When It’s Time to Get Your Practice Insurance
- Know what kinds of insurance you will need. (on this page, below)
- Be familiar with the questions you’ll need to ask them (see below) so you can better understand what coverage you can get, and for what cost.
- Be familiar with the terminology they use so you can be sure you are comparing apples-to-apples.
- Be prepared with the materials they will ask you for:
- A copy of the contract you will use with clients.
- Links to or copies of your marketing materials.
- Copies of any professional licenses you already hold.
- Connect with all the carriers that make sense. Pricing changes frequently and you want to be sure you are getting the most coverage for your dollar.
APHA has a sample contract advocates can use for their insurance application, available to Premium and Premium +ADL members. If you are a PACE member, it may be worthwhile for you to step up to Premium membership to obtain the sample contract since it can save the thousands of dollars you would pay to an attorney to draw one up from scratch.
Overview: Advocate Liability Insurance*
• Errors & Omissions (E&O)
• Professional Liability
• General Business (BOP)
All practicing advocates need liability insurance to cover them in case a client runs into problems and thinks those problems are due to the advocate’s work. Liability insurance covers you in case your client says you performed inadequately or you were negligent, and therefore decides to sue you.
It doesn’t matter whether the client is right or wrong, whether you really did or did not do what the client says you did. You can be sued for the simple perception that you were negligent.
There are three kinds of insurance care professionals need to consider:
1. Errors & Omissions insurance (called E&O) covers you for the non-medical work and advice you provide.
Generally you are looking for coverage for financial damages you might incur; for example – a client sues you and you must hire an attorney to defend against the suit. Whether or not you actually did anything wrong, you incur cost in hiring the attorney.
All advocates need this type of coverage.
2. Professional Liability insurance covers you for any “medical acts” you provide. This is a necessity for anyone who holds a medical license.
Even if you aren’t a nurse or hold any other clinical license, and even if you know you will never perform any medical acts, remember that if a client perceives that you have provided medical advice, you may need this sort of coverage.
If your work could ever be construed as medical, in particular if you have a clinical license, consider this type of coverage.
3. A BOP = Business Owner’s Policy
This General Business Insurance will cover you for business problems that aren’t related to your advocacy work. (Examples: someone gets hurt on your property, or a client feels you have violated their privacy or committed libel or slander.)
If you think you could have these issues, be sure to ask the agent you speak to about general business liability, too.
4. Depending on the services you will provide you may also need insurance for driving your car (in particular, ask about driving clients to appointments or even shopping) or other forms of insurance. Ask the agent for the company you decide to get your advocacy liability insurance from.