How Much Is Malpractice Insurance?

The cost of malpractice insurance depends on industry, specialty, state, coverage type and insurer claim limits.
Jan 4, 2022

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What is malpractice insurance?

Malpractice insurance is insurance that protects doctors, lawyers and other professionals from liability for events that injure or kill patients or clients. Many states require physicians and other professionals to have malpractice insurance.

Malpractice insurance typically covers:

  • Attorney fees.

  • Court costs.

  • Arbitration fees.

  • Settlements.

  • Punitive and compensatory damages.

  • Medical damages.

Malpractice insurance typically does not cover:

  • Sexual misconduct.

  • Criminal activity.

  • Inappropriate alteration of records.

  • Cyber liability.

There are generally three types of malpractice insurance.

  1. Claims-made coverage. This kind of malpractice insurance covers events that occurred while the policy is active, as long as the claim was also made while the policy was active. For example, if Dr. Jones had this coverage from January to December of 2021 and made a mistake in a procedure in July 2021, the event would be covered as long as the patient filed a claim against Dr. Jones by Dec. 31, 2021.

  2. Occurrence coverage. This kind of malpractice insurance covers events that occur while the policy is active, even if the claim is filed after the policy lapses. For example, if Dr. Jones had this coverage from January to December of 2021 and made a mistake in a procedure in July 2021, the event would be covered even if the patient didn’t file a claim against Dr. Jones until February of 2022.

  3. Tail coverage. This kind of malpractice insurance covers claims made after the policy lapses but is for an event that happened while you had coverage. Typically, tail coverage is an addition to a claims-made policy.

How much per month is malpractice insurance?

The monthly cost of malpractice insurance is often customized to the buyer (meaning you have to get a quote from the carrier to find out what the cost is for you). The cost depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • Your industry.

  • Your specialty. For example, lawyers specializing in securities, intellectual property, estate planning and personal injury might pay more due to the higher-risk nature of their specialty.

  • Your state.

  • Whether you work full time or part time.

  • The type of coverage you buy.

  • The policy’s dollar limit per claim.

  • The policy’s aggregate limit on claims.

Sample Annual Medical Malpractice Insurance Premiums, 2020

Obstetrics/Gynecology

California (Los Angeles, Orange)

$49,804.

Connecticut

$134,054.

Florida (Miami-Dade)

$205,380.

Illinois (Cook, Madison, St. Clair)

$179,497.

New Jersey

$90,749.

New York (Nassau, Suffolk)

$174,552.

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

$119,466.

General surgery

California (Los Angeles, Orange)

$41,775.

Connecticut

$90,577.

Florida (Miami-Dade)

$205,380.

Illinois (Cook, Madison, St. Clair)

$120,258.

New Jersey

$60,810.

New York (Nassau, Suffolk)

$154,056.

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

$85,930.

Internal medicine

California (Los Angeles, Orange)

$8,274.

Connecticut

$18,878.

Florida (Miami-Dade)

$51,345.

Illinois (Cook, Madison, St. Clair)

$41,272.

New Jersey

$15,900.

New York (Nassau, Suffolk)

$33,852.

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

$24,873.

Sources: American Medical Association, Annual Rate Survey (October) of the Medical Liability Monitor. Numbers are manual premiums reported by a liability insurer selected on the basis of data availability. CT premiums are for $1 million/$4 million limits; PA premiums include Patient Compensation Fund surcharges.

Do doctors have to pay their own malpractice insurance?

Hospitals typically pay malpractice insurance premiums for doctors who are their employees. Doctors who operate their own practices typically pay for their own coverage.

Medical professionals who work for federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, often don’t have to get malpractice insurance. The federal government is the insurer.

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