A Guide to Medical Malpractice Insurance

Everything you need to know about medical malpractice insurance

Kristine Wook on Unsplash

Kristine Wook on Unsplash

Medical Malpractice insurance providers, PolicyBee provide a comprehensive guide to medical malpractice insurance - with FAQs and answers. Find out more about PolicyBee here.

What is medical malpractice insurance cover?

Generally, medical malpactice - often referred to as "medmal" - covers any claim or accusation where you've made the kind of mistake that has harmed someone. It could be a physical or mental injury and even death. Medmal, which may also be known as 'treatment liability insurance', helps protect both: your finances and reputation.

This insurance may cover things such as: paying for a specialist lawyer for your defence, picking up legal costs, and covering any compensation you must pay. Medmal cover will help whether a claim is justified and proven or not. Either way it is crucial to your peace of mind when running your practice.

Why should I buy it?

It is always a good idea to have the protection of medmal insurance if your work involves any risk of causing unintentional physical or mental harm.

The circumstances around claims of malpractice can be very stressful, and as mentioned, your insurance can help by:

● Paying for a specialist lawyer to defend you
● Picking up legal costs
● Covering any compensation

A mistake can cost thousands of pounds if the claim is justified or not. This insurance takes the pressure off trying to manage such a claim, personally.

Top 5 frequently asked questions - with answers:

1. What’s the difference between malpractice insurance and professional indemnity insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance (medmal) does a different job to professional indemnity (PI). Rely on the wrong one, and you could find you're not covered when a claim is made. Medmal covers you for a claim where you caused unintentional physical or mental harm. While PI is concerned with financial losses allegedly suffered by a client because of the failure of your professional services.

2. Do I need Public Liability (PL) insurance?

If you work with clients and suppliers on a face-to-face basis, PL is advisable. PL covers you for any claims where a third party injures themselves (e.g. a trip or fall). It also covers if you damage property (like knocking over an expensive vase).

3. Will medmal cover me if I am mobile, working from home or in a salon?

Yes, a medmal policy follows you wherever your business is based. You can work in a salon, at home or in a client's house with a medmal policy.

4. Will medmal cover me if I work remotely, for example, via Zoom?

It would depend on your policy wording and the job you do. Generally, if your clients are in the UK, then cover will be provided as standard. For clients who are outside the UK, you should check your policy's geographical limits.

5. Can I get cover if I'm a student?

Yes, our medmal policy covers you as long as you’re working face-to-face under the supervision of a qualified person. Other policies may vary, so it's worth checking the wording.

Tips for buying medical malpractice insurance

1. When looking for insurance, check that it gives you adequate cover.

It should include:

Treatment and professional liability cover. This covers you if you injure a client - either physically or mentally. For example, as a beauty therapist, if you accidentally damaged your client’s eye while putting on fake eyelashes. Or, as a counsellor, if you gave advice that makes your client's mental condition worse.

Public liability (PL). If you see patients face-to-face, PL is good to have. If a client injures themselves by tripping over a loose floor tile or if you visit them at home and break something, PL will cover you. If there’s an accident or accusation, PL pays your legal fees and any compensation.

2. You may also want to consider these as optional add ons. You can always add to your existing policy at a later date:

Employers' liability (EL). This is a legal requirement if you employ someone. EL covers you if an employee is insured while at work. For example, someone trips in the kitchen and breaks their wrist, or an employee gets a long-term back injury from not having the right chair. EL covers the legal costs associated with a claim and pays any compensation awarded. If you own a salon and rent a chair out, this also counts as employment, so you'd need EL.

Portable equipment insurance. If you use specialist equipment and lose it, damage it, or it gets stolen, you'll need to replace it. Your equipment insurance pays to repair or replace your kit quickly and keeps you working.

Cyber insurance. If you work remotely, hold data about customers, have a website or send emails, cyber insurance is advisable. Cyber covers the cost of repairing and restoring your systems, data and website after a breach or hack. Cyber also covers legal fees and compensation if you're sued for losing personal data.

3. It's worth checking if specific treatments that you offer are included in your policy. Beauty insurance, for example, usually covers a long list of treatments, but some more specialist therapies may be excluded.

You’ll also need to confirm that you have enough training to satisfy your insurer's minimum requirement. Most policies ask for a certain level of training and experience, and some policies will only cover medical practitioners.

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