What Is The Best Malpractice Insurance For Nurses?

We looked at the best Malpractice Insurance For Nurses to help you select an insurer. We picked the best companies based on their coverage options, discounts, and their rating with AM Best, the world’s largest credit rating agency specializing in the insurance industry.

With general liability insurance, you’re protected against things like physical injury to people or damage to your property arising from the daily operations of your business. Malpractice insurance works differently. With it, you have protection if a client says you made a mistake or committed some accidental wrongdoing while providing a service, and they sue for damages.

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.

What Are the Types of Malpractice Insurance?

There are two core types of malpractice insurance:

  • Claims-made: A claims-made policy will only provide you with coverage if the policy is in effect when the incident took place and when the lawsuit is filed. Claims-made policies are cheaper than occurrence policies, but there’s the risk that you won’t have coverage if a lawsuit occurs after your policy expires. 
  • Occurrence: Unlike claims-made policies, occurrence policies cover you for claims if the event took place during any period of coverage, even if the claim is made after the policy lapsed. Occurrence policies are more expensive than claims-made policies. 

If you opt for a claim-made policy because you need a lower monthly premium right now, you can protect yourself later on by paying for tail coverage. While tail coverage is expensive, it extends the policy endorsement, giving you added protection.

What Is the Average Premium for Malpractice Insurance?

When it comes to malpractice insurance, your premium is dependent on where you live, your industry, the amount of coverage you want, whether you opt for claims-made or occurrence insurance, and your claims history. 

For example, the average premium for an obstetrician/gynecologist in California for a $1 million/$3 million policy was $49,804 per year in 2018. But in New York, that number jumped to $214,999.1 

For other industries, the cost is much less. The average annual malpractice premium for a solo attorney is $2,800, while therapists can expect to pay between $350 and $1,750.

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?

Say the word “nurse,” and the first image that might come to your mind is a hospital. That is logical as 60% of all nurses work in a hospital setting. If you do 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. 

In addition, 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. 

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.

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to find nurse practitioner malpractice insurance. It’s offered by some of the biggest malpractice insurers, like NSO (Nursing Servicing Organization) and Proliability.  

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.

What Is The Best Malpractice Insurance For Nurses?

How We Chose The Best Malpractice Insurance For Nurses

To choose the best malpractice insurance companies, we researched the well-known insurers serving licensed professionals in various industries. We evaluated each company based on the coverage it offered, cost, optional discounts, and its AM Best rating. An important factor in determining a company’s inclusion was its AM Best rating; any company with less than an “A” rating was immediately disqualified.

How Much Does The Best Malpractice Insurance For Nurses 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:

  1. $594-$807 for specializations in dermatology, geriatrics, oncology and in correctional facilities. Coverage was $1 million per occurrence and $3 million in aggregate;
  2. $840-$1,538 for specializations in psychiatric care. Coverage was $1 million per occurrence and $3 million in aggregate;
  3. $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;
  4. $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;\

Conclusion on Best Malpractice Insurance For Nurses

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.

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