The Veterinarian’s Guide to Professional Insurance

It takes a lot of time and effort to build up in veterinary medicine. It’s worth protecting. Professional insurance provides peace of mind and opportunity for your practice stability in the wake of unforeseen events.

There are many different kinds of professional insurance that you need to properly insure your practice. With everything already on your plate, knowing exactly where you need to go to find out who the best companies are, and how much you should get, can appear to be daunting. That’s why we created this guide to help you make the right choice for insurance and purchase effective coverage.

The “Big 5” Types of Professional Insurance

Veterinarians who want to secure adequate coverage need to purchase the following five kinds of professional insurance:

  • Disability Insurance provides benefits to you if you are unable to practice because of an unforeseen injury or illness.
  • Life Insurance protects your legacy and distributes proceeds to your beneficiaries in the event of your death.
  • Malpractice Insurance may cover the costs of defending yourself if one of your clients files a negligence claim against you. It may also cover the damages you must pay if you lose a civil lawsuit.
  • Business Personal Property Insurance is intended to cover damage to property inside your building. It can also cover damages to property in the immediate vicinity of your building that is not part of the permanent structure.
  • General Liability Insurance is for covering claims related to normal business operations. It can cover physical injury, property damage, defense costs, and personal and advertising injury (which includes slander, libel, and copyright infringement).

Professional Insurance Must-Haves for Veterinarian

We are commonly asked what is minimum professional insurance coverages that veterinarians have? We most see often the following:

Minimum Coverage for Practice Owners:

  • Disability Insurance: New-to-practice veternarian practice owners have $5,000 per month of personal disability income coverage, and for mid-to-late career veterinarian owners is $10,000 per month of coverage.
  • Life insurance: It’s best to have separate policies protecting you personally and your practice. The average amount of personal life insurance coverage we see with practice owners is $1,500,000 – $2,000,000.
  • Malpractice Insurance: Malpractice insurance for veterinarians often goes by another name: veterinarian professional liability insurance. We usually see practice owners purchasing no less than $1,000,000 of coverage.
  • Business Personal Property Insurance: Again, this will depend heavily on the size of your facilities and how much equipment they contain. The typical minimum we see is about $250,000 per year.
  • General liability: We recommend at least $1,000,000 of coverage per occurrence and $2,000,000 in aggregate coverage per year.

Minimum Coverage for Residents:

Veterinary residents, and graduating veterinarian students, do not have to worry about insurance for malpractice, business personal property, and general liability as you don’t own a practice yet. But, you do want get disability and life insurance coverage for yourself.

  • Disability Insurance: $4,000 per month of coverage. Many insurance carriers offer new-to-practice insurance programs for veterinarians. The programs  vary between carriers. An insurance firm the specializes in working with veterinarians can guide to what your best options are.
  • Life Insurance: Veterinarian students / residents who are single often forgo  life insurance until they get married and have children. For those that are married, we will typically see them securing about a $1,000,000 of coverage. However, an insurance firm will be able to provide you with helpful tools that walk you through determining the appropriate amount of life insurance for you.

What Riders & Policy Add-Ons Should You Consider?

There are a some key things veterinarians should look for when securing the right professional insurance coverage. These add-ons, clauses, and riders can help you purchase policies that will provide the most appropriate and comprehensive coverage.

For Disability Insurance

  • Future Increase Option Riders allow you to purchase extra coverage over time without having to go through medical underwriting in the future. They can have different names with different carriers, but an experienced agent will explain to you how they work. 
  • Student Loan Riders These fairly new inexpensive riders provide coverage for a portion student loans in the event one becomes disabled. Not all carriers offer this unique rider.

For Life Insurance

  • When buying life insurance, it’s best to lock in a fixed premium at a young age. You will pay less over time. You may have the ability to choose 20 year, 25 year, 30 year, or even 40 years for a level-term policy.

    Wouldn’t it be great to buy your policy at age 30 and still be paying the same premiums at age 65? An experienced agent can provide quotes for all of these options for you within minutes.

For Malpractice Insurance

  • With malpractice insurance, there are two major forms: occurrence policies and claims-made policies. We recommend that you buy an occurrence policy instead of a claims-made policy, if possible.

    Claims-made policies (amongst other things) can require tail coverage, at an extra cost. Ask your broker to explain to you the differences between these two options. If you already have malpractice insurance, let them review your current coverage to make sure you have the most competitive premiums available to you.

Find the Professional Insurance that Fits Your Career

With all of the information available online, Google searches can quickly become overwhelming with information overload. At Loyall Group, we will guide you step-by-step, without using a lot of insurance jargon, and provide multiple options to compare. Make insurance easy for you to understand.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is provided with the understanding that neither the Loyall Group, nor the authors of content provided or otherwise accessed on this website are engaged in rendering actionable financial, legal, accounting, tax, medical, veterinarian, or other professional advice and services. The information and guidance provided here should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional financial, accounting, tax, legal, medical, veterinarian, or other competent professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a qualified professional. A more comprehensive summary of our policies in this regard can be accessed here.