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What is Malpractice Insurance?

Malpractice insurance covers medical professionals in the event a lawsuit is ever brought against them.
Obstetricians need malpractice in case they are sued by a patient.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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Malpractice insurance is purchased by professionals, most often medical professionals, to financially cover them in the event they are sued for malpractice. Malpractice is the act of causing damage or injury to a person or persons as a result of negligently performing a professional duty or intentional wrongdoing. Doctors, surgeons, nurses, and most other medical professionals are sometimes required to purchase malpractice insurance, also called personal liability insurance, before becoming employed by a facility or opening a private practice. Though the medical field is the most common market for this type of insurance, other fields may require it as well.

Designed primarily to provide medical professionals protection from lawsuits, there are other personal coverages provided with most malpractice insurance policies. A policy will cover the insured up to values of several million dollars. However, the amount of necessary coverage varies by location, as different statutes apply to malpractice law in different areas.

When most people think of malpractice insurance, they think of doctors, especially surgeons and obstetricians, who are most frequently sued by patients. Though such doctors may have higher insurance premiums than others, they aren’t the only ones who benefit from coverage. Dentists, nurses, therapists, optometrists, and even diagnostic laboratories may be required to carry this insurance, depending on where they work. Schools that provide education in the medical field with training involving hands-on clinicals must also carry it to cover their faculty and students.

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Malpractice insurance is often one of the most expensive types of insurance policies that can be purchased. Premiums are adjusted for the type of medicine practiced, the type and amount of coverage needed, and whether the insurance covers an individual or a group. Other circumstances that affect the premiums of include the location of the practice and the laws that prevail there. Though the majority of doctors and medical professionals never need to use their insurance, it is a necessary safety net and is required by law in many locations.

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Discuss this Article

anon279341
Post 14

If I want to take insurance for my tonsils, is it possible?

Mykol
Post 13

My sister is an attorney with her own practice in a small town. She has never had any problems, but she carries lawyer malpractice insurance just in case.

Because she is not involved with high profile cases, her odds are pretty low of being sued, but you just never know.

She told me once her premiums cost her around $800 a year. I didn't think that was too expensive for the protection and peace of mind she has.

I am sure this is not nearly as expensive as something like doctor malpractice insurance would be. Even so, for her, it is worth the money if she ever were to have any issues.

SarahSon
Post 12
My uncle was a chiropractor who ran his business from his home. Not only was he required to have chiropractic malpractice insurance, but also had to have special endorsements on his home owners insurance policy.

My aunt was his office manager, and while there were many advantages having his practice in his home, there were also some challenges.

There are certain areas of practice that would seem extremely important to have malpractice insurance. I think being a chiropractor is one that you would certainly want to make sure you were covered.

One of the biggest reasons is because many people are very quick to sue if something doesn't go just right. There are a lot of efficient and competent chiropractors, and I have also heard some stories where they weren't very good.

There is no way I would want to be practicing any kind of medicine without the protection of malpractice insurance.

golf07
Post 11

I visit an osteopathic doctor once a month for spinal adjustment. This is a semi-retired doctor who works part time.

A few years ago, she thought about quitting her practice because her physician malpractice insurance was costing her so much money.

It wasn't quite as bad when she was working full time, but when she cut back on her hours, it really made it hard for her to make it.

She is interested in alternative treatment and medicine, and sometimes it was hard to find enough patients. With so many people becoming more interested in this type of treatment, she has found more patients and is still practicing.

I have no idea how much she pays a year for her insurance, but know it is probably more money than I make in one year.

anon58538
Post 6

Which states are in crisis regarding medical malpractice insurance? which state has the highest and the lowest cost for medical malpractice insurance

anon44568
Post 5

yes please do answer that question because i have no clue can anyone help me find malpractice statstics, like how many cases of malpractice have there been in a year.

anon41930
Post 4

What is the difference between "Claims Made Cover" and "occurrence cover"

anon38621
Post 3

how much does malpractice insurance cost?

spineaid
Post 2

Does an md need to have additional insurance if he is a protocol for an arnp who has her own malpractice insurance??

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