With their exposure to personal liability, it makes it necessary for physicians to be covered with malpractice insurance. It is the premium costs that protect the physician’s coverage limit that attracts most physicians when they are looking for a medical malpractice liability insurance policy. This means that the insurance company will only pay for losses sustained by the policy holder up to a certain dollar amount, and if the loss exceeds that dollar bracket, then the physician will need to shoulder the excess payment.
This coverage limit is expressed in two types of inclusions: a per-occurrence limit where the insurance would state how much they would pay for a single loss or claim (commonly known as “an occurrence), and the aggregate limit is where the total amount stipulated in the policy is the amount that the insurer will pay in a given policy period -typically one year or $3 million per occurrence for aggregate limit and $1 million for per-occurrence limit.
There are other several complicated issues that physicians need to be aware of when dealing with coverage limits in conjunction to what the petitioner can claim. The position of most insurance companies is that even if there are two separate demands that an insurer is entitled to claim, if the case arises from a similar set of related phenomena, the insurance companies would treat it as a single occurrence instead of two occurrences. Physician’s need to know this beforehand because if multiple claims are considered a single occurrence for insurance purposes, then this claims will be governed by a single pre occurrence coverage limit.’
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When physicians go to shop for a medical malpractice insurance, they should also be mindful of defense cost. Defense cost include attorney fees, expert fees, and court fees which are usually not included in the coverage limit. This would mean that the net endowment of a single occurrence that a claimant earns after a trial, that amount will have to be deducted to abase the insurers cost in defending you. This is not true for all medical malpractice insurance companies, but their coverage limit is lowered down to cover defense cost. Insurance companies only defend a physician up until the coverage limit is reached, and physicians should take note of this. When this happens, the physician is then responsible to look for his own attorney and pay for all the expenses. However, you can still find some policies that continues to defend you even after you have reached the limit of your coverage.
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Excess insurance is another safeguard for physician. Excess insurance covers for the policy holder if the limit of the physician’s policy has exceeded.