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Although physical therapists aim to restore, maintain, and improve physical health, the very nature of their work exposes them to a number of unique risks. With physically vulnerable patients, rigorous treatments, and close contact with clients, it is essential for professionals in the physical therapy industry to obtain proper business insurance in order to financially protect them from potential incidents.
What insurance coverage do I need as a physical therapist?
The following policies are particularly important for physical therapists to consider:
Malpractice insurance, or professional liability insurance, protects health care professionals from allegations of negligence or incompetence that result in third-party bodily injury, medical expenses, and property damage. As a physical therapist, your patients are often in a very vulnerable or physically compromised state and rely heavily on your guidance. This is why malpractice insurance is incredibly important for this industry.
A single mistake could lead to massive attorney fees, court costs, or a large settlement. If your treatment of a patient causes further injury, the costs associated with this error could be financially devastating for your business. Additionally, physical therapy often requires patients to use various equipment during treatment. If you or your employees are not adequately trained in overseeing patients and utilizing the equipment, or if your equipment is not kept in sanitary condition, patients could be injured or contract diseases, further exposing your business to risk. Malpractice insurance can provide for the costs of defending against any lawsuits.
- You quickly step out of the physical therapy room to pick up a phone call and leave a patient unattended on parallel bars. The patient is unable to hold herself up alone and further aggravates her leg injury when she falls from the equipment. The patient sues your business for negligence. Your medical malpractice insurance would pay for the damages and legal fees associated with this claim.
General liability insurance is a policy that covers damages resulting from unintentional third-party property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, and advertising injury. In the event of an accident, your general liability coverage can pay for the customer’s medical bills, as well as any lawsuits they may bring against you.
With the physically strenuous environment of physical therapy sessions, liability exposures for this industry are extensive. Your patients are engaging in physical hazards and any improper use of therapy equipment can cause injury.
Additionally, general liability insurance will protect your business from any injury due to your products and completed operations. If your business sells any rehabilitation or therapy equipment such as walking aids, braces, fitness equipment, pain relief cream, or even compression socks, it is essential to financially protect your business in the event that these products cause injury or illness.
- Bodily injury: During a therapy session, one of your patients trips over an exercise ball that was improperly stored and sprains her wrist trying to catch her fall. Your general liability insurance would pay for damages and legal fees if she decides to sue your business for the injury.
- Products and completed operations: Your patient purchases a knee brace from your business that does not include instructions. As a result, he trips when the loose brace falls to his foot. He sues your business and the manufacturer for lack of proper instructions and warnings.
Cyber liability insurance financially protects your business from various technology-related risks, such as first- and third-party damages resulting from hacks, data breaches, denial of service attacks, and viruses.
Your physical therapy business may utilize technology to maintain the private health records of your patients. Although there are many benefits to electronic health records, the system also creates unique cybersecurity risks. In the event of a cyber attack, your insurer would provide the funds to notify your patients of the breach, cover fees associated with PR efforts to maintain your business integrity, and cover legal fees if you are sued by third parties.
- Your physical therapy business is hacked and your patients’ confidential health information is stolen. Your patients sue your business for the violation of their privacy. Your cyber liability insurance will provide funds for legal fees and settlements.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related illnesses or injuries by covering the injured employee’s medical expenses, rehabilitation, and a portion of their lost wages. Additionally, workers’ compensation covers work-related deaths by providing funds for the funeral and burial, as well as death benefits for the employee’s surviving family.
Physical therapy can be strenuous for both the patient and the employee. In fact, physical therapists often experience work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), with the lower back and spine being particularly vulnerable. With proper workers’ compensation coverage, you can make sure your employees will be covered in case they are injured in the line of work.
- After lifting patients for years, one of your employees injures his back and develops chronic back pain. Your insurer will provide funds for his medical expenses as well as a portion of his lost income if he is unable to work while he is recovering from his injuries.
Commercial property insurance financially protects your business property if it is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. Covered business property includes buildings, equipment, furniture, and inventory. Common perils include fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, and water damage.
With high-value therapy equipment and even computers at the front desk to store patient information, commercial property insurance is an essential form of coverage for physical therapists.
- The sprinkler system in your physical therapy clinic malfunctions, damaging some of your therapy equipment and distorting your wood floors. Because water damage from sprinklers is a covered peril, your insurer would cover the costs to replace your equipment and repair your floor.
Commercial auto insurance covers third-party bodily injury and property damage if you or an employee are at fault in an accident involving a company vehicle. This policy also covers the value of your company vehicle if it is damaged by a collision or another covered peril such as theft or vandalism. Additionally, commercial auto insurance can provide protection for personally-owned vehicles that are used for business purposes.
Many physical therapists are required to travel to client locations in order to conduct their business. As such, it is essential to obtain commercial auto insurance should any unforeseen incidents occur while on the road.
- While your employee is driving to a client location, he misses a stop sign and collides with another vehicle. The other driver sustains a number of bodily injuries and requires medical attention. Your commercial auto insurance would provide funds to cover the vehicles and the medical costs associated with this incident.
- Business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance, will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses (such as rent, employee salaries, and taxes) if your business is temporarily unable to operate due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) financially protects your business against claims of wrongful treatment such as discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues. These lawsuits may come from prospective, current, or former employees.
- Commercial crime insurance protects your business from damages and losses due to crimes such as theft, burglary, robbery, forgery, and fraud. This coverage applies both to crimes committed by outside parties and crimes committed by your own employees.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a physical therapy business with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for physical therapy clinics:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
From accidental employee injuries to claims of professional negligence, the physical therapy industry is open to a number of liability risks. While it is impossible to prevent all accidents, your business can prepare itself for these potential incidents by obtaining a wide range of insurance policies.