Medical malpractice is more common than you may think. One study found that 250,000 people in the U.S. die annually as a result of medical malpractice. This makes it the third leading cause of death nationally. Another study says that at least 75% of all doctors will be sued at least once by the time they turn 65. This includes 99% of those in high-risk specialties.
Health care professionals carry medical malpractice insurance to protect them from a lawsuit if a patient, or a patient’s family, decides to sue. But it’s not just doctors who need this type of insurance. Nurses, dentists, and even therapists and social workers should also carry it.
Carrying insurance can help a doctor avoid a costly lawsuit. We reviewed more than 20 insurers to identify the best malpractice coverage options for health care professionals in a variety of fields. Here are our top picks.
Best Overall : The Doctors Company
The Doctors Company is the largest physician-owned insurer in the U.S. It's headquartered outside of Napa, California, and it was founded in 1976, The Doctors Company is a member-owned exchange focused on risk management and prevention. Many high-earning doctors find that buying in can improve their practice’s profitability. The Doctors Company does pay its members dividends. But some doctors are classified as high-risk, perhaps due to past claims. This means they may not qualify for the exchange.
For those thinking of buying into a physician-owned exchange for malpractice coverage, The Doctors Company has an outstanding reputation as the best. It has an A rating from AM Best and $5.9 billion in assets; this means it has strong financial backing.
The company’s policy offers the features you need to protect your business against a malpractice suit and other risks. These could include cyber attacks. It even provides legal representation through MediGuard.
We chose this company as the best overall due to its satisfactory reputation and breadth of services. We also liked its ability to improve the practice's profitability.
The Doctors Company is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But the organization does give it an A+ rating, and there are no complaints against the insurer.
You can request a quote online. Then, a representative will call you to discuss your coverage options.
Runner-Up, Best Overall : MedPro Group
Founded in 1899, MedPro Group is a Berkshire Hathaway company. MedPro Group is a leader in malpractice insurance for doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals. It carries an A++ rating with AM Best for its financial security, an AA+ rating from Standard & Poor's, and an A+ rating with no complaints from the BBB. MedPro Group inspires trust and has shown its ability to pay claims.
Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of MedPro Group is its track record. The company claims a 90% trial win rate; 80% of all claims have been closed without a payout since 1899. That rating, above all else, is why MedPro Group ranked second on our list of best malpractice insurance providers.
MedPro Group offers flexible policies for claims-made or occurrence coverage. You can also convert to occurrence coverage as the need arises. For instance, this could be useful if you are leaving your practice but want to be covered in case a patient files a claim after you’ve closed up shop.
MedPro Group is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You can apply for a quote online. Then, an expert will reach out to write your policy.
Best for Nurses : Berxi
Nurses shouldn’t assume that their doctor’s or hospital’s malpractice insurance will cover them in the event of a lawsuit. Nurses can and should protect their livelihood with their own coverage.
For reliability, financial stability, and low premiums, it is hard to beat Berxi. Like MedPro Group, Berxi is part of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance. It boasts an A++ rating from AM Best and an AA+ from S&P.
By selling direct, rather than through agents, Berxi can offer discounts of up to 20%. The company says you can get a quote in as little as five minutes. This makes shopping for malpractice insurance easy.
Nursing malpractice policies from Berxi cover a number of contingencies. This includes offering legal aid, general business liability insurance, and information privacy or defense for Health Information Privacy Protection Act (HIPAA) investigations.
There were no customer complaints about the company. However, the insurance company does not have a listing or rating from the Better Business Bureau. We selected Berxi for its affordable policies, high financial ratings, and robust offerings for nurses.
Best for Therapists and Social Workers : Health Care Providers Service Organization
Of all the insurers we evaluated, Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) is the most inclusive. It provides the most information and coverage options for the widest range of health care professionals. This includes therapists and social workers, including such disciplines as anger resolution therapists, behavioral analysts, child life counselors, and many more.
Such professionals are not only vulnerable to malpractice suits. They may also require assault and personal injury coverage due to the nature of the populations they may treat. This level of attention to counseling professionals is why we ranked HPSO as best for therapists and social workers.
HPSO is also one of the few malpractice insurance companies to publish coverage limits right on its website.
The professional liability insurance program is underwritten by CNA Financial. This is one of the largest commercial insurance companies in the U.S.; they insure 1 million businesses and business owners. Founded in 1897, the company boasts an A+ rating with S&P and an A rating with AM Best. HPSO, for its part, has been providing insurance since 1990.
Best for Dentists : The Professional Protector Plan
Launched in 1969, the Professional Protector Plan (PPP) is different from other dental insurance plans. That's because of the breadth and depth of its offerings. It is endorsed by state dental associations including the Virginia Dental Association and the Iowa Dental Association. PPP also is listed as a vendor on the American Dental Association website. This is a testament to its popularity and high satisfaction ratings.
The PPP for Dentists offers customized insurance solutions for dentists and other dental professionals. From dental school through owning a practice, the PPP protects dentists with a variety of coverages. It also provides risk management services.
The PPP offers professional liability insurance, general liability coverage, property coverage, cyber liability insurance, and more, including insurance for high-risk dentists.
PPP is underwritten by Aspen American Insurance Company. This is a carrier with an A rating from AM Best and $12.6 billion in assets at the end of 2019. PPP insurance has the financial strength to provide dentists with the protection they need. You can also get a quote and purchase a policy easily online.
The fact that so many dental associations, including the ADA, endorse the PPP helped make this company the top choice for dentists. We also like that it’s easy to get an affordable quote online. The broad coverage options and value-added services also helped the PPP stand out.
What Is Malpractice Insurance?
Malpractice insurance covers medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, dentists, and therapists. It protects them in case a patient makes a claim that the provider was negligent in some way. It is a form of errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. This is insurance that most professionals should carry to protect against liability or a lawsuit.
Malpractice vs. General Liability Coverage
Malpractice insurance specifically covers physical harm or wrongful death a patient might experience as a result of medical care. Business liability insurance, on the other hand, can cover a range of things: from accusations of libel to someone slipping and falling in your office. When securing coverage, health care professionals should look for a policy that provides general liability coverage as well as malpractice insurance.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Typically Include?
Most malpractice insurance policies include the costs of legal aid. This can include attorney’s fees and court costs if you are taken to court by a patient. Most cover wrongful death or injury resulting from a medical incident. It may also cover a patient’s medical bills for care to correct whatever injuries or illnesses resulted from the malpractice.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Typically Exclude?
Medical malpractice insurance does a lot to help practitioners protect their businesses. But it doesn’t cover everything. For instance, malpractice insurance does not cover property damage; nor does it cover you if someone gets hurt in your office unrelated to their medical care.
Malpractice insurance may not cover cyber attacks that could result in HIPAA violations. For this reason, you may want to consider a policy, such as one from The Doctors Company, that does. But you can save time and money by choosing a policy with endorsements for property damage, liability, and cybersecurity.
In addition to these blanket exclusions, there are also other reasons an insurer may not cover a claim. These include mistakes made while intoxicated or using drugs, sexual misconduct, criminal or illegal acts, injuries that occur related to motor vehicles, and claims stemming from anesthesia. It’s important to read the fine print on your policy to learn what is and isn’t covered.
What Are the Typical Costs of Malpractice Insurance?
Medical malpractice insurance in the U.S. can range from $50,000 to $200,000 a year; costs vary widely depending on the coverage levels, type of practice, and even the state where the health care professional practices. Coverage for nurses, for example, may only cost a few hundred dollars a month. Surgeons and obstetricians, on the other hand, could pay up to $150,000 annually, according to an American Medical Association report.
Who Needs Malpractice Insurance?
Any health care professional should invest in malpractice insurance. This includes psychiatrists, physical therapists, physicians’ assistants, nurses, dental professionals, and, of course, doctors,
If you are in a business that provides medical care but you are not a health care provider, you may want to consider incidental malpractice insurance. This protects you and your employees if they deliver medical service that results in harm.
For instance, let's say you run a summer camp and a counselor provides band-aids for minor injuries. In this case, you may want to purchase incidental malpractice insurance.
How We Chose the Best Malpractice Insurance Companies
We evaluated more than 20 national insurance carriers based on financial stability, online reviews, and coverage types provided. We also checked BBB ratings, length of time in business, company reputation, and the depth of their product offerings. This helped us identify the best malpractice insurance companies for various providers.
In choosing the top companies, we made sure to select those that provide a wide range of coverage options. That way, health care professionals can work with one provider to get all of the different coverages they need.