How Much Does Malpractice Insurance Cost?

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Cost is a major factor in any insurance purchase, and that’s especially the case if you’re purchasing malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance is a costly investment, but it’s one that’s well worth it in a world with increased litigation against health care providers and other professionals. Below we’ll cover example prices of malpractice insurance and what exactly affects those costs. 

The Costs of Malpractice Insurance by Different Healthcare Professions

Below are some prices you can expect to pay in malpractice insurance annual premiums for different professions. The first three came from an American Medical Association study. It listed premiums for $1 million/ $3 million limit policies in Los Angeles, Calif. Pharmacies rates cover general and professional liability and prices are listed by CoverWallet. The dentist listing is for general estimates from Insureon for general liability premiums annually with a $1 million per occurrence limit. The therapist price is for general liability and is an estimate from Insureon.         

Obstetrics/Gynecology $49,804
General Surgery$41,775
Internal Medicine$8,274
Pharmacies $1,668
Dentists $490
Therapists $350

Depending on the profession and the level of risk it contains, rates can run from hundreds of dollars annually all the way to tens of thousands of dollars. If you are interested in shopping for malpractice insurance for any healthcare professions, you might find the articles below useful.

Why Is Malpractice Insurance So Expensive?

The number one factor that affects malpractice insurance prices is the claim limit. These are divided by occurrence limits and aggregate (or total) limits. For instance, you might have a $1 million occurrence limit and a $3 million aggregate limit. It’s important to talk to an insurance agent about what level of coverage makes sense for your type of practice. 

Another factor that affects the cost is the type of service you provide. You’ll notice above that someone who works in general surgery pays far more in malpractice insurance than someone who’s a therapist. That’s because the more high-risk the profession, the more open you are to lawsuits and the higher the damages tend to be. A surgeon could amputate a wrong arm, whereas a therapist could give poor advice. 

There are also smaller considerations that can affect the price. For instance, you could save on premiums if you pay the premium upfront. Sometimes a company takes into account how long you have been in business or practicing. The state in which you practice can also affect how much you pay. Like any type of insurance, claims in your past can also raise your rates.  

You might also want to look into occurrence vs. claims-made policies. Claims made only covers incidents that happened and were reported while you were insured with that company. Occurrence gives lifetimes coverage for incidents that occurred with the policy was in effect, regardless of when it was reported. Occurrence policies tend to be more expensive due to the expanded coverage.  

What is Malpractice Insurance?

Malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance. It covers health care professionals in case a lawsuit filed against them. Other professions usually refer to it as simply professional liability insurance. Sometimes lawyers will call it legal malpractice insurance.    

Lawsuits may be filed if a patient or client feels they were harmed by professional negligence or even intentionally harmful treatment. That’s where the name “malpractice insurance” comes from.  

How to Shop for Malpractice Insurance?

Malpractice insurance is commonly sold by insurance providers that cover malpractice or professional liability insurance alone. One example is CM&F, which covers malpractice insurance for a wide range of health professions, from holistic medicine practitioners to surgical health care professionals.

With so many companies out there, it’s important to shop around for the best rates. It can pay to compare between the specialist insurers and even generalist insurers like The Hartford, CNA or Mercer.  

Another option is to find quotes from online brokers like CoverWallet or Insureon. Often, these sites will give you a page of side-by-side comparisons so you can find the best rates.

How to Save on Malpractice Insurance?

One of the best ways to save is to shop around and compare, which we mentioned above.  Quotes should be free and come without obligation.  

Some other ideas to save on malpractice insurance include:

  • Work with an agent to see how much coverage you need and don’t pay for too much.
  • See which discounts you can qualify for, such as larger practice discounts, new to practice discounts, association discounts, few claim discounts or longevity/insurer loyalty discounts. 
  • Sometimes you can also get discounts by proving you have taken action to minimize the risk of a lawsuit, like taking risk management courses or having communication plans in place. 

With how expensive malpractice insurance can get, every little bit of savings can help, from comparing rates to finding discounts.

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

More Stories

6 Best Malpractice Insurance for Nurse Practitioners for 2023

Nurse practitioners have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to patient care. Many nurse practitioners assume that because they work under a doctor and their employer provides some level of malpractice insurance, they’re covered. It may be worth it to purchase your own policy, however. Employer malpractice insurance is to protect the employer, […]

6 Best Malpractice Insurance Companies for Nursing Students

You’re looking forward to graduation. You’re doing your clinical rotation in some different departments, and you’re glad you’ve chosen nursing. If you’re only a student, why do you need malpractice insurance? You don’t even have your own patients yet! Sadly, as society gets more and more litigious, nursing students may find themselves held accountable for […]

6 Best Malpractice Insurance for Physician Assistants for 2023

You’ve worked hard to graduate and become a Physician’s Assistant. Naturally, you’ll want to protect yourself from mistakes and malpractice claims, which seem to multiply every year. What companies are worth getting a quote from? Who are the best providers of malpractice insurance?  The 6 Best Providers of Malpractice Insurance for Physician Assistants We gathered […]

7 Best Malpractice Insurance for Physical Therapists in 2023

Physical therapists are responsible for helping injured or ill people recover their mobility and ease their pain. It’s a lot of responsibility, especially with your hands on the patients some of the time. Accidents can happen, and sometimes physical therapists can get sued. Should you carry your own malpractice insurance? With the average cost of […]

6 Best Social Work Malpractice Insurance Companies for 2023

Social work isn’t one of those professions most people associate with lawsuits. After all, social workers are there to help people, so it seems unlikely on the surface that they’d be sued. However, malpractice lawsuits can happen to social workers, too. So below we’ll look at the scenarios where social work malpractice insurance comes into […]

6 Best Legal Malpractice Insurance Companies for 2023

It seems counterintuitive that lawyers would need to source their own malpractice insurance.  After all, do the people filing the malpractice suits really get sued themselves? Lawyers themselves can actually be sued for a number of reasons: claims of negligence, breach of confidentiality, administrative errors, missing filing deadlines, and professional misconduct. And as any lawyer […]

6 Best Providers for Cheap Chiropractic Malpractice Insurance in 2023

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 […]

Top 10 Malpractice Insurance Companies for 2023

You have many options when it comes to finding malpractice insurance. A type of professional liability insurance, most major small business insurers offer some sort of malpractice insurance coverage. To help you find the best options, we’ve outlined the 10 best malpractice insurance companies below. 1) Proliability: Best for buying process  Proliability has been in […]

Malpractice Insurance Costs by Specialty (2023 Rates)

Malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance. Malpractice insurance most often applies to healthcare workers and lawyers. This type of insurance protects you if you are sued to have made any mistakes that harm a client or a patient.  Different professions might cause different types of risks in their work, therefore malpractice insurance […]

Top 5 Professional Liability Insurance for Federal Employees

The Federal government is the nation’s largest employer. Federal employees include anyone from law enforcement to working for the forest service. Federal Employees have the same risk of being accused of misconduct or mistakes as their peers in the private sector do.  There is a special kind of professional liability insurance, or sometimes called malpractice […]