Residents and fellows often ask us when I should start looking for malpractice insurance. While you don’t want to start the process too soon, there are advantages to starting early to get an idea of how much it will cost, what type of coverage you need, and how soon you can get your proof of insurance.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the malpractice insurance application process: how long it takes, when you need to start, and what you need to know to make sure you have the coverage you need to get certified. and go your way.
When it comes to malpractice insurance, it can be a bit confusing when trying to determine how soon you should start shopping around and how long it will take to get coverage. So let’s start with the big picture: what is the process for obtaining malpractice insurance?
The malpractice insurance application process is divided into 5 phases:
1. select an agent
2. get quotes and review your coverage options
3. complete a request
4. review your offers and link coverage
5. pay your premium
select an agent
The malpractice insurance market can be overwhelming for health care providers. You may not know which carriers exist, what types of policies they offer, and what makes one company better than the next. For that reason, it’s best to work with an independent agent to represent your interests in the marketplace.
Do your homework to find an agent who specializes in medical malpractice, has experience and knowledge in your state/region, and has access to the best companies available. You should be able to trust your agent to represent you well, understand your coverage needs, provide ongoing support, and help you find the insurance company that best suits your needs, while making sure you’re not overpaying!
It is generally recommended that you contact an agent 4-5 months before seeing your first patient. This gives you time to discuss your plans to determine what type of policy is right for you, how much insurance you may need, and allows the agent to give you some preliminary premium estimates to help you with your budget.
Get quotes and review your coverage options
Once you’ve selected an agent and started the conversation about your negligence needs, you’ll want to get quotes to review all of your options. Your malpractice insurance agent will ask you for some basic information to start shopping around. Your agent may take 1-2 weeks to get all the quotes from the various market operators.
After the agent has collected all the quotes, they will present them to you and discuss the various options with you, explaining the premiums, the differences between the companies, and the options you can choose from. This is a good time for you to decide if you are interested in incident or claims coverage and to determine what policy limits you would like for your new insurance policy. Your agent can provide you with quotes and pricing scenarios for several different options.
complete an application
once you have selected the carrier you would like to continue with, you will need to submit a formal application. Your agent will help you complete the application and submit it to the company’s underwriting team for review. It typically takes 3-5 business days for a subscriber to review your application, gather any additional information they need, and then make a decision.
Most malpractice insurance companies can approve applications up to 90 days before the policy starts. If you need to adjust your coverage effective date after your policy has been approved, you can request a change.
review your offers and bind coverage
Once your request is approved, the carrier will issue a binding quote with formal terms for your consideration. At this point, he will be able to review the insurance company’s offer and decide whether to accept the policy and bind the coverage.
once linked, a policy number is generated and your agent will provide you with proof of coverage, usually a certificate of insurance. You may use this certificate of insurance for credit or any other proof of insurance needs until your completed policy is received.
pay your premium
Most insurance companies do not require premiums to be paid at the time of enrollment. You generally have 30 days from the start date of your policy to make payment, and most insurance companies offer payment plans or financing options, if you need to spread payments throughout the year.
If you find yourself in a situation where you just need a few quotes, but you’re not quite ready to apply for coverage yet, contact an experienced malpractice insurance agent to start exploring your options. We frequently speak with physicians who are considering options for the future, but are not yet ready to make a formal application. An agent can help you confidentially explore coverage options and get premium estimates so they can make your plans.
As a general rule of thumb, allow at least 30 days to set up your malpractice insurance. But, if you find yourself in a pinch and need coverage sooner than that, an experienced agent can expedite the process for you.
ready to start? we are here to help. Connect with us today to get started on your malpractice insurance coverage options.
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