Frequently asked questions about professional liability coverage
Review HPSO’s Frequently Asked Questions about professional liability insurance coverage to find out which policy is right for you and how you can cover yourself from an unexpected lawsuit.
Does having my own professional liability insurance make me a more likely target for a lawsuit?
Why do I need an individual professional liability policy? Won't my employer's insurance cover me?
Will my policy provide coverage if I'm assaulted on the job?
What is the difference between occurrence and claims-made coverage?
I am certified as a paramedic. Will my policy cover me while I am working as a volunteer fire fighter?
Is the premium different for a Physical Therapist that is self-employed and leasing office space in a building?
I'm currently an EMT-Basic with a volunteer rescue squad, but will be upgrading to EMT-Intermediate with the same volunteer agency. What would my premium be?
How do I upgrade or reduce my insurance coverage (limits of liability, hours I work per week, etc.)?
How do I cancel my policy?
1. Does having my own professional liability insurance make me a more likely target for a lawsuit?
No, having your own professional liability insurance coverage does not make you a more likely target for a lawsuit. When something happens and a patient is injured, most attorneys will name everyone who was involved in the patients' care in the lawsuit—whether you have your own coverage or not.
In addition, no one knows, not even the patient's lawyer, that you have your own professional liability insurance. We can't confirm your policy's existence to anyone other than you without your expressed written consent. So you won't be named in a lawsuit just because you have coverage.
2. Why do I need an individual professional liability policy? Won't my employer's insurance cover me?
Professional liability insurance safeguards you against allegations of malpractice. While your employer may provide coverage for you, it may not be enough to cover you in all cases. Your employer's policy is designed to protect the employer’s needs and interests first.
Your employer's policy probably only covers you while you are at work and is unlikely to cover you if you give advice to a friend or neighbor after hours, perform volunteer work, or moonlight outside of your full-time job. The professional liability policy offered through HPSO is individual coverage that will protect you for these activities, as well as provide coverage over and above your employer's policy, even if you change jobs.
For more information on the benefits of having your own coverage click here.
3. Will my policy provide coverage if I'm assaulted on the job?
Our policy provides coverage for medical expenses (including workplace violence counseling) or property damage if you are assaulted at work or during work-related travel. Our policy defines "workplace" as anywhere you are providing professional services, so this coverage will travel with you into the field. This is excess coverage in addition to any other available insurance covering such loss. (Assault coverage is not available in Texas.)
4. What is the difference between occurrence and claims-made coverage?
An occurrence policy provides coverage for a claim that occurs during the policy period, regardless of when the claim is reported.
For example, let's assume you carried a malpractice policy from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2013 and it was an occurrence policy. You never renewed the policy. On June 16, 2014 you receive notice that you were named in a malpractice lawsuit for something that happened on February 4, 2013. Because the incident occurred during your coverage period, you would be covered for that claim, even though you received notice of the claim after your policy ended.
A claims-made policy provides coverage for an incident that occurs during an active policy period only if the claim is also filed during an active policy period.
For example, let’s assume you had a claims-made policy from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2013 and you did not renew the policy. On June 16, 2014 you received notice that you were named in a malpractice lawsuit for something that happened on February 4, 2013. You would not have coverage under your claims-made policy because your coverage was not active when the claim was made.
If you own a claims-made policy, give some additional thought before you decide to cancel or non-renew your policy. If you decide to end a claims-made policy, you can purchase "tail" coverage. Tail coverage will extend the time that a claim can be reported, but the incident will still need to occur while the policy was active.
If you are not sure whether your coverage through HPSO is occurrence or claims-made, please call or email us with your policy number, and we'll confirm your coverage for you.
5. I am certified as a paramedic. Will my policy cover me while I am working as a volunteer fire fighter?
No. This policy will safeguard you from allegations of malpractice made anytime you are working within the scope of your medical profession; however, it will not provide coverage for your work as a volunteer firefighter.
6. Is the premium different for a Physical Therapist who is self-employed and leases office space in a building?
All self-employed physical therapists in your state will pay the same low rate, regardless of whether or not they lease office space.
If you are a self-employed Physical Therapist leasing space in an office building, you could benefit from our Individual Workplace Liability Extension coverage. This coverage pays for amounts you are legally obligated to pay as a result of injury or damage caused by an occurrence at your workplace up to the limits indicated on your certificate of insurance. The Individual Workplace Liability Extension also provides up to $100,000 for your legal liability caused by fire or water damage. There is no additional charge of this coverage.
7. I'm currently an EMT-Basic with a volunteer rescue squad, but will be upgrading to EMT-Intermediate with the same volunteer agency. What would my premium be?
Since you are continuing to provide voluntary services, you are still eligible for the volunteer rate, provided you are not receiving remuneration for your services.
A volunteer is defined as an EMT-Basic/Intermediate working as a volunteer and receiving less than $600 annually as remuneration for those duties. If you receive a W-2 Form or a 1099 Form for your EMT duties, you cannot apply as a volunteer. Please note that licensed Paramedics are not eligible for our volunteer rate. In this case, you would need to upgrade your coverage to reflect your Paramedic license. You can arrange for this upgrade by e-mailing us.
8. How do I upgrade or reduce my insurance coverage (limits of liability, hours I work per week, etc.)?
We ask that you request in writing any coverage change you would like to make to your policy.
If you would like to request a quote to change your coverage, you can email us. Be sure to indicate your name, address, policy number, and requested change. If you would like to know if there is a change in your annual premium based on your coverage change, please call us at 1-800-982-9491. Please note that in any case, we will not be able to change your coverage until we have received the appropriate additional premium. Any refund of premium, if one is due, will be sent to the address on the policy, so be sure to include your current address in the request.
9. How do I cancel my policy?
If, after careful consideration, you determine you would like to cancel your policy, you can do so by submitting a written request to cancel by fax or mail. Your policy will be cancelled based on the date we receive your notification or your request. If you are eligible, you will receive a refund of any unused premium within two weeks of our processing your request.
Before you cancel your policy, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are cancelling because you are temporarily leaving your position, we can offer you a 50% discount on your premium and adjust your coverage. This will allow you to have the professional liability coverage you need while maintaining an active license.
Also, if you are covered by an employer's plan, make sure that you fully understand the coverage before you cancel your individual coverage. Your employer's policy provisions may differ in ways that will leave you under-protected. Check to see if your employer will provide each of the benefits that the HPSO policy provides.