According to the American Chiropractic Association, more than 35 million people visit chiropractors every year. These people come from all walks of life and all age groups for treatment of neuromuscular disorders, primarily through adjustments. While chiropractors are highly trained and careful in their application of therapeutic treatments, there can still be accidents and injuries that occur. In these cases, these care providers can be out thousands of dollars or more in court fees and settlements when a patient files a medical claim. Make sure you are well-protected in case of the worst with chiropractic malpractice insurance.
- What is Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance?
- When Do Chiropractors Need Malpractice Insurance?
- Is Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance Different from Physical Therapy Malpractice Insurance? And Why?
- How Much Does Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance Cost?
- Where to Find Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance?
What is Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance?
While many medical practitioners are familiar with the idea of medical malpractice insurance or nursing malpractice insurance, they may not be entirely familiar with what kind of coverage it provides. As a chiropractor, you may be just as liable as a medical doctor or nurse when a patient is accidentally injured, or feels that they have been hurt by your treatment. If a patient goes to court against your practice it could mean thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees and a settlement at the end. Chiropractic malpractice insurance will usually cover these expenses and much more, including:
- Lawyer’s fees
- Settlement costs
- Court fees
- Arbitration costs
- Medical/punitive/compensatory damages
Chiropractors should be aware that this malpractice insurance won’t cover every potential event. For instance, most insurers won’t pay out if the malpractice is the result of or involves criminal acts, sexual misconduct, or tampering with medical records. As long as your practice is above board and you try to follow the letter of the law in all interactions, there shouldn’t be any problems.
When Do Chiropractors Need Malpractice Insurance?
Deciding if you need chiropractic malpractice insurance, or professional liability insurance, may be a little complicated. Many larger clinics and organizations will provide some insurance coverage for their employees. So, if you are employed by a practice, you may be covered by their group insurance. Those working for a government organization may also be covered as local, state, and federal governments usually self-insure against liability claims. If you are working with one of these organizations, definitely reach out to the human resources department to make certain you are already insured and whether or not you additional malpractice insurance is necessary.
For instance, some group insurance plans will pay out on any potential settlements but they don’t cover additional costs, such as an attorney’s fee. In these cases, chiropractors would want to obtain additional insurance to cover the gap.
If you are an independent practitioner or not on a group plan, it is a good idea to obtain a personal chiropractic malpractice policy. This way you can always be certain that you have the coverage you need in all circumstances.
Is Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance Different from Physical Therapy Malpractice Insurance? And Why?
The professional liability insurance required for physical therapists versus chiropractors is very similar, as both need protection from potential damages and injury claims. Practitioners in both fields work with patients to improve movement and physical health. Where chiropractors provide manipulations and adjustments to the spine to get bones and muscles working properly, physical therapists focus on a variety of treatments and exercises to restore functional use of the body. The ideal is getting patients back to 100% mobility again.
It can be difficult to find insurers that specifically state they provide both chiropractic malpractice insurance and physical therapist malpractice insurance. Large organizations and hospitals may cover both providers under a group plan with a medical malpractice insurer. Otherwise, here are a couple of options for individuals and small clinics to consider:
- Presidio Insurance Solutions: This company provides malpractice insurance for a range of providers, including chiropractors, physical therapists, doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners.
- Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO): For more than 25 years, HPSO has provided insurance for medical care providers, including physical therapists and chiropractic assistants.
Different Types of Malpractice Insurance to Consider
Additionally, there are a few different types of malpractice insurance that are available. You’ll want to pick the one that best fits your needs and budget:
- Claims-made policy: Provides protection only if you have the policy when the incident occurred and when the patient files a claim. This insurance is less expensive initially and increased in price over time.
- Tail-coverage: You can purchase additional coverage that extends the protection afforded you in the event of a claim for a number of years after a claims-made policy is cancelled.
- Occurrence-based policy: These policies cover you no matter when the patient files a claim, as long as you were covered when the alleged incident occurred. This policy type is more expensive, but the price remains stable over time.
How Much Does Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance Cost?
The cost of chiropractic malpractice insurance varies depending on a few factors, including:
- Where you live and how often claims are filed in those cities and states.
- How long you’ve been licensed. Premiums tend to increase the longer you’ve been practicing.
- How many patients you see and how many hours are available for your practice.
- Whether you’ve had any previous claims brought against you.
Generally, it seems that chiropractic malpractice insurance is less costly compared to medical malpractice insurance for providers in other fields, such as physicians. The costs of insurance can range from the hundreds of dollars per year for chiropractors just starting out to thousands of dollars per year for those more experienced or for larger practices.
For example, ChiroSecure, a company specializing in chiropractic malpractice insurance, quoted $189 a year for a new chiropractor; and $705 a year for a chiropractor with 5 years of experience.
Where to Find Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance?
There are many insurance providers dedicated to serving the chiropractic industry, so it is easy to find malpractice coverage. You can approach an insurer directly or look for one through a brokerage firm. If you have a practice with multiple employees in different medical fields a broker can help you find a broader group coverage, or multiple coverages, such as medical malpractice, nurse malpractice, and physical therapist malpractice insurance.
However, if you are just looking for chiropractic malpractice insurance, consider approaching one of these providers to get started:
- ChiroSecure – Best for Online Quotes
- NCMIC – Best for Premium Dividends
- OUM – Best for Risk Management Services
- ChiroPreferred – Best Long-Established Insurer
ChiroSecure – Best for Online Quotes
In business for almost 30 years, ChiroSecure is a fairly well-established insurance company dedicated to chiropractic insurance. They are unique in offering a broad range of defense against lawsuits, including HIPAA violations, Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) claims, cyber liability claims, and defense during board investigations and hearings.
You can fill out their online form to get an instant quick quote for insurance. Simply input your:
- Zip Code
- Limits of Liability
- Date of Licensure
The initial quote for a yearly premium on a Chiropractor who was licensed on 1/1/2020 in Ohio with a liability limit of $1/$3 million was $188.36. That premium increases to $704.45 per year for the same chiropractor who was licensed five years ago. However, the website states the actual rate will depend on current licensure, previous claims, number of working hours, number of patients, and whether or not Prior Acts Coverage is needed.
NCMIC – Best for Premium Dividends
Having served chiropractors since 1946, NCMIC provides a range of insurance meant to cover the unique needs of those in this field. They also cover a range of defensive services, including state disciplinary board hearings, and private health insurance company billing audits. They are the nation’s largest provider of chiropractic malpractice insurance. NCMIC has also paid policyholders an annual premium dividend every year since 1996. Chiropractors may also qualify for additional discounts on their premiums.
NCMIC offers a quick quote, but requires more information from chiropractors before displaying a premium. You’ll be asked for:
- Contact Information
- Graduation Year
- Year of Licensure
- Type of Coverage
- Number of Patients/Hours Worked
- Desired Policy Limits
- Previous Claims
OUM – Best for Risk Management Services
The OUM Chiropractic Program provides comprehensive coverage for clients, and makes an additional risk management program available. This department helps chiropractors identify areas where there may be gaps in their insurance coverage, and to also minimize the potential for claims. Chiropractors who participate in the OUM Home Study Course can also get a discount on their policy premium for one year. OUM’s website also makes a number of general patient care and consent forms available for clients to use in their practices.
Chiropractors can fill out their online application to begin the policy coverage process or fill out an online request for a quote. It’s also possible to call them directly to request a free quote too.
ChiroPreferred – Best Long-Established Insurer
ChiroPreferred is a part of MedPro Group, a medical malpractice insurance company that has been serving clients since 1899. MedPro Group is also a Berkshire Hathaway Company, so chiropractors can expect highly experienced and professional service. They offer excellent numbers when it comes to claims defense, stating that they win up to 90% of cases.
You can contact the company by phone or fill out their online form requesting a free quote from one of their agents.
- Chiropractic malpractice insurance protects you and your practice in the event a patient files a claim that they were injured by your treatment.
- It’s very easy to find chiropractic malpractice insurance providers. There are many dedicated insurers in this field, some of which have been operating for decades.
- You may be covered by the group malpractice insurance your employer has already obtained. It is a good idea to check with your employer to be certain of what kind of coverage they have for you.
- Not many insurers provide online quotes, but you can get quick quotes from ChiroSecure and NCMIC.
- Yearly premiums for chiropractors are generally lower than for medical doctors, but they do increase the longer you practice.