Types of Dental Liability Insurance
When it comes to liability insurance, it is important to understand your options and to make sure that you have proper coverage that suits your needs as a dentist or maxillofacial/oral surgeon. The first part to understanding professional liability insurance is that there are two types, including occurrence policies and claims-made policies. Each one has its own process for handling claims and you need to decide which one is best for you. Fortress and OMSNIC offer both. Fortress policies are for dentists and OMSNIC policies are for maxillofacial and oral surgeons. Here is helpful information to help decide which type of policy is best for you.
What is Claims-Made Coverage?
Claims-made liability insurance is a policy that takes action at the time of a claim, rather than when you performed the services. So if you performed oral surgery on a patient fourteen months ago and the patient has just filed a claim against you, this type of policy covers you from the start of the claim. That means that the policy you currently have is the one that handles the claim, not the one that you had at the time of the services.
What is Occurrence Coverage?
Occurrence liability insurance is a policy that takes action on a claim based on the insurance you had during the time you provided the dental services. If you filled cavities twelve months ago on a patient and they just made a claim against you, this type of policy will commence based on the policy you had when you provided the services. This insurance is beneficial for retirement or if your policy ended. You still receive benefits for claims if they occurred during the policy period.
What Does Claims-Made Insurance and Occurrence Insurance Cover?
The main purpose of professional liability insurance is to protect your financial status when issues arrive, such as litigation, lawsuits, court orders, malpractice problems, etc. The costs can really add up and having liability insurance protects you by covering most of the fees and charges. Both dentists and maxillofacial/oral surgeons have to deal with lawsuits all the time, no matter how good they are at what they do. Not every customer is satisfied and accidents can also happen, especially with maxillofacial surgeons. Claims-made and occurrence policies will cover the fees associated with lawyer services, judgements, settlements, charges and fines from state and local authorities, first aid treatment of injured patients, etc.
What Do Occurrence and Claims-Made Insurance Policies Not Cover?
It does not cover:
• Intentionally performed illegal acts
• Discrimination acts (Get Employment Practices Liability Insurance)
• General liabilities like your patient slipping on your office’s sidewalk (Get General Liability Insurance)
• Employee injuries (Get Worker’s Compensation Insurance)
Between the two types of liability insurance for dental professionals, including “occurrence” and “claims-made” types; you can see that they are very similar. The biggest difference is how they are used. When it comes to the types in relation to the profession, maxillofacial and oral surgeons have added coverage through OMSNIC because they have a higher rate of claims. Their policy rates are generally higher than it is for dentists, which gets coverage through Fortress Insurance.