As a veterinarian, your chosen profession is truly a noble one. You provide care to animals while providing direction, support, and comfort to their owners. You own complex medical equipment and have numerous medications stored in your practice. That's why a veterinary practice provides protection for your clinic and every employee through a good veterinary insurance plan.
Whether your practice cares for house pets, large animals, or a specialty clinic, you need to have the proper coverage in place. It’s important to work with your licensed agent to customize a business insurance package for your specific practice. Veterinarians must know what insurance is needed to protect your veterinary practice. After all, you want your practice to receive the same level of care that your pets do. So what does veterinarian insurance need to encompass?
Types of Business Insurance Coverage For a Veterinarian
There are some types of business insurance that a veterinarian needs to invest in to protect their license and their business:
Consider a Business Owners Policy
A Business Owners Policy (BOP) is a package of multiple policies that an insurance company offers at a more affordable price for a small business. It typically consists of general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and business interruption coverage.
General Liability Insurance: The general liability policy within your business owners policy will cover your clinic’s liability for third-party bodily injury or property damage while at your clinic. If a customer slips on a puddle in your building and gets injured, this policy covers their medical care.
Commercial Property Insurance: A business property insurance policy covers damage to the veterinarian's building, office, clinics, or mobile veterinary units. The insurance also covers tools specific to veterinarians, such as veterinary anesthesia machines, radiographic equipment, and animal scales. The property insurance will insure the equipment, furniture, and stock in case of a fire, natural disaster, theft, or vandalism.
Business Interruption Insurance: This policy—sometimes referred to as business income insurance—can be added to the business owner’s policy for additional protection. This helps pay for lost income, lost profits, and other operating expenses if your building or property is damaged and being repaired. It can also help pay for the cost of a temporary location to keep your veterinary practice running.
Malpractice Insurance for Veterinarians
Malpractice insurance, more widely known as Professional Liability Insurance, will protect you if you make any professional errors that hurt or result in the loss of a pet or perceived loss to their owners (such as accidentally spaying or neutering a dog).
Malpractice coverage will protect you and your staff should a pet die or contract an illness in your care and the owner brings a lawsuit against you. Veterinary malpractice may also help cover legal fees and any damages awarded up to the limit of the policy. A Professional Liability Insurance Policy is one of the best ways to protect your livelihood.
Animal Bailee Coverage
A veterinary clinic needs to obtain Animal Bailee Coverage to go above and beyond their liability insurance. Animal Bailee covers claims if an animal is lost, runs away, or becomes injured or ill while in your care. It helps pay for medical expenses if the pet is harmed and potential costs related to lawsuits (such as lawyers' expenses and settlements). This policy excluded animals being held for sale as well as intentional neglect or abuse. If the pet dies of natural causes or experimental research it is also not a covered loss.
Other Business Insurance Policies to Consider
Backup of Sewers and drains: Many vet clinics clean and wash pets and animals when being treated. If pet hair clogs the drains in your clinic fixing the resulting backup can be costly. This endorsement can help cover those repair costs.
Workers Compensation Insurance: Any vet clinic that hires employees will need to obtain workers' compensation. It protects an employee if he or she becomes ill or gets injured on the job. It will help cover employees lost wages and medical expenses.
Commercial Auto Insurance: If you use a business vehicle to make house calls you need commercial auto to protect you and others in the case of an auto accident.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance: This liability coverage protects you as the small business owner from claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, etc.
Employee Dishonesty Coverage: This helps cover losses if an employee steals from your veterinary practice.
Scenarios of How Business Insurance Can Protect Veterinarians
Let's look at a couple of scenarios that could impact your bottom-line:
Scenario #1: Your kennels are close to full and have been for several days. At 9:00 am, Mrs. Phillips brings in her young white toy poodle, Scaramoosh, to be spayed. At 9:30, Mr. Johnson brings in his puppy, another white toy poodle, to undergo a different procedure.
It's time for you to spay Scaramoosh, and your assistant brings the pup in. You finish the procedure with no problems or complications at all, and off she goes to recover. You see a couple of other patients, and it's time to begin Esmeralda's surgery, and the assistant comes hurrying in to tell you that you just spayed Esmeralda!
Mr. Johnson is going to be livid. It is not improbable that he will secure a lawyer and sue for malpractice. Your malpractice policy will step in to help cover the costs of the lawsuit.
Scenario #2: Obadiah, an Abyssian kitty with psychogenic alopecia is here for his regular checkup while his owner is running errands. Due to his early childhood history, he is skittish. Your assistant scoops Obadiah out of the kennel just as the front door of your practice opens. Obadiah leaps out of her arms and out the door before anyone knows what's happening. While the cat is caught rather quickly, she's managed to hurt her paw and requires surgery. Your Animal Bailee policy will step in to cover potential medical costs and other damages incurred.
How Much Does Veterinarian Insurance Cost?
The cost of veterinarian insurance will vary depending on the type of policies you need (general and professional liability coverage, property damage coverage, animal bailee's, etc.) and will be impacted by a few other variables:
- Size of the business
- Number of employees
- Size of the building/property
- Specialty of the veterinarian
- The services that you provide
- Policy deductibles and limits chosen
- Claims history against your company
- The insurance company you choose
Because this article is for informational purposes only, we recommend that you speak with an agent to make sure you're purchasing the correct policies with the best insurance company. Numerous insurance companies offer coverage for vets and it can be hard to determine the best option for your small business. Be ready to provide some basic information to the insurance company to obtain the proper coverage.
Get a Free Veterinarian Insurance Quote
Your professional associations, the state department of insurance, and your licensed insurance professional is available to help determine what coverage is needed for your veterinary clinic and practice specialty. Take some time to determine the level and type of coverage needed for your peace of mind.
Whether you simply need liability insurance, professional liability, or basic property damage coverage—we've got you covered. At CommercialInsurance.Net, our goal is to get you an affordable commercial insurance quote. Simply complete the form at the top of the page and one of our specialists will contact you soon. Or, give us a call at 1-877-907-5267.
Related Posts: General Liability Insurance, Commercial Property Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance