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What is malpractice insurance?
Malpractice insurance is designed to protect therapists and healthcare professionals financially. If a patient or client claims that you have been negligent, you could be facing a hefty compensation bill if you are found to be at fault.
Malpractice insurance covers you against the risk of misdiagnosis claims, or if a patient or client says you caused them harm during your work. It is very similar to professional liability cover, or treatment liability insurance too.
Who needs malpractice insurance?
Malpractice insurance is standard for those working in the healthcare profession. Doctors, nurses, personal trainers and dentists are often required to take out this cover.
It is also recommended for therapists who come into close personal contact with clients during the course of treatment, for example:
- Massage therapists
- Aesthetic practitioners
- Plastic surgeon
- Occupational therapy
- Holistic therapist
- Fitness instructor
What’s the difference between malpractice insurance and professional liability cover?
The two types of policy are very similar. Both medical malpractice and professional indemnity insurance cover claims arising from a treatment or service you offer.
Professional indemnity insurance would usually only cover economic losses. Malpractice cover is more extensive and covers claims for injury or property damage. This is an important difference.
What does it cover?
The exact details of what your policy covers will need to be agreed with your insurance provider. Most malpractice policies will cover injury to your client or patient.
Malpractice insurance will also cover you if you fail to diagnose something or misdiagnose your client, which causes them harm. It should also cover you for incorrect prescriptions or incorrect doses of any medication.
The policy will cover the legal costs involved with defending claims of this nature. However, there may be other costs arising if a claim is brought against you. If your reputation is damaged as a result of a claim, your malpractice insurance would usually include provision for restoring your public credibility. The policy may also include loss of earnings cover if you are financially compromised whilst defending a case.
What is not covered by malpractice insurance
Malpractice insurance is designed to give you peace of mind. However, there are some exclusions, and not everything which can go wrong will be covered by your policy. Check carefully with your provider, but the following circumstances are normally excluded:
- Cases of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse
- Any acts or treatments which are illegal.
- Use of illegal drugs or medicines
- Situations where you have deliberately endangered your client or patient, or can be shown to be acting recklessly
- Performing treatment whilst under the influence of illegal substances
When do I need it?
Unlike some types of insurance, malpractice insurance is offered on a ‘claims made’ basis. This means that you must have a valid policy in place at the time the claim is made, not just the time the claim is referring to.
As there can be a delay between someone sustaining harm and actually bringing a claim, if cease to trade, you will need to make sure you have ‘run-off’ cover in case any other claims come up in later years.