In today’s litigious world, there is no question that doctors and their medical practices need to protect themselves from possible lawsuits. Just one costly claim could have dire financial consequences affecting not only one member of your practice but the livelihood of your entire staff.
When considering the right type of coverage for you and/or your colleagues, you might be wondering what the difference is between malpractice insurance and professional liability insurance. After all, the terms do sound the same.
There is a subtle difference, however, and it is quite simple.
Medical Malpractice Insurance vs. Professional Liability Insurance
Medical malpractice insurance is a form of professional liability insurance used in the medical field that is designed for the higher claim costs arising from medical claims against doctors, nurses, dentists, and other medical professionals. Professional liability insurance is coverage for bodily injury or property damage that arises from the services provided by a medical professional.
By these definitions, medical malpractice insurance is considered a form of professional liability insurance. It is a type of financial coverage that protects healthcare professionals from lawsuits – whether due to a mistake or negligence or as a frivolous claim – that may arise over the course of their careers.
By no means is having medical malpractice insurance a sign of culpability on your part. In fact, many states and hospitals require medical professionals to carry malpractice insurance as a prerequisite to practice medicine in that state. If you don’t have medical liability insurance and are sued by a claimant, a very large payout could bankrupt you and/or your practice.
There are two distinct types of medical liability insurance:
- Claims-Made Policies – These are the most common type of medical malpractice insurance carried by physicians, and the one that offers the most protection against lawsuits. They provide coverage for incidents that occur during the policy period and claims that are actually filed during the policy period. What that means is if an incident occurs during your policy period, but the lawsuit is filed after the policy expires, you would not be covered for any damages sought. However, some claims-made medical liability insurance policies include tail coverage that extends coverage for a few years after the policy ends. If it doesn’t, you can purchase tail coverage, but it might cost twice as much as your annual malpractice insurance premium.
- Occurrence policies – These policies are less common and tend to be more expensive than claims-made policies but offer more protection per claim. They provide coverage for claims that are made during the policy period, as well as after the policy expires. In other words, you don’t need separate tail coverage.
Choosing the Right Malpractice Insurance for Your Medical Practice
Finding the best medical liability insurance for your practice is not always a simple process. Often, it requires the expertise and assistance of someone who can enable you to understand the complexity involved and choose the right medical malpractice insurance policy. That’s where we can help.
Our highly experienced team at eQuoteMD offers one of the largest medical malpractice insurance networks in the U.S. We work directly with malpractice insurance companies to provide coverage for all medical specialties, and we advocate for our clients to find them the best possible rates without forgoing optimum coverage.