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Compare medical malpractice insurance

Defend your reputation from claims that you caused a patient's harm or breached privacy.

Medical malpractice cases can arise years after treatment — meaning you should likely consider policies with occurrence or tail coverage that protect you even when the policy ends.

How does medical malpractice insurance work?

Insurance companies offer this type of policy to individual doctors or as a group policy to a hospital or clinic. Doctors who work as a hospital or clinic employee may get coverage through their employer or sometimes through the state government.

You can choose from two different types of policies:

  • Claims-made policy. This type of policy only protects you if the policy is in effect when you treat the patient and when the patient files the claim. Some companies provide extended tail coverage at an extra cost, which protects you for a limited time after a policy ends.
  • Occurrence policy. Coverage with this type extends to any treatments during the policy term, even if a patient files a claim after the policy ends.

What’s covered by medical malpractice insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance provides coverage to both healthcare professionals and their hospitals or clinics. While each insurance policy may differ a little, common coverage includes:

  • Medical malpractice. Covers the legal defense, settlement, medical and punitive costs for a medical malpractice claim.
  • Medical license. Ensures you get legal counsel if a board takes action against your medical license.
  • Privacy liability. Protects against claims for breaches in patient privacy.
  • Good Samaritan acts. Protects you from liability claims if you use your medical knowledge to help someone outside the workplace.
  • Public relations or reputation. Pays for public relations expenses needed to counter negative press or otherwise restore your reputation.
  • Medicare or Medicaid audit. Reimburses accounting or legal expenses from a Medicare or Medicaid audit.
  • Court attendance reimbursement. Covers lost wages if your insurance company needs you to show up in court.

What’s not covered?

This policy doesn’t cover every expense or type of liability related to your medical profession. Areas not covered include:

  • Altering medical records. Insurance will likely not cover an intentional act of this nature.
  • Criminal actions. Your insurance company won’t reimburse you for illegal acts.
  • Sexual misconduct. Illegal acts and harassment don’t get coverage, but some insurance companies will protect you if you’re proven innocent.
  • General liability. Protects against accidents and injuries caused by you or your staff unrelated to your medical practice, such as tripping over equipment.
  • Cyber liability. Medical malpractice insurance doesn’t protect against cybercrimes, such as exposed patient information or medical records.
  • Regulatory compliance. Your hospital or medical clinic won’t get covered for failing to meet HIPAA regulations.

What types of damage can a patient claim as medical malpractice?

A patient might look for compensation from a healthcare worker for these types of damage:

  • Pain and suffering. Also known as general damage, this includes compensation for lower life expectancy, reduced enjoyment of life and lost future income because of disabilities.
  • Compensatory or special damage. This type of coverage compensates the patient for expenses like medical treatment, in-house care and home modifications.
  • Lost income. If a patient has been unable to work because of medical negligence, they may recover that lost income under the special damage claim.
  • Punitive damage. A guilty medical professional may pay additional damage as a form of punishment, typically when the actions involved a high degree of recklessness or harm.
  • Survival statutes or wrongful death. If the doctor’s actions led to death, certain family members may qualify to receive compensation for expenses, pain and suffering or future lost income.

Who needs medical malpractice insurance?

A broad spectrum of healthcare professionals can benefit from this liability protection.

  • Chiropractors
  • Clinical trials
  • Dentists
  • Doctors and surgeons
  • Fitness trainers
  • Medical clinics
  • Nurses
  • Optometrists
  • Pathology laboratories
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Tattoo artists

How do I compare medical malpractice insurance?

Since you’re protecting your profession, consider these four factors when you’re shopping for medical malpractice insurance.

  1. Type of policy.
    While you might see a cost difference with a claims-made policy, consider the extended coverage time you’ll receive with an occurrence policy or by purchasing tail coverage.
  2. Claims support.
    Look at the claims resources on the company’s website and customer service ratings from the Better Business Bureau. You can also ask about the claims process before buying a policy to make sure it works with your situation.
  3. Financial stability.
    Since your policy should protect you for claims made even years after the treatment, choose a long-established company with a strong AM Best rating.
  4. Discounts.
    Different insurance companies may discount or lower your rates with group or employer discounts, reduced work hours or a claims-free history. You can compare the best discounts and benefits from multiple companies.

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Bottom line

Medical malpractice insurance covers a broad range of health professionals from paying the costly settlement of a patient’s claim, including legal expenses, lost income and medical bills. Shop around different business insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best protection and benefits.

Frequently asked questions about medical malpractice insurance

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