Malpractice Insurance for Dietitians

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Malpractice Insurance is a necessary policy for healthcare professionals to have in their insurance portfolio. Whether you call yourself a dietitian, a nutritionist or even a dietetic practitioner, these all fall under the umbrella of a healthcare professional. This means you need to protect yourself from claims. Malpractice insurance, also referred to as Errors & Omissions or Professional Liability, will be there to help you if a customer or client claims that you made a mistake. Even if there was no mistake, you will still have to take the time and spend the funds to prove you are innocent.

These claims can be financially devastating if you don’t have the right insurance protection. If you are getting ready to start your practice or have already, Liability insurance is a great place to start when building your insurance portfolio.

Do Dietitians Need Malpractice Insurance

Because dietitians are practicing in the healthcare field, you face several unique risks since you deal directly with patients. You are counseling your patients on how to best structure their diet either based on goals of self-improvement or due to underlying health issues. Many nutrition professionals even do this on the side to make extra income and help supplement their full-time job. Regardless of whether this is a part-time side job or your full-time career, the risk is the same and should not be taken lightly. Dietitians need Malpractice insurance to cover:

  • Negligence – Claims of negligence are already damaging even if they are not true, and this is due to public perception. There may be instances where you did not keep up with the latest information and negligently misinformed your patient. Even if you didn’t, a claim of negligence must still be defended so that you can clear your name.
  • Mistakes – You probably are always updating your education and ensuring that you are following strict guidelines. However, like it or not, you are still human. Mistakes can happen even if you have been a dietitian for over 20 years. There are also times where a patient may misinterpret what you say or hear something wrong and will blame you by claiming you made a mistake. Whatever the reason, an error can occur and you want to be prepared if it does, even if you are simply accused of making a mistake. Another time Malpractice insurance coverage may come in handy is if you provide advice that does not coincide with what a patient’s doctor says.
  • Defense - Dietitian Malpractice insurance is also critical because it pays for defense costs associated with claims. If you haven’t priced a lawyer lately, you might be shocked at what they can charge per hour, and it can take several hours just to research your case, not to mention the actual court proceedings. And of course, there are court costs to consider as well. All of these costs that would add up to defend you would be a nightmare to attempt to pay out-of-pocket. Professional Liability insurance is going to be there for you when you need it most.

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Doesn’t General Liability Cover These Claims?

Because General Liability insurance is the most common policy that you might hear about as a business, it is easy to assume that it will cover everything. No insurance policy covers everything, and General Liability was not designed to cover Errors & Omissions, and in fact, specifically excludes them. That is why Dietitian Malpractice Insurance was created. General Liability has a lot of gaps in coverage and there is almost always something to fill in that gap. Even with those gaps, General Liability insurance is another integral piece of your insurance puzzle. It covers:

  1. Bodily Injury – Third parties who may become injured either through your work or inside or outside your premises may sue you. Thus, you will find coverage here with your General Liability insurance plan. An example of this is if a patient comes to your office and the door slams on their finger and it breaks, or even if they slip in the bathroom and become injured.
  2. Property Damage – Let’s say you see patients at their home and you are rushing to get there and miss hitting the brake on your vehicle in time and damage their garage door. The damage to the door would be covered by your General Liability insurance policy.
  3. Personal and Advertising Injury – How do businesses like yours get clients these days? Sure, referrals and word-of-mouth methods are great, but often we see advertisements online and on social media. This can leave you susceptible to libel and slander accusations by either clients or competitors. It is important to be prudent with advertisements and social media posts. Still, sometimes it happens, and General Liability insurance can help if a claim should arise.
  4. Medical Payments – Anyone that is on your premises can have a small injury that might require medical attention right away. Think of a small laceration or sprained ankle… These injuries can cause medical bills on the smaller side and you can offer to pay for them even if it was not due to your negligence. A great example is if a patient brings their child along and they trip and sprain their ankle. You certainly would feel bad and would of course want to help. This is where your General Liability insurance coverage comes into play.

Other Insurance that Dietitians Need

Now that we have discussed the basic and probably most important insurance for dietitians, Professional Liability and General Liability, let’s take a look at some other insurance policies that are important for your work.

  • BOP – A BOP, or business owner’s policy, is a great way to secure a wide variety of coverage in a small package. BOP combines General Liability and Commercial Property insurance into a convenient policy that has a ton of extra coverages. So, if you own the premises in which you operate or need Business Personal Property coverage, a BOP is the way to go, as opposed to purchasing General Liability and Commercial Property coverages separately.
  • Cyber Liability – It is likely that you are storing patient information either on your computer, in the cloud or both. If that is the case, it is imperative that you purchase Cyber Liability insurance. With the frequency and severity of data breaches in our ever-increasing technical world, it is better to have it than not, since a simple data breach or cyberattack can not only cost you a lot of money, but it can ruin your reputation and ultimately put you out of business.
  • Workers Compensation – If you are running a practice and have employees, you will need Workers Compensation insurance. Most states require you to have it when you hire employees. More importantly, you will want to have this coverage for your employees so they have the peace of mind in knowing that if they suffer a work-related injury or illness, they will receive money for their lost wages and medical expenses.
  • Commercial Auto – A great way to increase your client base is to offer in-home visits. When you do this, though, you are now using your vehicle for business. Once you begin using your vehicle for business purposes, your Personal Auto insurance policy is no longer valid. You will need to have a Commercial Auto insurance policy in order to have liability and physical damage coverage if you are in an accident.

How Much is Malpractice Insurance for Dietitians

The pricing of Dietitian Malpractice Insurance is dependent on many factors. Some of these factors include but are not limited to:

  • Claims History – Naturally, if you have a history of claims, your insurance is going to cost more because the insurance company sees you as a higher risk insured. Try to minimize claims and you will be able to receive a better price point regarding your premium.
  • Number of Clients – Some insurance policies, especially Professional Liability insurance, will be rated based on the number of clients you might see within the policy year. The more clients you see, the higher the premium will be.
  • Size of Business – Do you have employees? If so, this can impact the Errors & Omissions insurance pricing as well. The more employees you have, the more risk there will be for a mistake to be made because of managing your employees. Prepare to pay more for insurance the larger your practice is, and keep in mind that as your business grows, your risks may change, and as a result, so will your insurance needs.
  • Location – The location of your practice, or where you might go to meet with patients, can impact the pricing of your insurance.
  • Coverage Amounts – Certainly, the amount of coverage you need will impact your premium. The standard limit for an average-sized nutrition practice is going to be $1,000,000. Depending on any contracts you might have with vendors or how large your practice is, you may require a higher limit than $1,000,000.

Where to Purchase Dietitian Malpractice Insurance

When you are ready to make sure you have the best Malpractice insurance for your dietitian practice, even if it is just for yourself, CoverWallet is the best place to do so. Our online platform was designed for people like you who want to quote their insurance, purchase online and do so with little to no stress. And, if you get stuck, you can easily call one of our educated insurance advisors that are standing by to help. Reach out to CoverWallet today to explore insurance options that are tailored to you.

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