In 2017, there were 880 million outpatient visits to hospitals across the United States, most of which most likely had a nurse at one point or another. They perform a wide variety of tasks from conducting exams to checking vital signs to drawing blood for laboratory testing. While these heroes are saving lives every day, they are also humans, vulnerable to making mistakes. This is where nursing malpractice insurance comes into play. In this article, you’ll learn what it differs from professional liability insurance and where you can go to get quotes for coverage.
- Best 5 Providers of Nursing Malpractice Insurance
- How Much does Nursing Malpractice Insurance Cost?
- What is Nursing Malpractice Insurance?
- Who Needs Nursing Malpractice Insurance?
- 4 Reasons Why Registered Nurses (RN) Need an Individual Nursing Malpractice Insurance Policy
- Does Nursing Malpractice Insurance Cover Nurse Practitioners?
- What is International Malpractice Insurance for Nurses?
- What Does Malpractice Insurance for Nursing Students Cover?
- How is Nursing Malpractice Insurance Different From Malpractice Insurance for Doctors?
Best 5 Providers of Nursing Malpractice Insurance
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that there are more than 3.8 million nurses in the United States, making them the largest sector of the healthcare industry. Many well-known insurance companies offer malpractice insurance. Regardless of whether you are just deciding to enter the nursing field or you are searching for a new insurance provider, consider these companies.
- CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Quotes (Online)
- Medical Mutual Group: One of the Oldest Companies Providing Malpractice for Medical Professional
- Professionals Advocate: Best for Comprehensive Coverage
- Proliability: Best Option from a Well-Known Carrier
- Berxi by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance: Best Online Quoting Experience and Cheapest Quote
CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Quotes (Online)
CoverWallet is a national digital insurance brokerage focused on business insurance. They offer a simple and fast online quoting flow for all types of business insurance, including nursing malpractice insurance for nurse practitioners and registered nurses. Within 10 minutes, you will be able to compare your nursing malpractice insurance quotes from several leading insurance companies such as The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Chubb, and Hiscox.
In some cases when they are not able to provides quotes online, you can call their customer service to discuss your quote options. Their customer service staff are very knowledgeable. Even when you are able to get quotes online, you should call their customer service to understand the differences among the policies, especially if you are a new graduate.
Comparing quotes from multiple leading companies is the only way that ensures you have the best and cheapest quote for your situation.
Medical Mutual Group: One of the Oldest Companies Providing Malpractice for Medical Professional
Medical Mutual Group was founded by doctors to make certain that medical professionals have the most comprehensive coverage for the lowest price. Some of the advantages of obtaining nursing malpractice insurance through this company includes:
- Limits for the length of time a claim can be submitted,
- Claims-made coverage, which enables you to change the amount of coverage you have when necessary,
- Leave of absence coverage, and
- Network Privacy & Security Coverage is included to protect against breaches for electronic medical records systems.
There is no online form where you can enter your information and get a quote immediately. You must call the company at 800-662-7917.
Professionals Advocate: Best for Comprehensive Coverage
Professionals Advocate was founded by doctors and has more than 35 years of experience in protecting health care professionals. The company provides multiple different coverages to suit your unique needs. They include:
- Individual Medical Professional Liability: this is suitable for singular nurses who need coverage;
- Health Care Provider Group Professional Liability: organizations needing to cover multiple practitioners can use this option;
- E-DataRESPONSE: this option protects nurses from the fall out of privacy breaches, now that electronic medical records are the prevailing record-keeping method; and
- Verdict Inflation Protection: obtaining this additional coverage insures that the $1 million coverage for reported occurrences is not overtaken by non-medical claims.
Now that you know what this company protects you from, it is important to know how to obtain a quote. This provider requires professionals to do one of two things. You can call the office directly at 800-492-0193 or fill out their contact form and a representative will reach out to you.
Proliability: Best Option from a Well-Known Carrier
Proliability is a subsidiary of Mercer and gives you the flexibility to choose nursing malpractice insurance based on your needs. You can be a nurse employed at a hospital, a nursing student, or a business owner looking to cover nurses you employ. So this is one of the best options for malpractice insurance for nursing students. The following quote is for a nurse working full time in a hospital with a specialty in women’s health care:
Berxi by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance: Best Online Quoting Experience and Cheapest Quote
Getting quotes from Berxi is extremely simple, filling out a few questions within just a few mins. It is probably the best quoting experience that we have encountered so far.
The quote below represents a 35-year old nurse working full time at a hospital in Pennsylvania for the typical $1,000,000 in coverage:
A great thing about Berxi is that you can save your quote for up to 30 days, in case you need to adjust the amount of coverage you want. Also, with is company, you can purchase insurance up to a year in advance to lock in rates.
How Much does Nursing Malpractice Insurance Cost?
This is a complicated question because it truly depends on where you are in your career and where you choose to work. Previously, you learned that only 60% of nurses work in hospitals. Some other locations a nurse can work include camps, schools, places of worship, correctional facilities, in patient’s homes (Bayada), military bases and private practices. The Doctors Insurance Agency, writes that annual premiums vary, based on your classification, the state you practice in and the limits of liability. Some of the costs listed for occurrence-based policies were:
- $594-$807 for specializations in dermatology, geriatrics, oncology and in correctional facilities. Coverage was $1 million per occurrence and $3 million in aggregate;
- $840-$1,538 for specializations in psychiatric care. Coverage was $1 million per occurrence and $3 million in aggregate;
- $1,086-$1,812 for specializations in family practice, pediatrics, school nursing and neonatal care. Coverage was $1 million per occurrence and $3 million in aggregate;
- $1,334-$1,812 for specializations in acute critical care, OB/GYN, perinatal care, cosmetic surgery, and pain management. Coverage was $1 million per occurrence and $3 million in aggregate;
Make sure you shop around with a few companies or work with a digital broker like CoverWallet or commercialinsurance.net to compare several quotes. Comparing quotes is the only way to ensure you get the cheapest one for you.
What is Nursing Malpractice Insurance?
Nursing malpractice insurance is protection from lawsuits should a nurse fail in one of their responsibilities, including, but not limited to:
- Properly monitoring a patient,
- Recognizing signs of a change in the patient’s condition,
- Talking with a patient’s primary care physician, and
- Sending a patient out for emergency care.
If sued, you could be responsible for paying $500,000 on average, according to True Cost of Health Care, but there is no limit to what an individual claim may be rewarded.
How is a Nursing Malpractice Insurance Policy Written?
Malpractice insurance policies are generally written in one of two ways: occurrence-based and claims-based. Let’s explore how each of these policies work:
- Occurrence-based: Should you choose an occurrence-based policy, you are protected for a set amount of time, say two years. There are limits on the number of claims that can be made against you, but these limits reset each time your policy is renewed. It is important to note that with this type of policy, claims can be made against you at any time. To be protected the original occurrence has to be within the original time frame that is covered, regardless when the claim is made, including when you are no longer covered. Let’s say you have a policy that covered you in the years 2017 and 2018 and do not have coverage in 2019, a claim made in 2019 for an incident in 2017 will still be covered. This is not the case for claims-based policies.
- Claims-based: A claims-based policy only protects you if you have coverage both when the treatment incurs and when a claim is made. The other difference is that the limits of claims-based policies do not reset. When buying this type of insurance you must be aware of the limits. For example, if the policy gives you three claims, that is all you get. It does not matter if the claim is eventually dismissed or seen through to the end, both count against your policy limit. Another important distinction is the premiums. This type of coverage is often times more expensive in the first few years, but levels off as the policy matures.
Who Needs Nursing Malpractice Insurance?
In short, if you are a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, or a nursing student, you should look into obtaining an individual nursing malpractice insurance policy to protect yourself. A good policy in place will have you covered when things happen.
The Pros and Cons of Malpractice Insurance for Nurses
There are pros and cons of having nursing malpractice insurance. However, many perceived cons of having nursing malpractice insurance are actually untrue myths. The table below summarizes pros, cons, and the untrue myths of nursing malpractice insurance:
|– You pay a small fee for complete peace of mind |
-You will be 100% protected when incidents happen
-Your personal assets are always protected
-You will have legal protection when you provide nursing services outside of your work location
|-Even the premiums are relatively inexpensive, it is still a cost.||-Having your own malpractice insurance is overkill since only physicians are sued |
-You are protected by your employer’s group malpractice insurance policy
-You may think you are more covered than you really are in your employer’s policy
-You are only sued when you make a mistake
-Having your own malpractice insurance will increase your likelihood to be used
We will explain in more details why these perceiving myths of nursing malpractice insurance are untrue in the section below.
Reasons Why Registered Nurses (RN) Need an Individual Nursing Malpractice Insurance Policy
First of all, in our increasingly litigious society, law suits are getting more and more popular. Physicians used to be the main defendant in a medical malpractice insurance lawsuit. However, nurses are being named as defendants in malpractice lawsuits has become more and more common. This is driven by healthcare organization recognizing individual contributions of all team members, including nurses. So if a nurse makes a mistake, he or she will be held accountable for his/her individual acts and omissions.
Secondly, you work in a hospital, you know that your employer has hospital professional liability insurance. This protects the hospital from mistakes made by their employees. However, it may only cover specific things. For example, the hospital’s policy will cover damages, but the legal fees are your responsibility. More importantly, the hospital’s policy will be for the hospital’s best interests, not yours. Your own policy will be for at your best interests.
Additionally, these policies only protects a nurse only when they are on the job at the hospital. Most nurses don’t just offer help when they’re on the job in a hospital. If they see someone in crisis, whether at a hospital or not, they are often inclined to do what they can to help. If you volunteer for a charity regularly, you need to have your own policy.
We should note that hospital or employers’ plans only cover law suits. They don’t cover complaints to the nursing board. Your own nursing malpractice insurance policy will cover both law suits and any complaints against you to the nursing board.
Thirdly, if you work for a doctor’s clinic, you may be not covered under the policy purchased by the doctor. Nurses are often considered “independent contractors” and, thus, excluded from the doctor’s malpractice insurance policy. You need to study your contract carefully and ask your employers if the clinic’s malpractice policy explicitly covers you.
Fourthly, you will be sued if your patients believe that you make mistake while providing care to them, even that belief is incorrect. You may win the lawsuit, but you still need to spend money from your own pockets to cover all legal fees and lost wages.
Lastly, whether or not you have your own malpractice insurance coverage isn’t a public information. It is only uncovered after the lawsuit is filed. The plaintiff’s attorneys go after people who they believe plays a key role in the outcome to their clients (your patients). They also likely list more people in the lawsuit in a hope to increase total coverage amount that is available to claim. From that perspective, they act believing that you should have your own malpractice insurance policy. If it turns out that you don’t, your personal assets will be at risk if you lose the lawsuit.
In conclusion, it probably makes sense for all nurses to have a separate nursing malpractice insurance policy to protect themselves, in addition to the professional liability coverage provided by their employers.
Does Nursing Malpractice Insurance Cover Nurse Practitioners?
One of the most interesting healthcare industry developments in recent years is the distinction between Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners. Nurse Practitioners have a graduate degree, make diagnoses and are allowed to prescribe medications. In many ways, they are replacing general practitioner doctors. So that puts them in an interesting position of needing greater malpractice coverage more akin to what a physician might need. That means they might need to source their own nurse practitioner malpractice insurance.
What is International Malpractice Insurance for Nurses?
When a nurse works in a foreign country, the nursing malpractice insurance policy that he or she has doesn’t cover practice outside of the US. If she wants to get protected, she needs to get an international malpractice insurance for nurses. The international policy will cover you in the following scenarios:
- An US-based nurse travels to Cayman island to provide care for her patient who is currently living there
- She travels to another foreign country for her charity work
- If she provides care through telemedicine to her patients who are living abroad
If you need international coverage in your malpractice policy, you should contact a good agent or broker so that they can help you find a good carrier.
What Does Malpractice Insurance for Nursing Students Cover?
Most people in the medical profession understand that you need malpractice insurance once you have completed your coursework and taken your licensing exams. But did you know that you need to have insurance when you are in school completing your coursework? Malpractice insurance for nursing students are very affordable. They take into account that you are limited in your responsibilities as you learn. When buying this insurance from a provider such as the Nursing Service Organization (NSO), for as little as $35 per year, you are protected with:
- Professional Liability: Up to $1 million in a single claim and up to $6 million in aggregate,
- Defense Expense Benefit: pays for you to attend legal proceedings should you be sued; you get up to $1,000 per day with an annual limit of $25,000,
- Information Privacy Coverage: protects you against costs associated with data breaches from a patient’s electronic medical records.
- Defense attorney provided: as a student, the hospital you are trained at has lawyers to protect their interests. With this you get your own attorney in addition to whatever coverage is provided by the hospital.
How is Nursing Malpractice Insurance Different From Malpractice Insurance for Doctors?
Most medical malpractice insurance providers do not make a distinction between the policies that are written up for doctors versus nurses, in terms of the name. Instead, most policies are tailored to the person applying for coverage. An example would be a neurosurgeon and a nurse working in a retirement home. The neurosurgeon’s policy would be much more comprehensive and its premiums more expensive than that for a nurse from a retirement home due to the increased risk. Neurosurgeons literally hold patients’ quality of life in their hands every time they go into the operating room. Nurses, on the other hand, do not pose that severe risk, so their policies will cost less.
How is Medical Malpractice Insurance Different From Professional Liability Insurance?
We’ve covered professional liability insurance in previous articles. To be brief, professional liability insurance protects you from lawsuits with monetary damages being claimed. A very quick illustration of this would be if a nurse suggests to a patient that they drink more milk without knowing that they are lactose intolerant. That patient is going to be discomfited after drinking milk, and may need follow up visits to their primary care doctors, but no serious harm should come to them.
Medical malpractice insurance, on the other hand, is a more specialized version of professional liability insurance. It protects medical professionals like doctors from being held liable for disputed services rendered that led to a patient being injured or killed. The Insurance Information Institute reports that every doctor will be sued at least once for medical malpractice over their career. Nurses work closely with doctors, so it is required that they have malpractice insurance before starting their career as well.
Nursing malpractice insurance is a vital piece to a successful nursing career. All states require you have a policy, whether it is through your employer, or one you buy yourself. Premiums can be as low as $68 for the year, and protect you from a variety of potential claims directly and indirectly related to the profession.