How Much Does Dental Malpractice Insurance Cost?
Malpractice Insurance Costs
How much does dental malpractice insurance cost on average? So, if you are a new dental associate just coming out of school and entering your first job, your specialty is going to be the first deciding factor in how much insurance costs. Obviously, the more leaning toward surgical specialties will have a higher cost for malpractice insurance, whereas just general dentistry will have a lower cost. And for most people coming out, it’s very reasonable, usually somewhere between 500 to one thousand dollars per year, which is on the low side for most healthcare providers. And then over time, and I’m just taking general dentistry as an example, maybe after five years, you’ll be paying around $2,000 a year, and it will usually plateau around that amount.
Dental Malpractice Coverage
There are two types of coverage for dentists. You have claims-made insurance and occurrence-based insurance. And the prices for those two are different. A claims-made policy means a claim has to be made while a policy is in effect. In that instance, you would have to pay for tail insurance. Tail insurance covers the gap between the last day you’re working for an employer and then the last day someone can sue you. A claims-made policy is, let’s just take, for example, someone who’s been out for five years, and you have a $2,000 annual premium. Your tail insurance would be around twice what your annual premium is. So, in this case, it’d be around $4,000. And that’s a one-time payment. You don’t have to pay for it every year.
Dentists Tail Insurance Policy
But before the contract ends, whomever your employer is, will want that tail policy secured if you have to pay for it. The contract is going to dictate who is responsible for paying for tail insurance. You need to look in your contract and look under the professional liability insurance section and see what type of policy it is. If it doesn’t say, then you need to ask. And then ultimately, you need to see, and this will be written in the contract, who’s responsible for paying for tail insurance, assuming it’s a claims-made policy. If it’s an occurrence-based policy, no tail insurance is necessary. The occurrence-based policy simply means a claim occurs while you’re employed. So, it doesn’t matter if it’s filed two years or three years after it happened. If it occurs while the policy is in place, then you’re covered. Occurrence-based coverage is about a third more expensive than a claims-made policy.
If you paid 2000 for a claims-made policy, then it would be 133% more than that. Now, most places do not use occurrence-based policies. Most places, like smaller dentist-owned practices, will use claims-made policies and then put the burden on the dental associate when they leave to pay for tail. Some of the more corporate-owned practices may use an occurrence-based policy. They have more purchasing power because they have so many more dentists that they employ. But for the most part, in dentistry, a claims-made policy is what’s going to be used.
If you get into different specialties like endodontists, maxillofacial surgeons, those types of things, their rates can be double, sometimes triple, potentially what a general dentist would have to pay for an annual premium. But since general dentistry takes up most dentists, that’s kind of the numbers that I’m throwing out for you today.
What is Dental Malpractice Insurance and How Does Coverage Work?
Dentists encounter unique risks and challenges in their careers. The increased exposure to dental malpractice affects many dentists, with about 242 dental malpractice cases recorded yearly. This leaves many dental professionals financially and emotionally drained since they must pay for the damages incurred by patients during dental care. This usually amounts to huge fines, penalties, and even a bad reputation that may affect the dental practice and dentist’s careers in the long run.
As a dentist, it is imperative to protect yourself against liabilities that may arise from dental negligence by acquiring dental malpractice insurance. This coverage plays a crucial role in meeting your financial needs and protecting your practice, assets, reputation, and employees when a patient files a dental malpractice case against you. Below is essential information about dental malpractice insurance.
What Is Dental Malpractice Insurance Coverage?
Dental malpractice insurance is professional insurance coverage that protects healthcare providers from incurring financial losses on injury claims filed against them due to medical negligence from the practice. It helps dental professionals avoid covering the liabilities from their pockets. This coverage is usually necessary because injury claims can be huge and can affect the practice operations due to financial losses in the long run.
What are the Common Dental Malpractice Claims?
There are different dental malpractice claims that a patient can sue you for negligence when you deviate from the required ethical standards in the healthcare sector.
Knowing the dental malpractice claims is imperative to help you make informed decisions when a patient sues you for negligence. Below are the most common dental malpractice claims.
- A dentist using too much force on a young patient
- Removing teeth that don’t need to be removed
- A broken dentist instrument inside a patient’s tooth
- Misdiagnosis, infections, delayed treatment
- Not using the suitable anesthetic
- Dental issues resulting from a broken jaw, broken tooth, and extractions
- Improperly sterilized or non-sterilized dental tools
It is worth noting that some malpractice claims occur more frequently than others. This can lead to negligence claims when you least expect it. Having malpractice insurance can save you a lot of headaches and financial losses. It may also be suitable to hire an experienced Dental Contract Lawyer to provide you with a dental contract review for your practice.
Who Needs Dental Malpractice Insurance?
Dental malpractice coverage is essential for dentists, dental hygienists, dental or dental hygiene students, and dental entities. So it is basically for anyone directly interacting with patients to provide dental care because they are susceptible to dental malpractice claims. Whether full-time, part-time, a volunteer, or a beginner in dental practice, you may need dental malpractice coverage.
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