor's liability insurance claims

Most Common Doctor's Liability Insurance Claims.

Diagnostic errors account for one-third of all doctor's liability claims. Surgical and procedural errors account for one-fourth. Fortunately doctor's liability insurance can protect you against lawsuits relating to any of these disasters, and more.

Who Needs Doctor's Liability Insurance?

Anyone in the medical field who provides treatment to patients should have their own medical malpractice insurance. This crucial coverage is needed by the following professionals.

  • Physicians, specialists, and surgeons
  • Dentists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Psychiatrists

All of these professionals’ assistants also need medical malpractice insurance. An independent insurance agent can help insure your whole team.

How Much Does Doctor's Liability Insurance Cost?

Coverage costs for doctor's liability insurance can vary greatly, depending on your profession and more. Here are some of the key factors that go into your policy's premium.

  • Your professional specialty (e.g., doctor, psychiatrist, etc.)
  • How many years of experience you have
  • If you work full-time, part-time, etc.
  • Your claims history, or any outstanding claims

Many medical professionals pay between $4,000 to $12,000 annually for their coverage. Surgeons, however, pay quite a bit more, often anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 annually. An independent insurance agent can find exact medical malpractice insurance quotes for your area.

How Do Doctor's Liability Insurance Limits Work?

The limits provided in your doctor's liability insurance work similarly to those included in your car insurance. 

Doctor's liability insurance limits often look like this: $1 million/$3 million

  • The $1 million is the maximum amount your insurance will pay out per claim.
  • The $3 million is your maximum amount of coverage provided by your insurance every year.

So, if you had three claims that all needed $1 million payouts, you'd have exhausted all of your medical malpractice coverage for that year. An independent insurance agent can help you get set up with a policy that works best for you.

Doctor's Liability Insurance FAQ

Only seven states require doctors to have liability insurance by law. However, having coverage is crucial to protect yourself and your practice and employees against costly professional errors.

Technically, if you work in a state where medical malpractice insurance is not required by law, you could practice without this coverage. But the doctor would be risking their entire business operation without the right doctor's liability insurance. Just one lawsuit could cost millions of dollars to settle.

Many medical professionals pay between $4,000 to $12,000 annually for their coverage. Surgeons, however, pay quite a bit more, often anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 annually. An independent insurance agent can find exact medical malpractice insurance quotes for your area.

Physicians, specialists, surgeons, dentists, anesthesiologists, nurses and nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists all need doctor's liability insurance. These medical professionals' assistants all need their own coverage, as well.

No, these two terms are often used interchangeably. Doctor's liability insurance is the same thing as medical malpractice insurance.

You need enough doctor's liability insurance to protect you against any possible lawsuits that may arise within the coverage period. This could mean a policy with a limit of $5 million or more. An independent insurance agent can help you determine the right amount of coverage for you.

You'll need to ask to review your company's policy, and also consult an independent insurance agent. It's always a safe idea to have more coverage from the very beginning.

The Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent

When it comes to helping insurance customers find the absolute best doctor's liability coverage, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who sell doctor's liability insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

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