Ask 6 Medical Malpractice Insurance Questions to Choose the Right Insurance

Medical Malpractice Insurance

Ask 6 Medical Malpractice Insurance Questions to Choose the Right Insurance


This article addresses your right and your responsibility to choose the best medical malpractice insurance providers and coverage for your business and healthcare professionals. 


Reputation and livelihood. Medical malpractice insurance is your frontline defense against anyone coming for your reputation and livelihood. As simple as that might seem, the choice you make, where your medical malpractice coverage is concerned, will save you or cost you significantly. 

So, you see, you must choose the right medical malpractice insurance but, more than anything, the best medical malpractice insurance providers. That is a proactive insurance partner that can stay by your side as you fight for your reputation and livelihood. 

So, the next big question becomes, how can you choose the right medical malpractice insurance? Ask the right questions!


Question 1: Do you know why Medical Malpractice Insurance Matters?

Medical malpractice insurance is often viewed as a necessary evil, a box to tick off in a healthcare provider’s long list of responsibilities. But its importance goes far beyond mere compliance with legal requirements and a line on your budget. Innately, the importance of medical malpractice insurance is that it provides:

  • A financial safety net in case of lawsuits because the question isn’t if but when you’ll face a lawsuit. 
  • A safeguard for your reputation – a competent legal defense protects your financial assets and your name and standing.
  • Peace of mind because you’re covered – no more worrying about the looming threat of legal action.
  • Risk management support from your insurance provider. These can include educational resources, training programs, and even on-site assessments to help you minimize the risk of facing a malpractice claim in the first place.

Malpractice coverage (a type of professional liability insurance) is a cornerstone of your professional practice. 


Question 2: Why do you need Medical Malpractice Insurance? 

Do you know your practice? What risks are involved, and how do you expect your malpractice coverage to protect you? 

Understanding the need for medical malpractice insurance requires a deep dive into the unique characteristics of your healthcare practice. Are you a general practitioner or a specialist? Do you perform high-risk procedures, or is your practice more consultation-based? 

The answers to these questions will determine the type of coverage you need and the extent to which you need it. For example, a surgeon is more likely to face a malpractice lawsuit than a general practitioner due to the nature of the work involved. 

Similarly, healthcare providers in larger cities may face higher risks due to a more litigious environment. Keep in mind as well that not all medical malpractice insurance policies are created equal. Depending on your practice’s specific needs, you may require additional riders or specialized coverage options. 

For example, if you offer telehealth services, you may need a policy that covers digital consultations. Then, consider the financial implications of a malpractice lawsuit based on your risk assessment. Medical malpractice insurance ensures these costs are covered, but your risk level will also determine your medical malpractice insurance cost. 

And you need a reasonable budget to get a competent legal defense, which is crucial for protecting your reputation. As you can see, you must know your needs and risks before choosing medical malpractice insurance.


Question 3: Where can you find the Best Medical Malpractice Insurance Providers?

Pro Tip:

Finding the best medical malpractice insurance providers is tedious and daunting, and it requires some expertise on your part. This is your call to hire a broker, a consultant, or an insurance agent to help you cut your research time significantly. All the same, these are the things to do when assessing medical malpractice insurance companies:

Know the Types of Insurance Companies

Understanding the different types of insurance companies can help you align your needs with the right provider. Here are the primary types:

  • Stock Companies: These are public, for-profit corporations primarily focused on increasing stockholder wealth. They may offer competitive rates but are not obligated to prioritize policyholders.
  • Mutual Companies: These are owned by the policyholders and may pay dividends back to them. They are generally more focused on customer service and long-term relationships.
  • Reciprocal Companies: These are unincorporated associations operated by an attorney-in-fact on behalf of policyholders. They offer a more democratic approach but may lack the financial stability of larger companies.

Ask the Right Questions

Does the insurer offer strong claims defense? You want a provider to vigorously defend you in case of a claim.

What is the insurer’s financial strength? A financially stable insurer is more likely to be around when you need them.

Does the insurer provide additional tools and resources? Look for providers offering risk management resources, educational materials, or legal consultation services.

Evaluate their Financial Strength

Financial stability is a critical factor in choosing an insurance provider. Here’s how to assess it:

  • Ratings: Look for high ratings from reputable agencies like A.M. Best Company or Fitch Ratings. A high rating is an indicator of financial stability and reliability.
  • Assets and Surplus: Examine the company’s financial statements to ensure they have sufficient assets and surplus to cover potential claims.

Examine their Management Philosophy

How an insurance company manages its policies can tell you a lot about its reliability and service quality.

  • What are their underwriting standards? These should be stringent to ensure that the company only covers qualified healthcare providers. Loose standards could indicate a higher risk of insolvency.
  • Check their claims management: Look for a provider that offers effective and prompt claims review and a strong defense strategy.
  • How do they manage risk? Access to tools and resources to reduce risk and improve patient safety can be invaluable in the long run.

Choosing the right medical malpractice insurance provider is as crucial as selecting the right type of coverage. And while the market is flooded with options, providers are created equal. Looking for the best medical malpractice insurance providers will require you to sift through the noise to find the best fit for your practice.


Question 4: What Carrier has the Best Medical Malpractice Insurance Quote?

Important To Note: 

Find a cover that offers value. Value over premium is key. And to get value, you must compare different policies, their coverage, exclusions, and premiums (Don’t forget to read our expert tips on lowering your medical malpractice premiums). 

Gather quotes from the list of providers you’ve shortlisted. Some websites offer free quotes from multiple providers, making this step easier. Compare their premiums, coverage offerings, and exclusions. When comparing, compare apples to apples.

Look at some of the bonuses they offer – Some insurers offer dividends or loyalty rewards to policyholders, an excellent incentive to lower overall insurance costs over time. Also, consult your colleagues about their experiences with various carriers. Peer reviews can provide invaluable insights into an insurance provider’s customer service, claims process, and reliability.

Consider choosing a provider with a strong national network and local experts who understand your area’s unique risks and regulations. But also think outside the box. What other markets can you explore? 

For instance, Joint Underwriting Associations (JUAs) are state-sponsored entities that provide insurance to healthcare providers who can’t obtain coverage in the standard market. Another example is Risk Retention Groups and Risk Purchasing Groups, groups of healthcare providers who come together to self-insure. 

They may have different regulatory requirements and financial structures, offering more flexibility. In a word, balance the act of finding the carrier with the best medical malpractice insurance cost, coverage, and reliability.


Question 5: Do you understand what is in the Malpractice Coverage policy? 

Understanding your malpractice policy is crucial. It’s not just about knowing you’re covered; it’s about understanding how you’re covered. So read the fine print. Understand the terms, conditions, and limitations of the policy. 

If something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification from your insurance provider or a legal advisor. Otherwise, here’s how to make sense of the fine print:

  • Look for terms, conditions, and limitations that could affect your coverage. 
  • Understand the meaning behind the different types of policies. For instance, a claims-made policy covers incidents that are both reported and occur while the policy is active. If you switch providers or cancel the policy, you may need “tail” coverage for incidents that happened but weren’t reported during the policy period. On the other hand, an occurrence policy covers any incident that occurs while the policy is active, regardless of when it’s reported. This means you’re covered for claims that arise after the policy has ended, as long as the incident occurred while the policy was in effect.
  • Know your limits (the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a claim) and assess whether they are adequate for your practice. They will vary based on your state and medical specialty. The standard limit is $1 million per claim and $3 million annually for all claims. However, in high-risk specialties or litigious states, higher limits are advisable.


Question 6: Do you need any Additional Features?

Some policies offer extra features like free legal consultation, risk management courses, or cyber liability coverage. While these may come at an additional cost, they can provide significant benefits.

For instance, free legal consultation is invaluable for preemptively addressing issues that could lead to a malpractice claim. Some courses are invaluable for preemptively addressing issues that could potentially lead to a malpractice claim.

Don’t forget “tail” coverage that covers you for claims that arise from services rendered while the policy was active but are reported after it has ended. Tail coverage is especially beneficial if you switch providers, retire, or make any other significant career change.

You can assess the cost-benefit ratio of the additional features you choose. For example, a cyber liability add-on may seem high until you consider the astronomical costs associated with a data breach. According to research, the average cost of healthcare data breaches has reached $11 million. 


Conclusion: Always Make an Informed Decision

Medical malpractice insurance is not just a legal requirement but a multi-faceted risk management tool. It provides a financial safety net, peace of mind, and valuable risk management resources. Most importantly, it protects your reputation and lets you focus on your primary mission—delivering high-quality healthcare to your patients.

Nonetheless, choosing medical malpractice insurance can be daunting. Albeit a significant decision that requires careful consideration and research, conduct thorough research and evaluation to select the insurance carrier that best fits your needs and offers the most comprehensive coverage. 

Or follow this guide and take a shortcut to protect your practice and livelihood.