Today, we need to talk about critical tail coverage on professional medical liability insurance.
One of the complex things about malpractice insurance is that literally years can elapse between the actual treatment that took place with the patient, and the malpractice claim itself.
To add even more complexity to this equation, a lot of time might also pass while the patient’s suit goes to court and is either settled or decided in the legal system.
This is why more and more physicians are actually applying for (and paying for) tail coverage as well.
So let’s talk about exactly what tail coverage malpractice insurance is, and let’s also discuss some tips that you should keep in mind when shopping for it.
What Is Tail Coverage Malpractice Insurance?
LeverageRX does a great job of defining exactly what this is:
“Tail coverage, also called the Extended Reporting Endorsement, is a policy that you add onto an existing medical malpractice insurance policy that’s about to end. It’s liability coverage that protects you if you have a claims-made policy that lapses or you switch insurers.”
Now, you may be asking yourself:
Why is this important?
Well, that’s a great question. And here’s the answer.
Unfortunately, about 34% of all physicians have, at some point, had a malpractice lawsuit filed against them.
In fact, the physicians with the highest risk of being sued are actually OBGYNs and surgeons.
With that being said—physicians in every specialty put themselves at risk for malpractice lawsuits every single day just by practicing medicine—and it has become more crucial than ever for doctors to protect themselves against such lawsuits.
Malpractice claims can sometimes be made years after the incident. And the simple truth of the fact is that doctors who don’t have the right type of insurance policy in place could be on the hook for literally hundreds of thousands of dollars due to claims made after their policy expires.
This is where tail coverage comes in.
Tail coverage basically extends your malpractice insurance coverage reporting period, which means that you’ll be covered even if the patient files a claim years later.
Tail coverage usually stays in effect for an unlimited period of time and just adds an extra layer of protection that claims-made policies can’t really provide in that long-term time frame.
With all of that being said—here are 3 tips to help you find the best tail coverage for your malpractice insurance.
1. Ask Plenty Of Questions
When shopping for tail coverage, it’s essential to ask your insurance broker plenty of questions to ensure you understand the policy’s terms and conditions. Some questions to consider include:
- What events are covered under the policy?
- What is the policy’s coverage limit?
- What is the premium for the policy?
- How long is the coverage in effect?
- What are the exclusions or limitations of the policy?
It’s also important to ask about any changes to your premium or coverage that may occur over time.
2. Learn The Specifics Of The Coverage
Tail coverage policies can vary significantly, so it’s important to understand the specific terms and conditions of your policy. Some factors to consider include:
- The length of the coverage period: Tail coverage is usually in effect for an unlimited period, but it’s important to verify the length of the coverage and any limitations or exclusions that may apply.
- The coverage limit: The coverage limit determines how much the insurance company will pay in the event of a claim. Make sure the limit is adequate for your needs.
- The retroactive date: The retroactive date is the date on which coverage begins for claims that arise from past events. Make sure the retroactive date aligns with your needs.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Compare Insurance Plans
When shopping for tail coverage, it’s important to compare policies from multiple insurers. Look for policies that provide the coverage you need at a reasonable price.
Some factors to consider include:
- The reputation of the insurance company
- The cost of the policy
- The coverage limit and terms
- The level of customer service provided by the insurer
Tail coverage is an essential component of professional liability insurance for medical professionals. Providing coverage for claims made after a policy has expired, it protects doctors from the financial risks associated with malpractice lawsuits.
When shopping for tail coverage, it’s important to ask plenty of questions, understand the specifics of the coverage, and compare policies from multiple insurers.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you have the right tail coverage policy to protect your practice and your patients.