What is Dental Liability Insurance?
Dental liability insurance is a type of policy that protects dentists, maxillofacial surgeons, and oral surgeons from financial costs, fees, and charges due to malpractice claims, lawsuits, etc. Dentists are liable for any mistakes or problems that occur with a patient, even though it is not intentional. Patients can sue dentists, whether they are innocent or not. Dental liability insurance helps keep the dental professional in business by providing payments to compensate for payouts to lawyers, court fees, claim settling, judgements, etc.
Is Dental Malpractice Insurance The Same As Dental Liability Insurance?
Yes, it is. It can often be referred to by several names, which additionally includes professional liability insurance and professional malpractice insurance.
What Are the Types of Dental Liability Insurance
There are two types of dental liability insurance, which includes “occurrence” and “claims-made” policies. Occurrence dental policies process a claim based on the date the services were provided, but use the current policy, which must be in effect and active. Claims-made policies are based on the date of the claim, not when the services were performed, but you also must have an active policy. Aside from that, different insurance companies specialize in different professions. For instance, some specialize in dentist coverage while others specialize in maxillofacial and oral surgeons.
When Should I Contact My Insurance Provider for Liability Issues?
You should contact your dental liability insurance provider immediately for:
• Patient deaths
• Incidents that occur which can potentially lead to a claim
• Therapeutic and diagnostic conditions that result in injury
• Received communications from a lawyer
• Received communications from state or peer review agencies
• Received subpoena or suit documents
What Is Not Covered Under Dental Malpractice Insurance?
A lot of it depends on the insurance provider, but most generally offer the same features. Some prime examples of what is not covered in dental malpractice insurance includes committing illegal acts, intentionally harming someone, negligence, discrimination actions, work-related injuries for staff members, and making false claims. Most of these examples are not covered by anything, except the employee injuries will be covered under worker’s compensation insurance.
What Is Covered Under Dental Liability Insurance?
A lot of things are tied into dental liability insurance (aka dental malpractice insurance). However, everything that is covered is related to malpractice. It covers accidental injuries to patients, patient lawsuits and litigation, lawyer fees, court fees, penalty fees, fines, and other similar expenses in relation to patients and local/state enforcers.
What Common Liability Issues Do Dental Professionals Often Face?
A lot of this depends on what profession. For instance, a maxillofacial surgeon will experience patient litigation, accusations, and lawsuits quite often, no matter how good or experienced they are. They perform a lot of surgical procedures, which increases their risk factor for accidents and misunderstandings by their patients. Dentists often face penalties for non-compliance, failures to refer patients to specialists, patients claiming you didn’t solve the problems even though you referred them to a specialist and they refused, anesthesia complications, improperly extracting teeth, lack of patient or guardian consent, etc.
What Can I Do To Minimize Liability Claims?
This can be rather long and complicated, but a few important things you can do is find an insurance agent that stays up to date with current regulations and keeps you informed of potential policy changes, as well as be sure to perform dental services without deviating from the standard of care.You will also want to keep good, detailed records of all procedures, appointments, results, patient history, etc. to document your proper care in the event that the patient claims you neglected them, didn’t perform what you claimed you would, didn’t solve the issues they expected you to solve, etc.
One more example is that you want to be sure to watch what you say because that can be held against you, such as talking about another dentist or specialist, complications that you may have experienced, telling the patient that it won’t hurt at all when it will, telling a patient that it will be complete by a specific date, talking about other patients, etc.
What Information Do I Need To Apply For Dental Liability Insurance?
It can vary from one insurance provider to another, but generally; you need:
• Your total employee count
• Employee payroll information
• Ownership interests in other companies
• Contract policies
• Prior claims
• Prior insurance information
The whole purpose of obtaining this information is to determine your potential liability, determine what your practice is like and how it is handled, review how you handle clients, etc. Demographics also play a huge role in policy acceptance and costs.
What Is A Certificate Of Liability Insurance?
This certificate is something you get when your policy is approved. It is used to show proof of professional liability coverage.
How Much Does Dental Liability Insurance Cost?
This question is quite complex, but the variable rate can be $300 to $2,000 per year for the first five years and then $2,000 to $3,000 afterwards. It just depends on the type of liability insurance you choose. It is also a general estimate that can vary from one location and one provider to the next, but it gives you an idea as to what to expect. Metropolitan areas often have higher rates than rural areas. A claims-only policy can be as low as $300 per year give or take for the first five years. After that, it can be as much as $2,000 per year. An occurrence policy is usually more based on the risk factors and can be anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 a year for the first five years. After that, it can be as much as $3,000 per year.