Will malpractice insurance cover you for past misconduct?

  1. If I buy malpractice insurance today, will it cover me if I'm sued in the future for something that happened before I had the insurance? I'm not talking about buying insurance when you are under investigation or a lawsuit has been filed. I mean buyimg insurance and then, maybe a couple of years down the road, being sued for something that happened before you had the policy.

    thanks
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    About Pachinko

    Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 288; Likes: 127
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    6 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    This would be a question for the insurance company. As it is, there are two types of malpractice insurance, occurrence or claims-made. You would probably be looking for a claims-made policy. Do an internet search for the websites of the companies that offer insurance to nurses and you can find the info on their sites.
  4. by   elkpark
    All the policies I've seen over the years have been v. clear and explicit that they do not cover anything that happened prior to your purchasing the coverage. I'm not aware of any kind of insurance, homeowner's, automobile, etc., that will cover you for something that has already happened before you bought the coverage. The point of the insurance is that the underwriter is covering the risk that something may happen in the future (you're gambling you're going to need the coverage at some point, the company is gambling you aren't). If it's already happened, it's not a "risk," it's a fact.

    My understanding of "claims made" coverage is that it provides coverage only if both a) the incident occurred and b) the claim was made (in health care, that can happen years after the actual incident occurred) while the policy is in force (while you're paying for the coverage). The other kind of professional liability coverage (malpractice insurance) is "occurrence coverage;" with occurrence coverage, you are covered for any event that occurred while you had the coverage, even if the claim is made after you have dropped the policy. (If I'm wrong or misunderstanding something, I'm happy to be corrected!)

    Ultimately, though, your best bet is to check with insurance companies you are considering.
  5. by   not.done.yet
    No, it wouldn't.
  6. by   core0
    Quote from Pachinko
    If I buy malpractice insurance today, will it cover me if I'm sued in the future for something that happened before I had the insurance? I'm not talking about buying insurance when you are under investigation or a lawsuit has been filed. I mean buyimg insurance and then, maybe a couple of years down the road, being sued for something that happened before you had the policy.

    thanks
    First of all as noted above there are two types of insurance. Occurance covers anything that happens while the policy is in effect even after the policy lapses. A claims made policy covers things that happen when the policy is in effect but doesn't cover after the policy lapses. When changing policies from a claims made policy typically you can buy a policy calls a tail policy which covers you for acts that happen during the policy but when claims are made in the future. What you are referring to is a nose policy. This covers you under the current policy for acts that occurred before the policy.

    Tail vs Nose Coverage
  7. by   elkpark
    Quote from core0
    First of all as noted above there are two types of insurance. Occurance covers anything that happens while the policy is in effect even after the policy lapses. A claims made policy covers things that happen when the policy is in effect but doesn't cover after the policy lapses. When changing policies from a claims made policy typically you can buy a policy calls a tail policy which covers you for acts that happen during the policy but when claims are made in the future. What you are referring to is a nose policy. This covers you under the current policy for acts that occurred before the policy.

    Tail vs Nose Coverage
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "nose" coverage apply only when you're changing from one insurer to another insurer? The new insurer picks up the risk that the old insurer isn't going to be covering going forward (for a fee). I don't think "nose" coverage applies in the case of an individual who didn't have prior coverage, period. OP's question about "if I buy coverage today" implies to me that s/he doesn't have current coverage.
    Last edit by elkpark on Jul 8
  8. by   core0
    Quote from elkpark
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "nose" coverage apply only when you're changing from one insurer to another insurer? The new insurer picks up the risk that the old insurer isn't going to be covering going forward (for a fee). I don't think "nose" coverage applies in the case of an individual who didn't have prior coverage, period. OP's question about "if I buy coverage today" implies to me that s/he doesn't have current coverage.
    You are probably correct. I know that nose policies exist only because I looked at them when changing policies. If you are working without insurance then that is a different problem.

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