Claims of negligence and wrongdoing are common for licensed professionals. In fact, 34% of physicians have had a claim filed against them during their careers. Even when you do everything according to proper procedure, defending yourself against claims can cost thousands of dollars, so professional liability insurance—also known as malpractice insurance—is a necessity to protect yourself.
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.
We looked at 17 top malpractice insurance companies 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.
The 7 Best Malpractice Insurance Companies of 2020
- Proliability: Best Overall
- Nurses Service Organization: Best for Nurses
- Healthcare Providers Service Organization: Best for Therapists
- Dentist’s Advantage: Best for Dentists
- CoverWallet: Best for Social Workers
- State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company: Best for Doctors
- 360 Coverage Pros: Best for Attorneys
Proliability is one of the few companies that serves multiple industries and offers both low-cost options and higher tiers of coverage. With decades of experience and an excellent reputation, you can also qualify for discounts to further lower your premium and make your insurance policy more affordable. This company does malpractice insurance and nothing else; they're our top choice for multiple industries.
Available for a wide range of industries
Premium discounts if you’re a member of professional associations
Coverage available to students
Maximum coverage limit is $5 million
Other business policies aren’t available
Policies don’t include cybersecurity coverage
Available nationwide, Proliability has been serving clients since 1949. It provides professional liability insurance to a wide range of industries, including healthcare workers and business professionals. Whether you’re a physician, dentist, pharmacist, therapist, or a lawyer, you can get coverage through Proliability for your business. It offers group protection as well as individual coverage, so you can get coverage for legal entities, ancillary professionals, and other employees. Proliability is our overall choice because they can represent the most classes at competitive pricing.
The company even has coverage options for students. Students doing clinical work can get student malpractice insurance for as little as $30 per month.
Proliability offers a range of coverage options depending on your industry, and you can choose between claims-made or occurrence-based coverage. The standard per occurrence limit of liability is $1 million, but coverage up to $5 million is available. You may qualify for a discount if you’re a member of a professional association, such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners or the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
Proliability only offers professional liability coverage. It doesn’t have other forms of business insurance, and its policies do not include cybersecurity coverage.
Proliability is powered by Mercer Health & Benefits Administration, an AM Best A-rated company.
The Nurses Service Organization caters directly to nurses, offering policies that are specifically designed for their needs at a price they can afford. With comprehensive professional liability policies, low premiums, and other insurance offerings, the Nurses Service Organization is a reliable insurance company nurses can count on for coverage.
Comprehensive professional liability insurance
Personal insurance policies also available
Students are eligible for up to 60% off
Maximum coverage is limited to $1 million per incident/$6 million annual aggregate
No other business insurance offered
Only available to nurses
The Nurses Service Organization offers malpractice insurance just for nurses. It’s been in operation for over 40 years and is the nation’s largest provider of nursing malpractice insurance, serving over 500,000 nurses. By specializing in nursing, the Nurses Service Organization is able to keep costs down while addressing the real risks of the job, making it our pick for the best for nurses overall.
Policies cover you for up to $1 million for each instance of a professional liability claim arising out of a covered medical incident. You’re covered for up to $6 million annual aggregate for all covered claims in the policy period. Your policy includes up to $25,000 in license protection, and up to $10,000 in first aid expenses.
You can get a policy quote online; your insurance premiums are dependent on your location and profession. Rates can vary depending on your specialty, whether you are a nurse, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or nursing student. If you’re a recent graduate, you can get up to 60% off your policy.
The Nurses Service Organization also offers other insurance policies, such as term life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and dental insurance.
Nurses Service Organization policies are underwritten by Affinity Insurance Services, which has an A rating from AM Best.
Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) has a stellar reputation and offers comprehensive professional liability policies. With its multiple premium discounts, it has affordable policies for therapists' offices, and you can take your coverage with you if you leave your job.
Multiple premium discounts available
Comprehensive professional liability protection
$3 million annual aggregate coverage maximum
Other business insurance coverage not available
No cybersecurity protection
Therapists and mental health providers face unique challenges and may face malpractice suits or state board complaints during their careers.
The Healthcare Providers Service Organization is our choice as the best insurer for therapists because their policies are designed for the unique professional risks of practices where patients may visit offices or work with counselors via telemedicine. The company has been in operation for 26 years and has provided malpractice insurance to over 96,000 counselors nationwide.
HPSO’s professional liability for counselors covers you up to $1 million each claim arising out of a covered medical incident, and up to $3 million annual aggregate for all covered claims within the policy period. Your policy also includes license protection, deposition representation, personal liability protection, and medical payments. Your HPSO policy is portable, so you can take it with you if you change jobs.
However, HPSO does not offer general business liability protection or cybersecurity coverage. For mental health professionals who often rely on telemedicine, that’s a significant drawback.
Your premiums are dependent on your location and coverage amount, but you may qualify for discounts that can lower your cost:
- New graduate discount: New graduates can receive up to 60% off their annual premiums their first year, 40% off their second year, and 20% off their third year.
- American Counseling Association (ACA) discount: Members of the ACA can receive 10% off their premiums.
- Risk management discount: If you take a qualifying risk management course, you can receive a 10% discount that lasts for three years.
HPSO has an outstanding reputation. Backed by the CNA Financial Corporation, it received an A+ rating from AM Best.
Dentist’s Advantage creates policies specifically for dentists, allowing you to choose your own deductible and coverage level. The insurer offers other business insurance policies so you can get comprehensive coverage, and it has multiple premium discounts for dentists.
Deductibles range from $0 to $10,000
Choose between occurrence or claims-made policies
Multiple discounts available
Maximum coverage limit is $5 million/$6 million annual aggregate
Billing errors and omissions, employment practices liability coverage is extra
Cyber liability protection is not included
Dentist’s Advantage was started as a small family-run insurance agency in 1949. Since then, it has expanded nationwide, covering dental practitioners in all 50 states, making it the premier resource for dental malpractice insurance and our top pick for the industry thanks to its wide array of discounts and coverage customizations.
Dentist’s Advantage offers up to $5 million per incident and up to $6 million annual aggregate in professional liability coverage. You can choose your own deductible, which can be $0, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000. The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be.
Your malpractice coverage gives you professional liability protection, license defense protection, and personal and advertising injury protection.
The plan covers both dentists and offices, so the maximum limits may be low for some businesses. While Dentist’s Advantage does offer business owner policies, umbrella coverage, cyber liability protection, and workers’ compensation insurance, those policies are an extra cost.
Dentist’s Advantage does offer several discounts. For example, members of the Academy of General Dentistry, dental school graduates, American Dental Association members, and part-time dentists can qualify for premium discounts.
Dentist’s Advantage is operated by Aon Corporation, a major insurance company with an A rating from AM Best.
Social workers are often on a tight budget, so CoverWallet’s affordable approach to malpractice insurance is appealing. Social workers aren't tied to one policy at one price but can instead customize an insurance package with plans that start at just $500 per year.
Get an instant, customizable online quote
Add general liability protection
Insurance assessment tool
Cyber liability protection and defense fees are an added charge
May need a business owners’ policy
Will need to speak to a representative for full details
CoverWallet offers a high-tech approach to professional liability insurance. CoverWallet is a subsidiary of the Aon Corporation, a well-known insurance underwriting company, but it aims to make insurance more accessible to small business owners nationwide.
Social workers can use its tools to build their own insurance packages based on questions that directly address a social worker's business practices. If you don’t know what coverage you need, you can use its insurance assessment tool to see what kind of insurance you should get and what limits you need. Then, you can get an instant online quote. CoverWallet allows you to add general liability, professional liability, a business owner’s policy, and even commercial auto insurance into one personalized package. This ability to customize policies at affordable prices makes CoverWallet the best in our review for social workers.
Depending on your needs, CoverWallet’s pricing can be quite low. Policies start as low as $500 per year for just professional liability coverage.
As a subsidiary of Aon, CoverWallet shares its excellent reputation and has an A rating from AM Best.
State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company (SVMIC) has an outstanding reputation and has been in operation for over 40 years offering doctors coverage based on their practice's specialty. It offers a wide range of options, so you can choose a policy limit that matches your needs.
Range of limit options
Policies include cybersecurity coverage and consent clauses
Ongoing education courses provided
Dentists, podiatrists, and chiropractors are ineligible for coverage
SVMIC doesn’t offer other business insurance policies
Limited to physicians in the Southeast
Founded in 1975, State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company was launched by a group of physicians to insure their own medical liability risk. More than 40 years later, the company insures over 19,000 physicians in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Virginia. SVMIC gets our nod for the best doctor's malpractice insurance because it is designed by doctors to meet the unique needs of different types of medical practices.
The company only offers medical malpractice insurance. When you apply for coverage, you can choose from a range of policy limits, from $1 million medical incident/$3 million annual aggregate to $10 million medical incident/$12 million annual aggregate. Each claim is managed by an in-house attorney, and policies include consent clauses and cybersecurity coverage.
SVMIC is owned by its policyholders. As a policyholder, you have the right to vote for the board of directors who lead the organization and set the policy rates. And, SVMIC provides free ongoing education courses. Past topics include risk management, managing stress, and using telemedicine in your practice.
While SVMIC is only available in the Southeast, it’s a good choice for physicians because it has an excellent reputation of doctors developing plans for doctors. It has an A rating from AM Best.
For solo attorneys in need of malpractice insurance, 360 Coverage Pros offers coverage at a relatively low cost, backed by one of the world’s biggest and most respected insurance companies, with policies that are designed to deal with the frequent lawsuits filed by clients who didn't win.
Coverage limits up to $10 million
Costs start as low as $800 per year
Only claims-made coverage
Firms must be small in size
Cyber liability coverage additional cost
Administered by Gallagher Affinity, a global insurance company that has been in operation since 1927, 360 Coverage Pros specializes in malpractice policies for lawyers, real estate agents, and accountants. It wins for the attorneys' category because its policies reflect the litigious nature of the industry and are prepared to back clients up with a team of legal analysts.
Its lawyer malpractice insurance policy is a low-cost program designed for small law firms nationwide. It covers solo attorneys to practices with up to 19 attorneys; larger firms are not eligible. You can qualify for a plan with annual premiums as low as $800 per year.
Coverage limits are available up to $10 million per year. However, only claims-made coverage is available. If you’d like cyber liability coverage, that has to be purchased separately; it costs $199 per year.
Your coverage is secured by the Swiss Reinsurance Company, a major insurance provider with an A+ rating from AM Best.
What Is Malpractice Insurance?
Malpractice insurance, also known as professional liability insurance, protects licensed professionals from liabilities associated with wrongful practices resulting in injuries or damages. It also helps them with the cost of defending themselves in lawsuits that are related to those claims.
In most states, physicians are required by law to have malpractice insurance. However, it’s useful for other medical professionals like dentists, pharmacists, and nurses to obtain protection.
Malpractice insurance is necessary on top of a general liability insurance policy because it covers claims for negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith, and inaccurate advice.
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.
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.
Why Is Malpractice Coverage So Extremely Expensive Today?
In the past year, malpractice insurance premiums have increased for many professionals, especially internists, surgeons, and OB-GYNs.
Costs are rising because physicians and other professionals are facing many lawsuits and need to defend every claim. Each one of those cases can be costly, even when the professional followed every standard and professional protocol.
High-dollar settlements and judgments also affect premiums, and some states have changed laws adjusting the statute of limitations, making it possible for more people to sue in court. All of these factors combine to add a larger burden on insurance companies, driving up insurance premiums.
How We Chose the Malpractice Insurance Carriers
To choose the best malpractice insurance companies, we researched 17 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.
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