Every business faces liability risks associated with clients getting hurt accidentally. Veterinary professionals who provide veterinary care for animals should be aware that they risk being sued for veterinary malpractice during the course of their careers.
You may have to pay a significant amount of money for attorney fees and damages. This claim would be paid for, at least in part, by the veterinary practitioner’s liability insurance policy.
When weighed against the possibility of receiving judgments against the veterinary business, the premiums paid for this kind of insurance represent an easily manageable cost.
This article will consider some of the best companies that offer this type of insurance and other relevant information.
- 6 best veterinary professional liability insurance companies
- What is veterinary professional liability insurance?
- What does veterinary liability insurance cover?
- How much does veterinary professional liability insurance cost?
- Is veterinary professional liability insurance required by laws?
- How to reduce veterinary professional liability insurance cost?
6 best veterinary professional liability insurance companies
We have researched more than 20 companies offering professional liability insurance for veterinarians and here are our recommendations of the top 6 providers.
- CoverWallet: Best Overall and for comparing several quotes
- Simply Business: Best for finding low-cost coverage
- Vet Insure: Best for customer service
- AMVAPLIT: Best for comprehensive policies
- HSVMA: Best for its members
- NEXT: Best for a combination of professional and general liability insurance for pet veterinary clinics
CoverWallet: Best Overall and for comparing several quotes
CoverWallet is arguably the best insurance provider for veterinarians. They provide four options for coverage. CoverWallet’s pro coverage combines commercial property insurance with general and professional liability insurance and provides the best protection. However, if you believe that the best coverage is insufficient, you can opt for a custom policy to select and acquire all the necessary business insurance.
Another advantage of working with CoverWallet is that you can compare several quotes in one place. CoverWallet is a broker. They work with several insurance companies and are able to retrieve quotes from these companies for you to compare several quotes conveniently.
Simply Business: Best for finding low-cost coverage
Vet clinics uncertain about where to find cheap coverage can use Simply Business. Simply Business is an insuretech company created to help business owners find help regarding insurance whenever they need it. Simply Business believes that finding small business insurance should be simply, easy, and fast.
Simply Business is another broker. They work with several carriers to find you the cheapest coverage possible. They optimize their operation model, including carrier selection to find the lowest cost possible for your business. If you are mostly concerned about finding the cheapest professional liability insurance for your vet clinic business, you should consider Simply Business.
Vet Insure: Best for customer service
Vet Insure is another fast-rising insurance company. The company was created in 2008 by a former employee of The Hartford, and its primary focus is to deliver insurance solutions to members of the veterinary industry.
They do this by helping vet practitioners connect with the best insurers in the country. To ensure high-quality service, the company only works with companies with an A+ rating. That way, they can provide superior coverage and rapid claims processing at the best prices. Their platform is user-friendly and intuitive, and they deliver excellent customer service and guidance, which seems to be the core of their business.
The following is a sample quote generated from their website.
AMVAPLIT: Best for comprehensive policies
The AVMA is aware of everything that occurs in a veterinarian clinic. Consequently, the association’s insurance policies offer the best protection against veterinary risks, including malpractices, disabilities, and liabilities. With AVMA coverage, you can safeguard your practice, employees, and loved ones.
AVMA PLIT has provided coverage for veterinarians and their practices for more than six decades. AVMA malpractice insurance and other veterinary insurance policies are combined to meet the specific risks faced by each client. The organization provides members with two insurance options via the AVMA Trust, which combines the AVMA PLIT and AVMA Life policies.
HSVMA: Best for its members
Through a partnership with Safehold Special Risk, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) can provide its members with access to a veterinary professional liability insurance program.
This program gives members of the HSVMA access to cost-effective and exclusive insurance coverage. A program designed specifically for use by veterinary professionals working in individual, group, or multi-location practices was developed by Safehold Special Risk. There are policies available in each of the 50 states.
The only issue is that, you have to be a member to get coverage or even receive a quote. To request a quote from the website, you need to register first.
NEXT: Best for a cheap bundled veterinary policy, combining professional and general liability insurance
For veterinary clinics that require all their insurance in one place, Next is a good insurer. Next was established in 2016, and it handles its policies by itself. The company allows vet clinics to find the right coverage in less than 5 minutes. Coverage is available monthly, and you get coverage without paying extra charges. After paying online for your coverage, you get a certificate verifying that you now have insurance.
NEXT insurance is known for its low-cost general liability insurance policy. They have recently expanded to offer professional liability insurance for contractors and various local businesses. Combining these two policies will save you money. If you want to protect your veterinary business with one robust policy, you may want to consider NEXT insurance.
Below is a quote that we obtained online with NEXT insurance. The online quote is only for general liability coverage. We had to speak to their customer service to get our professional liability insurance quote separately.
What is veterinary professional liability insurance?
Veterinary professional liability insurance is a form of protection designed specifically for veterinarians. The insurance protects these professionals from claims of negligence brought by a client who believes the practitioner caused harm to their pet. This insurance is a form of medical malpractice protection for veterinarians.
This is specialty insurance designed to provide protections not covered by general liability insurance or other business insurance. Typically, this type of insurance coverage is issued on a claims-made basis. Coverage is limited to a particular period and the situations specified in the policy.
What does veterinary liability insurance cover?
Many vet insurance liability policies cover both general and professional liability. However, professional liability insurance for veterinarians is more popular. You should be aware that most clinics do not cover employed veterinarians for malpractice. Every veterinarian must determine whether or not he should have his own professional liability insurance policy.
While veterinary general liability insurance protects the vet business against claims related to customers’ bodily injuries or property damages and advertising injuries, veterinary professional liability insurance protects veterinarians from claims of negligence or mistakes or omissions brought by a client who believes the veterinarians caused harm to their pets.
Consider the following common policy features and add-ons when purchasing veterinary liability insurance:
Loss of income
This usually covers the veterinary clinic for lost revenues due to losses or closure in a covered claim. Landlords and vendors still expect to be paid during claims. Usually, the policy helps mitigate the costs associated with staying in business during this period.
If a claim results in the loss of the clinic, the policy may pay for the clinic to relocate to a temporary location while its facilities are being repaired or replaced; this allows the animal clinic to continue operations without incurring additional lease costs.
This covers computer equipment and all peripherals, including cables, necessary for business use; many veterinarian clinics maintain extensive medical files and billing information on office computers.
Equivalent to loss of use, equipment breakdown compensates for the inability to use professional equipment breakdown; for instance, if the X-ray machine breaks, the animal clinic may experience a loss of income or incur additional costs to care for its patients.
Spoilage refers to the loss of perishable items such as medicines or foods due to mechanical breakdown, utility loss, or refrigerator contamination. For example, spoilage would cover the loss if the power went out overnight and all the medicines in the refrigerator went bad.
Other inclusions to consider for certain policies purchased by a veterinarian or animal clinic. These include automatic minimum coverage that a veterinarian may elect to increase. There are also other optional coverage benefits that the policyholder may choose to elect.
How much does veterinary professional liability insurance cost?
Costs for veterinarian insurance vary based on the amount of coverage chosen and the types of animals cared for by the clinic. Veterinarians who treat small animals are not subject to the same liability as those who treat large or exotic animals. Animal clinics can expect to pay annual premiums of approximately $67 dollars monthly or $802 annually for a $1 million dollar coverage.
That is just the average cost. Your rate will be different based on several factors that we discuss below. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or work with a broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for you.
Learn more at malpractice insurance cost for different specialties
What factors affect the cost of veterinary professional liability insurance?
The following are some factors that may affect the cost of veterinary professional liability insurance.
Veterinarians in metropolitan areas of the United States tend to pay more on average for their premiums. This is because the probability of getting an expensive lawsuit is higher in metropolitan areas compared with rural environments.
The policy limit refers to the maximum the insurer is willing to pay if a covered incident occurs. Usually, the higher the policy limit, the higher the premium a veterinarian will pay.
The deductible is the amount of money the vet will pay to cover an incident before the insurer pays. Usually, a higher deductible means less premiums. However, it also means you will pay more if there is an issue.
History is a predictor of behavior in almost any field. Therefore, vets that have a bad record of too many claims may pay more for insurance. In some cases, they may not even find insurance if they had too many claims in the past.
Vets that offer risky services like surgery tend to have more claims. Therefore, they might pay more for their premiums.
The more experience you have as a vet, the less likely you will make mistakes. Therefore, insurers may reduce your premiums with years of experience.
Size of the clinic
Larger clinics usually pay more for their premiums than smaller clinics. That is because larger clinics tend to attend to more animals. Larger clinics also tend to have more staff, meaning they will need more coverage. The type of animals that a vet clinic attends to is also important.
Is veterinary professional liability insurance required by law?
Generally speaking, most states do not require this policy for standard veterinary practice. However, since 1950, the veterinary malpractice law has changed.
Courts once considered pets property or chattel but not today. Some pets are worth more to their owners than their market value. Each pet’s value depends on its special qualities, market value, and emotional connection to its owners, such as treasure, companion, and protector.
This has affected malpractice cases and makes this policy important. Lawyers evaluate each case to see if the veterinarian followed the standard of care. They determine if the actions caused the pet’s injury or death.
Depending on the severity of the plaintiff’s loss, the court can assess damages. Emotional attachment to a lost pet can exceed market value. Malpractice claims are rising in a litigious society like the U.S. Increased damage. Veterinarians need professional liability insurance to defend against malpractice claims.
Who needs veterinary professional liability insurance?
Numerous veterinarians provide care for pets. Insurers provide vet insurance to a variety of veterinarians, including:
- Animal specialty veterinarians
- Animal veterinary services
- Healthcare facilities for animals
- Services for disease testing in animals
- Veterinarian acupuncturist
- Veterinarian neurologist
- Veterinarians for pet
- Veterinary therapies/treatments
How to reduce veterinary professional liability insurance cost?
These tips can help vets avoid raising the cost of their veterinary professional liability insurance.
Maintenance of equipment
Always inspect clinic equipment. Maintain equipment and instruments. Using outdated or damaged equipment affects patient care and can raise your premiums.
Ensure employees know standard protocols and precautions. Competent workers reduce malpractice risk. Train employees regularly. Revalidate your professional practices to stay current on veterinary standards. Keep up-to-date by attending seminars.
Check around for the best policies.
Some insurers offer better prices. The best way to get a deal might be to look around for companies that offer discounts.
Maintain professional liability insurance.
Your costs will likely increase when you have gaps in your insurance coverage. So, to reduce price, ensure you maintain coverage.
Develop ways to prevent common malpractice claims.
Negligence causes malpractice. To avoid this, follow standard vet practices. Record patient info and treatments. Also, fill out the patient’s chart. These are useful in malpractice cases.