Working around ill, anxious, or skittish pets puts veterinarians at unique risk. One of the primary ways to limit risk is by getting veterinary liability and other insurance coverage. This article will explain veterinary liability insurance (often referred to as general liability insurance for veterinarians), how much it costs, and other coverages veterinary professionals typically purchase.
- How much does veterinary liability insurance cost?
- How much does veterinary professional liability insurance cost?
- How much does comprehensive veterinarian insurance cost?
- How veterinarian general liability insurance works
- Who needs veterinarian general liability insurance?
- What other types of coverage do veterinary businesses get?
- How to decrease veterinary liability insurance cost?
How much does veterinary liability insurance cost?
The cost varies because of all the factors that go into calculating premium prices, including the size of the practice, claims history, insurer, and more. Veterinary clinics pay an average of $97 per month or just under $1,200 per year for a $1MM general liability policy.
How much does veterinary professional liability insurance cost?
Veterinary professional liability insurance is also called medical malpractice insurance for veterinarians. The insurance protects veterinarians from claims of negligence brought by a client who believes the practitioner caused harm to their pets.
The average cost of veterinary professional liability insurance is $67 per month or $802 per year for a $1MM coverage policy.
How much does comprehensive veterinarian insurance cost?
Overall, veterinarian insurance costs vary based on the amount and types of coverage chosen, the size of the veterinary practice, the types of animals the clinic cares for, the value of business property, number of employees and what they do, and more. That being said, animal clinics can expect to spend around $6,000 in annual premiums for basic coverage.
|Veterinary clinics||Maximum coverages||Average costs|
|Veterinary general liability coverage||$1MM||$97 per month|
|Veterinary professional liability coverage||$1MM||$67 per month|
|Veterinary business property insurance||$100,000||$62 per month|
|Veterinarian workers comp insurance||3 employees||$306 per month|
Keep in mind that these are just the averages. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or work with a digital broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for your clinics.
What impacts the cost of veterinary 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.
Number of customers
The more customers a veterinary clinic has, the more expensive the veterinary liability insurance policy is because bodily injuries and property damages are more likely to happen to the customers. Similarly, it also increases the likelihood of having lawsuits by its customers.
How to decrease veterinary liability insurance cost?
These tips can help vets pay less for their veterinary 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.
Maintain 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.
Check around for the best policies
Some insurers offer better prices. The best way to get a deal might be to look around or work with a digital broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for your veterinary clinic:
How veterinarian general liability insurance works
Every business faces basic risks, including injuries to non-employees on business property and damage to other people’s property while conducting business. These risks increase significantly in the presence of animals because even the best-trained ones can do unexpected things. Veterinarian general liability insurance covers claims related to these issues, including paying medical costs for pet parents and other non-employees injured on your business property. It also pays for damage you and your employees cause to other people’s property while doing veterinary duties. Incidents that could be covered include a pet owner tripping on a dog’s leash and breaking their leg while walking to an examination room or a cat clawing a costly coat in your waiting room.
Who needs veterinary general liability insurance?
Many medical professionals provide care to pets. Insurers offer insurance to a wide range of veterinary practices offering a range of services, including:
- Animal healthcare facilities
- Livestock veterinary services
- Animal specialty veterinarians
- Veterinarian acupuncturists
- Veterinary therapists
- Veterinarian neurologists
- Veterinary disease testing services.
What other types of coverage do veterinary businesses get?
Owners of veterinary clinics must protect their patients, employees, and the building and equipment they need to provide animal care, along with themselves. Protection for each of these risks requires one or more types of insurance coverage. This section will explain some of the most common insurance types veterinary businesses get.
Animal bailee insurance
Animal bailee coverage is unique to veterinary practices. It covers costs if an animal is injured, passes away, or disappears while a veterinarian is caring for them. This coverage helps pay for medical bills and medication for animals involved in these incidents. It also pays for advertising and rewards to help find lost pets. In many cases, it will also cover the costs of housing animals if they can’t be kept in a clinic because a fire or natural disaster forces their business location to close.
Business property coverage
Commercial property insurance covers your building and its contents against losses from fire, theft, vandalism, and weather events. Common losses for veterinarians include a pipe that damages equipment in an examining room, theft of equipment or medications, or fires that harm a building and its contents.
Lost income coverage
If your veterinary practice is unable to operate because of a reason covered by your business property insurance, this coverage kicks in to help pay a portion of your lost income. It allows you to continue to afford to pay taxes, loan payments, and other ongoing business expenses while you’re unable to operate your veterinary practice.
Veterinarian malpractice insurance
It’s critical for veterinarians to get coverage for malpractice. Similar to medical malpractice insurance, it covers you against legal claims when pet owners believe you or your employees didn’t do their job according to professional standards. This insurance can pay for legal and settlement costs when you’re sued for things like causing harm to a pet or failing to provide the right veterinary care.
Workers’ compensation insurance
If you have employees, your state likely requires you to have workers’ comp coverage. It covers illnesses and injuries that occur because of work-related reasons.
Dealing with sick and scared animals increases the risk of injury to people working at veterinary clinics. Animals can become aggressive and bite or scratch workers who are administering care. Slippery floors, needles, scalpels, and toxic fumes can lead to accidental injury or illness to people caring for pets. Workers’ compensation insurance for vets covers medical and disability costs and other benefits related to these incidents.
Learn more at the best workers comp insurance companies
Commercial auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance for vets covers injuries and property damage that happens when driving for work-related reasons, such as transporting animals or handling a house call. Personal auto insurance doesn’t cover incidents when using personal or company vehicles for business purposes.
Veterinary clinics that operate mobile spay and neuter clinics or transport animals on behalf of clients are at high risk of claims and lawsuits if an accident happens. While commercial auto doesn’t cover any tools or supplies in the vehicle, anything attached to it, such as exam tables and medicine cabinets, is covered.
Learn more at the best commercial auto insurance companies
Backup of sewers and drains insurance
Business property insurance policies typically don’t cover costs associated with sewers or drains backing up. However, this can be a significant and costly risk for pet-related businesses. Pet-related businesses flush a lot of fur and hair down drains every day. It can result in significant damage and business interruption.
You can get this coverage as a separate policy or a rider on your business property insurance. Without it, the owner of the clinic is responsible for the costs of repairing floors and furniture and replacing equipment in the event of a drain backup flood. They must also pay to move animals to a dry space where they can be cared for.
Veterinarians store a lot of valuable digital information, including payment and insurance records, that cybercriminals could hack. If this happens, it could cost you a lot to retrieve or replace them, alert clients that it happened, and more. Cyber insurance protection pays costs associated with a hack, which could add up to many thousands of dollars or more, depending on the number of records involved and the severity of the issue.
The easiest way to get general liability and other veterinary business insurance
Many veterinary business owners purchase a business owners policy (BOP), which includes general liability and business property insurance. In many cases, coverage for lost income resulting from events covered by the insurance is also provided. A BOP makes it relatively cheap and easy to get these coverages and add on any others you may need.
If you have questions about your veterinarians general liability or other business insurance coverage, speak with your agent or representative at your business insurance company.
Learn more at the best BOP insurance companies