Q&A: Is it possible to get part-time malpractice insurance?

May 8, 2009

Can I buy part-time malpractice insurance due to the fact that I see so few patients?

Q: I'm wondering whether I should buy full-time or part-time malpractice insurance. I work at my own solo practice about 40 hours a week and see 15 to 20 patients per week. I also work at a different facility as an employee for 14 hours a week, where I see about 35 patients a week. I have full-time malpractice insurance, at a cost of about $29,000 per year, which covers both locations. Can I buy part-time malpractice insurance due to the fact that I see so few patients at my own office, even though I spend 40 hours there?

A: Probably not. Malpractice insurance rates are usually determined by the type of practice, rather than by the number of patients seen. If you are practicing 54 hours a week, or even 40 hours a week, it may be difficult to obtain part-time rates, even though you see few patients. A good insurance agent should be able to obtain quotes for you based upon your practice, and can often obtain better rates than you could on your own. Find an agent who represents a large number of carriers and seek his advice, especially since his commissions will be paid by the carrier, not by you. Note that if you practice in New York, rates are set by the government, rather than by the carriers, so there's less flexibility than in most other states.