Lawsuits against the medical field are something you hear about quite frequently. You hear about it from ads talking about legal compensation for failed medical implants to news stories about doctors who are sued for completing a procedure improperly. As a doctor, even if you work for a hospital, you may not be fully covered in a lawsuit. So it’s important to look into medical malpractice insurance. Below we cover who should have it, how much it costs, the 7 best medical malpractice insurance companies.
- The Best 7 Providers of Medical Malpractice Insurance
- What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
- When Do Doctors Need Malpractice Insurance?
- How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost?
- Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover Other Medical Professionals like Nurses, Dentists, Pharmacists, Physical Therapists, Psychologists, and Optometrists, etc.?
- Medical malpractice insurance in selected states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, California, and Florida.
The Best 7 Providers of Medical Malpractice Insurance
Since medical malpractice insurance is so complex, you have a few options for how to go about finding it. You can go directly through a company the specializes in this type of professional liability insurance. It might also make sense to go through a brokerage firm that specializes in finding and comparing policies for you. You can also find medical malpractice insurance through major insurers that have partnerships in the malpractice industry.
- CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Online Quotes
- Allied World Insurance: Best for Doctors and Nurses Working in Several Countries
- Berxi Medical Malpractice Insurance (also offered through Geico): Industry partnerships
- HSPO: Focusing on professional liability insurance for healthcare professionals
- Gallagher Malpractice Insurance: Comprehensive brokerage services
- Medpro Group: Comprehensive coverage
- Norcal Group: Length of time operating
CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Online Quotes
Just like buying personal insurance lines like car or life insurance, in order to get the best medical malpractice insurance, you need to compare quotes of several carriers. However, it is not always easy to do that in the world of business insurance since many companies do not offer online quotes yet. That’s where CoverWallet steps in.
CoverWallet is a leading commercial insurance broker. They work with several leading business insurance companies. They are able to provide online quotes of these companies for you to compare and select the best one for you. They are working with Berxi, Liberty Mutual, Hiscox, Nationwide, Travelers, etc.
Allied Malpractice Insurance: Best for Doctors and Nurses Working in Several Countries
Allied Health Insurance offers healthcare liability insurance for everyone from ACO (Accountable Care Organization) to managed care to medical malpractice insurance. True to their name, they have an international presence and can insure anyone in the following regions:
- Hong Kong
- Europe/The U.K.
- United States
It is the best option for doctors or registered nurses who work in several countries such as those working for WHO or International SOS or Doctors Without Borders, etc.
Every policy offers a comprehensive risk assessment so you can try to prevent lawsuits before they happen. You can get coverage of $1M/$3M, with higher limits available.
You can’t get a quote online: you can get more information by calling the person listed as a contact. In the U.S. there is one for the East zone and one for the west. You can also email them for more information.
Berxi Medical Malpractice Insurance: Best for Industry Partnerships
Geico has a page stating that it offers medical malpractice insurance. However, further down on the page it states that Geico is partnered with Berxi, a division of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. Berxi is the company that offers the malpractice insurance. Getting a quote takes you to a Berxi site.
To see how the quote process works, we selected a plan for a self-employed optometrist in Wisconsin. We selected an occurrence plan. After a single, short page of questions, we got an annual premium of $368 for $1 million per claim and a $3 million aggregate limit.
HSPO: Focusing on professional liability insurance for healthcare professionals
HSPO stands for the Healthcare Providers Service Organization. This company has been providing insurance to healthcare professionals for over 30 years. It specializes in professional liability insurance for healthcare professionals. To get a quote, the site wants you to submit an application.
Gallagher Medical Malpractice Insurance: Comprehensive Brokerage Services
Gallagher is actually a medical malpractice insurance brokerage firm. That means it helps you find and compare policies but does not actually write them. Since malpractice is so complicated and rates can fluctuate so drastically, it might help to start with a brokerage firm. In order to request a quote, you must enter detailed information about your practice. The site states you can get a detailed quote within 24-48 hours.
MedPro Group: Comprehensive Coverages
MedPro Group is actually another Berkshire Hathaway company. This company has fairly comprehensive coverage, like free tail coverage and a claims defense team that handles your cases. It also offers free cyber and privacy liability. In order to get a price quote, you need to apply.
Norcal Group: Have a long history operating in this space
This company also focuses on medical professional liability insurance. It has been around for over 40 years. In order to find out more, the company wants you to call its 800 number, talk to a local broker or fill out the contact form on the website.
What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
For some basics, medical malpractice insurance is defined by the Insurance Information Institute (III) as, “Medical malpractice insurance provides coverage to physicians and other medical professionals for liability arising from disputed services that result in a patient’s injury or death.” Sometimes you might see it referred to simply as professional liability insurance for medical professionals.
This type of insurance is important for doctors, as the III states that most American doctors have at least one medical malpractice suit during their careers. A survey from the American Medical Association in 2010 found that over 60 percent of doctors over the age of 55 have been sued at least once.
In fact, it’s required by law in many states for physicians to have this type of insurance.
Medical malpractice insurance commonly covers attorneys’ fees/court costs, settlement costs, arbitration costs, medical damages and punitive and compensatory damages. It won’t cover criminal acts, sexual misconduct or tampering with medical records.
Medical Malpractice Insurance for Doctors: Is It Required? And What does it Cover?
Doctors need malpractice insurance, as the odds are you will face at least one medical malpractice lawsuit during your career. It’s also required by law in most states. Doctors who work in hospitals are covered by their employers, although it’s a good idea to purchase your own coverage as well. The only medical professionals that don’t need malpractice insurance are those that are employed by federal agencies, since the federal government self-insures against liability claims.
Medical malpractice insurance covers:
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Medical damages
Things like sexual misconduct and illegal acts are not covered.
If you are a doctor with a private practice, you may also want to consider cyber liability insurance to protect you against HIPAA violations and data breaches.
When Do Doctors Need Malpractice Insurance?
Malpractice insurance gets complicated because there are certain situations when you need to purchase it and other times when you do not. The III states that there are several different types of malpractice insurance pertaining to the way that the plans are offered:
- Group or individual policies that are purchased from a traditional private insurer
- Group or individual policies that are sourced from a medical risk retention group, which is an organization of medical professionals that provides liability insurance
- Coverage from a policy held by an employer, like a hospital
If you run your own practice or operate independently in any way, you will need to get medical malpractice insurance for both you and the medical employees that you have. You should insure both yourself as an individual and your business entity.
Medical professionals working for the government are often covered against liability claims. The federal government self-insures against liability claims. Many state and local governments also provide liability protection for their medical professionals.
If you’re a doctor and are employed by a hospital or other medical company, you should talk with your employer about how much malpractice coverage you have. Different employers may have plans that cover different fees. Gallagher Malpractice, a malpractice brokerage firm, gives the example of an employer paying damages, but sometimes the legal costs can hit the doctor. It’s important to know what your employer’s insurance covers, what it does not and the limits on the plan. You may have to source your own independent coverage if it’s not enough.
Further, medical malpractice insurance coverage from an employer often only covers you up until the moment you leave that company. If you get sued after you leave that company, you often aren’t protected. So it makes sense to get a personal malpractice plan. That way, you are covered wherever you are.
Also, some policies are occurrence-based and some are on a claims-made basis. A claims-made policy means that the policy provides coverage only if the policy is in effect when the treatment happened and when the lawsuit is filed. An occurrence policy provides coverage if the malpractice event happened while the policy was in effect, no matter when the claim was made.
Sometimes, you can purchase “tail coverage” on claims-made policies, which extends the period of time you can get coverage, like five years. You might also see convertible products, which help claims-made insureds convert to occurrence.
Medical malpractice insurance is a complicated topic. Many plans cover certain situations and not others, as we touched on above. It’s also important to know how much you are covered for, both in each occurrence and total (aggregate) limits. Plans may also have deductibles. Work with a brokerage firm or agent to make sure you understand your plan and are getting the best one for your situation.
Medical Malpractice Insurance for Registered Nurses
Although a relatively small number of nurses have had claims filed against them, according to ANA (American Nurses Association) such cases are going up. Nurses can be sued for the following reasons:
- Failure to follow standards of care
- Failure to use equipment in a responsible manner
- Failure to communicate
- Failure to document
- Failure to act as a patient advocate
- Failure to assess and monitor
Some of these seems straightforward, while others, such as “failure to act as a patient advocate” could mean almost anything. If you work in a hospital, you are probably frequently short-staffed, overworked, and stressed out, which is the perfect environment to make errors.
Nursing malpractice insurance is pretty affordable: you can pay as little as $100 a year for a $1M/$6M policy, which is well worth it. Make sure you compare online quotes with digital brokers such as CoverWallet or Simply Business to find the cheapest quote for you.
Medical Malpractice Insurance for Midwives
Since not all babies come out perfect, you may face a liability claim if you work as a midwife. Emotional parents can blame the midwife for things like birth injuries or lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, even though it wasn’t the midwife’s fault. As a midwife, or even a midwife-nurse, you work in conjunction with a physician, but that doesn’t mean the physician is there for the birth, especially for home births.
Interestingly, Florida and Indiana are the only states to require midwives to carry medical malpractice insurance, and these states have a lower infant mortality rate than other states. Also, home birth babies are more likely to suffer from birth injuries than babies born in a hospital.
How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost?
The cost of a medical malpractice insurance policy can fluctuate greatly. Some of the key factors include:
- Which state you are in: Tort reform in many states has led to malpractice insurance being more affordable. Meanwhile, other states have regulations regarding policy limits, and higher limits can mean higher premiums.
- Field and specialty: More complex specialties in the medical field can mean higher risk, such as neurosurgeons or cardiovascular surgeons.
- History: Having claims and losses in the past can increase your premium.
Because medical malpractice insurance varies across the states and years based on legislation, you can find a historic rate tool by state through CunninghamGroup, a malpractice insurance broker.
Below are the average cost of medical malpractice insurance by specialty:
- Registered Nurse: as little as $100 a year for a $1M/$6M policy
- Certified Nurse Midwife: as low as $5,000 to $6,000 a year
- Psychiatrists: $5,000
- Family medicine: $10,000
- Internal medicine: $14,000
- Anesthesiology: $15,000
- Radiology: $21,000
- Specialized surgery: $34,000
- Ob/gyn: $46,000
The above is from a 2019 study, which is the most recent year data is available.
Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover Other Medical Professionals like Nurses, Dentists, Pharmacists, Physical Therapists, Psychologists, and Optometrists, etc.?
Medical malpractice is geared towards a wide variety of medical professionals, as well. Other medical professionals who should consider this type of insurance include, but not limited to the following:
- Nurses – The Best 4 Providers of Nursing Malpractice Insurance
- Physical therapists – The 6 Best Malpractice Insurance Providers for Physical Therapists
- Pharmacists – How Much does Pharmacy Malpractice Insurance Cost? And Where to Find It?
- Optometrists – Top 5 Providers of Optometry Malpractice Insurance
- Psychologists – Top 4 Providers of Malpractice Insurance for Psychologists and Counselors
- Dentists – Top 5 Providers of Dental Malpractice Insurance
It can also cover those in the fitness industry, like yoga instructors and personal trainers. The list above is by no means exhaustive, either. Other medical professionals, like nursing students and physician assistants, should consider this type of insurance.
- Nursing students – The 5 Best Malpractice Insurance Companies for Nursing Students
- Physician assistants – The 5 Best Providers of Malpractice Insurance for Physician Assistants
Medical Malpractice Insurance in New Jersey: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
New Jersey is one of seven states that requires physicians to carry at least a minimum amount of malpractice insurance. New Jersey is also has the third highest medical malpractice insurance premiums, second only to Pennsylvania and New York.
Doctors in New Jersey are required to carry at least $1M/$3M in insurance, but higher coverage amounts are suggested if you have a high-risk specialty.
There are many options to choose from to obtain medical malpractice insurance in New Jersey, with these being the top three:
- The Doctors Company
- HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization)
Shopping around for the best price is still a good idea. Comparing online quotes with digital brokers such as CoverWallet or commercialinsurance.net is a good option.
What you’ll pay depends on what your specialty is, ranging from a low of $8,835 per year for occupational medicine, to $83,202 a year for Ob/Gyn practitioners.
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Pennsylvania: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Pennsylvania has the second highest medical malpractice insurance rates, second only to New York.
Because of the high rates, PA introduced the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (MCARE), which requires that health care providers to carry liability insurance, if at least 50% of their patients are from PA. You can see what you will pay here. Policies must cover $500,000 per occurrence and $1.5M per claim, and after that, MCARE will cover any losses over that, up to $1M.
If you’re seeking medical malpractice insurance in PA, the top three providers are:
- Medical Protective
- The Doctors Company
Rates vary depending on specialty. Doctors who practice Ob/Gyn will pay about $72,511 a year, whereas anesthesiologists pay about $16,000 a year. Be sure to compare quotes from several companies to get the cheapest one for you. Working with a digital broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business is a good option to compare several online quotes conveniently.
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Maryland: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Maryland does not require physicians or other healthcare workers to carry medical malpractice insurance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. In addition, certain hospitals in Maryland will require doctors with privileges there to have insurance, and some health insurance plans may require physicians to carry it.
Since Maryland doesn’t have any requirements, healthcare workers should shop around for the best price with a decent amount of protection. Some companies to consider are:
- Medical Mutual
- The Doctors Company
Rates vary, but orthopedic surgeons can expect to pay about $35,000 for malpractice insurance, and family doctors pay somewhere between $6,000 and $9,000 a year. In general, physicians who do surgery pay more than those who don’t.
Comparing several online quotes with a digital broker like CoverWallet is a good option to find the cheapest quote for you, conveniently.
Medical Malpractice Insurance in South Carolina: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Compared to some other states, medical malpractice insurance in South Carolina is reasonably priced. There are a large number of companies in South Carolina that provide medical malpractice insurance, and this creates a competitive marketplace.
South Carolina has been reforming medical liability since the passing of the South Carolina Medical Malpractice Patient Compensation Fund in 1976. This charges physicians a membership fee and requires them to have at least $200,000/$600,000 in insurance. Control has been passed to the newly created South Carolina Medical Malpractice Association, which was established in 2019. What this tries to do is pool the risk of malpractice lawsuits and minimize the possibility of a jackpot settlement by claimants. Noneconomic damages are capped at $350,000.
Another bright note for physicians in South Carolina is that there are only 18.8 malpractice suits per 100,000 residents, which is pretty moderate.
The specialties with the highest malpractice insurance rates are OB/GYN ($52,298 a year) and the lowest is psychiatry at about $6,570 a year.
As always, you should shop around, but these companies are worth a look
- Aspen American Insurance Company
- Or compare online quotes with a digital broker like Simply Business or Commercialinsurance.net
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Ohio: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Doctors and other healthcare providers are not required to carry medical malpractice insurance in Ohio. However, some hospitals may require doctors working at their facilities to carry it, and it’s always a good idea in any case.
In 2004 Ohio passed Tort reforms that placed caps on the amount of noneconomic and punitive damages someone could collect, which is good news if you’re a doctor. This makes rates for insurance reasonable compared to some states.
An OB/GYN will pay about $68,749 a year (OB/GYN’s pay the highest rates in almost every state) and psychiatrists pay about $10,727. Since psychiatrists don’t perform surgery, they enjoy lower insurance rates.
Companies you could consider getting a quote from include:
- The Doctors Company
- Or you can consider comparing online quotes with a digital broker such as CoverWallet or Simply Business
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Texas: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Texas doesn’t require physicians or any other healthcare worker to carry medical malpractice insurance. For a while, Texas had very high rates of medical malpractice lawsuits filed. Thanks to tort reform in 2003 that placed caps on lawsuits at $250,000 and one in 2011 that stated the loser in frivolous lawsuits would pay all court costs, there are both lower payouts and fewer lawsuits.
However, medical malpractice insurance is still a smart idea. Because Texas does have low liability limits, you can get away with a smaller policy, such as $200,000/$600,000 or even $100,000/$300,000, which is what some facilities in South Texas require their doctors to have.
For a $200,000/$600,000 policy, OB/GYN’s pay about $26,947 a year, and someone practicing general surgery will pay about $23,000.
Top companies include:
- MedMal Direct
- If you want to compare online quotes, you can consider working with a digital broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Michigan: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Michigan doesn’t require physicians and other healthcare providers to carry malpractice insurance, but it’s certainly a good idea. Some hospitals and medical groups may require it, but even if they don’t, lawsuits are still remarkably common.
The good news is that non-economic damages are capped at $280,000, although there are exceptions. Another bit of good news for Michigan doctors is that there are many providers of medical malpractice insurance, and competition allows for competitive rates.
Rates vary according to specialty, with OB/GYN’s paying the most at $89,533 a year. A general surgeon might pay $66,958, and a psychiatrist $12,110 a year.
Some of the top providers include:
- The Doctors Company
- CoverWallet or Simply Business: They are digital brokers that allow you to compare online quotes of several companies conveniently
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Colorado: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
Colorado requires all doctors to have medical malpractice insurance, regardless of specialty. Furthermore, they want you to have at least a minimum of $1M/$3M, although higher risk specialties should have more. There is a cap of $250,000 for non-economic damages, thanks to Tort reform.
Rates for physicians in Colorado vary by specialty, with Emergency Medicine doctors paying about $22,751 and anesthesiologists paying about $14,334.
Shopping around for the best rate is always a good idea, but the following companies are worth a quote:
- MedPro Group
- The Doctors Company
- CoverWallet or Simply Business if you want to shop around and compare quotes of several companies one one place
Medical Malpractice Insurance in California: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
You are not required to have medical malpractice insurance in California, although it would be good idea. California tort reform capped non-economic damages at $250,000, but there are no limits on the amount of lost wages a person can sue for. Given that California has some of the highest per capita income rates in the nation, this could be very bad news for uninsured doctors.
Furthermore, there is some rumblings about increasing the amount of non-economic damages, since this tort reform was passed in 1975, and the equivalent in today’s dollars would be $753,000. California Proposition 46 sought to increase the cap on non-economic damages to $1.1M, but it was defeated in 2014. However, an increase is likely to pass sooner or later.
Rates in California vary by specialty, with Ob/gyns paying about $42,127 a year and ophthalmologists who don’t perform surgery paying about $6,400 a year.
If you’re shopping around for medical malpractice insurance in California, the following companies are worth a look:
- The Doctors Company
- The Cooperative of American Physicians – Mutual Protection Trust
- CoverWallet or commercialinsurance.net: They are digital brokers that allow you to compare online quotes of several companies in one place, conveniently.
Medical Malpractice Insurance in Florida: Overview, Cost, and Best Providers
The Florida Comprehensive Medical Malpractice Reform Act of 2003 sought to limit frivolous lawsuits, promote settlements and reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance. This act also imposed statutes of limitations of two years after the incident, or two years after the injury from the occurrence was discovered. Florida had capped non-economic damages at $500,000, but then in 2015 they overturned it, declaring caps unconstitutional.
Florida requires doctors to carry at least $100,000 in medical malpractice insurance, but it allows you to skip it if you must meet these conditions:
- Post bond
- Establish an escrow account
- Obtain an irrevocable letter or credit
- Put up a sign informing patients they don’t have malpractice insurance.
Given that there are longer caps on damages, Florida medical malpractice insurance lawsuits are increasing
Top companies for medical malpractice insurance are:
But there are many companies who offer medical malpractice insurance, so shopping around is the key to getting the best rates. Obstetricians can expect to pay about $150,000 in annual premiums for malpractice insurance, and someone practicing internal medicine in Miami can expect to pay about $47,700.
If you want to shop and compare quotes from several companies in one place, working with a digital broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business is a great option.
- Medical malpractice insurance covers you in the event that someone submits a claim for damages caused by a medical mistake. Malpractice suits are common in America, so a wide variety of healthcare professionals should consider having this type of insurance.
- Doctors should consider malpractice insurance even if they are employed, as coverage may not extend to changed employers, the coverage limits for the group may not be enough or plans can cover some costs but not others. Doctors working on their own should always have this type of insurance.
- The cost can vary drastically for this type of insurance but can run in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year.
- In order to find medical malpractice insurance, consider brokers, direct companies and professional organizations.