12 Keys to Finding the Best Physical Therapist Insurance

April 19, 2021 •

If you run a physical therapy practice, you need good physical therapist insurance to make sure that both you and your team are always covered. It can be tricky to navigate the world of selecting the best insurance, but fortunately, there are a few key tips and tricks that will help you to rest easier at night knowing that you’ve made the right choice.

12 Keys to Finding the Best Physical Therapist Insurance

1. What Does the Fine Print Say About Liability?

It’s absolutely vital to read the fine print, so if you only follow one tip on this list, make sure that it’s this one. In order to select the best insurance for you and your practice, you need to know where you stand in terms of both professional liability and general liability. Different types of insurance have different levels of coverage. Your practice will need both professional and general liability, and how much you choose will most likely be directly related to the size of your practice, what sort of physical therapy that you practice, and your location.

If you are dealing with people who’ve had lots of physical trauma and may get accidentally hurt while in your care, you will need more coverage.

Although all liability coverage varies depending on the plan that you select, there are some standard things that you should look for. First, look at the limit options the insurance provider has available. Consult the provider for help selecting your incident limits and aggregate limits to know how much your insurance will pay out before you or your practice are on the hook for the remainder. Secondly, look at any of the exclusions. You can find out what will and won’t be covered by reading the policy.

2. Does It Cover Your Legal or Attorney Fees?

Similarly, it’s important to find out if your insurance package covers your legal or attorney fees. A standard professional liability should come with coverage for legal fees, however some insurance only covers the liability that you have to pay out to patients but doesn’t protect you in the courtroom. Each practice must make the decision to include this coverage based upon their history with malpractice suits and how risky their work is.

If your insurances does not cover legal representation or attorney fees, you may have to pay them out of pocket, even if you are not at fault. You will still have to spend money defending yourself or your employees, so it is advised to make sure you have coverage for legal fees. NOW insurance professional liability policies comes standard with coverage for legal fees.

3. How Does It Protect Your License?

You need to get the insurance that protects your license. If you lose your license, you could face ramifications not just from the state that you’re in but other states that you may want to practice in. Losing your license is generally the result of a complaint. Clients can report you to your state licensing board, and you will need to defend yourself to save your license.

Although insurance will not protect you from answering to this board, it can cover your legal fees and defense team. Since your license is such a valuable and important part of running your practice, you will want to be completely positive that whatever insurance plan you choose has this element attached to it. NOW Insurance provides a $10,000 limit for license protection.

4. Does Your Coverage Protect Both You and Your Practice?

You need to ensure that your professional liability insurance covers both you and your practice. Anyone who works for you should also be covered under your insurance plan. It’s vital that you select a plan that does both, specifically because someone can file a malpractice suit against both you and your company. If your company is not insured, you stand to lose valuable assets, including equipment or even the location of your practice.

Whether you are actively practicing or overseeing employees, you need coverage for yourself. Make sure that the plan that you select has explicit information on how you are personally covered and also how your practice will be taken care of in the event of a malpractice suit.

As a company you also need to have general liability to cover your business and the facility. General liability provides coverage for bodily injury that results from accidents that happen on your property, and other types of damage to the property, as well as damage to property of others.

5. What Are the Worst-Case Scenarios?

Although nobody likes to think about them, it’s important to consider what happens in a worst-case scenario. Even if they rarely happen, it’s good to know that you are still fully covered and insured. Many different types of insurance cover worst-case scenarios, such as workplace violence and personal injury. And it’s important to remember that unthinkable incidents happen all the time in the medical world that no one could have predicted.

If you want fully comprehensive care, it’s worth looking into insurance that covers violence that happens to you both at work and on the way to work. Usually this coverage also includes counseling sessions or damage to property. It’s almost like having health insurance and is really just another facet of protecting yourself from workplace violence or injuries. NOW Insurance professional liability policy comes standard with coverage for assault as a coverage extension.

6. Does It Cover Sexual Misconduct and HIPAA?

It’s a good idea to know where your policy stands in terms of sexual misconduct or HIPAA. Since physical therapists deal with the body on a regular basis, they can easily fall into the trap of being sued for sexual misconduct, even if none takes place. Also, your employees might get sued, so it’s good to know that you have the insurance just in case you need it. NOW Insurance standard professional liability policy comes with $100/300k limits for physical and sexual abuse claims.

HIPAA violations are a big deal and can certainly take down your practice if you are not careful. They can happen innocently and accidentally, but still require you to pay fines and receive penalties. Since patients are uniquely aware of their rights in the digital age, it behooves you to have supplemental insurance to deal with HIPAA violations. Violations can happen physically at the office, or online due to a cyber-attack or data breach. Not all providers have coverage for HIPAA violations. NOW Insurance professional liability policy comes with a $25,000 HIPAA sublimit.

7. What about cyber liability?

Speaking of cyber-attacks, any practice that collects and stores patient data (which is presumably all of them) needs a cyber liability policy these days. Cyber breaches are unfortunately extremely common for healthcare entities, because patient data is so valuable on the black market.

With NOW Insurance, physical therapists can add on a $100,000 sublimit for cyber security insurance. It’s reasonably priced and will provide peace of mind knowing that you’ll have help if you experience a data breach or if one of your employees falls prey to a phishing or social engineering scheme.

8. Can you select a retroactive date?

Ask your provider if you have the option to choose a retroactive date, if you need one. For medical professionals, and especially physical therapists, people can sue years after they’ve finished their sessions. Patients may discover or experience an issue years after being treated, and decide it has to do with ineffective or actively harmful treatment that you gave them. It’s truly not as rare as one would think, and most of the time, you never see it coming. If you have a claims-made policy that lapsed in the past, you should consider a retroactive date to cover prior acts. This will cover you for future claims that arise from treatment you administered during a past period of time.

9. Can You Choose Your Own Attorney?

Even insurance that covers legal fees might not allow you to choose your own attorney. Some people don’t mind not being able to do this, but for other practices, the freedom of choosing the right attorney for you is not only a selling point but an absolute must.

If you think that there might be a conflict between your insurance’s counsel and one that you would select yourself, check to see if it pays for your attorney of choice. This could be especially important for those who want to choose their own defense team.

10. Should You Consider a Broker?

Should you go it alone or consider a broker? If you decide to research and shop around on your own, make sure that you’re armed with all of the information in this article. These days, you can find out just about everything you need to know about business insurance, professional liability and malpractice lawsuits on the internet. Insurance companies should be happy to share with you how to find the right policy and be very transparent about what is and isn’t covered with each type of policy.

Alternately, you can pay someone to do it for you. They are experienced in shopping for insurance, should know all the major players to shop from, and help you find exactly the type and amount of insurance you need. However, brokers are becoming less and less common because they make the process longer and more expensive. A competent and trustworthy insurance company will be able to help you find the right policy tailored to your unique situation, without going through a broker.

As long as you choose an insurance provider that is backed by AM Best A rated carriers, and one that specializes in medical professionals and healthcare entities, you should feel confident shopping around on your own. Another great resource is talking with your physical therapist friends and other medical professionals to learn about their experiences in securing insurance.

11. How Much Insurance Do You Need to Have?

This is one of the most important questions to answer, and one of the most difficult. Look at the different tiers of coverage provided by your insurance carrier. How much do you really need to have? A lot of this will hinge on how big your practice is and what sort of physical therapy that you practice. If you’re in doubt, talk to your insurance provider. They should be able to give you some insight into what similar companies are doing, from years of data working with providers just like you.

12. Do You Need to Consent to Settle?

Many times, malpractice cases are settled out of court, but this can still damage your reputation. If your case is settled out of court, you could be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, a searchable data bank that collects information on medical malpractice payments and certain adverse actions through reports submitted by entities eligible to report.

Many insurance companies don’t require your consent to settle out of court. They can choose to settle the case, even if you would want to keep fighting.

If you want to have full legal control over how your case is handled, you will want a consent-to-settle clause, meaning the insurance company would need your consent before settling a case. Although it is worth noting that refusing to settle can end up with higher payments due to defense costs, even if you win.

The Right Policy for You

Finding the right physical therapist insurance can be tricky, but we can help. NOW Insurance is an affordable insurance provider with tailor-made plans built specifically to suit every different type of practice. We won’t tack on any bells and whistles that you don’t need, but we will work to make sure that your plan fully covers both you and your practice to the fullest extent. Our online application is simple and returns a quote in under 3 minutes.

Since we specialize in healthcare, you know that you’re getting friendly, expert service and care with a full guarantee of total transparency. We have over 20 years of claims data for medical professional liability. You need good insurance, so why not go with a team that knows it inside and out? Learn more about our policies for healthcare practitioners and get set up with the best plan for you and your practice.

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