How Much Does a Tail Policy Cost?

average cost of tail coverage for physician

How Much Does a Tail Policy Cost?

Tail Coverage, also known as Extended Reporting Period coverage, is a crucial aspect of medical malpractice insurance for physicians. This type of insurance policy becomes essential when a physician transitions between jobs, retires, or changes insurance providers. It ensures that physicians are protected against malpractice claims that could arise after their standard claims-made policy has ended. Understanding the nuances of Tail Coverage is vital for every healthcare professional to safeguard against potential financial and professional risks.

The Necessity of Tail Coverage

Tail Coverage plays a pivotal role in the realm of medical malpractice insurance. It is specifically designed to address the gaps that occur in coverage when a physician leaves an employer or when their standard malpractice policy ends. This coverage is particularly important in the following scenarios:

Physician Contract Review
  • Transitioning Between Jobs: When a physician moves from one employer to another, there is often a gap in their malpractice coverage. Tail Coverage ensures that any claims made during this period are covered. For more insights on this, Chelle Law provides expert insights on Tail Coverage.
  • Retirement: Upon retirement, physicians are still at risk of malpractice claims from their period of active practice. Tail Coverage provides peace of mind by covering any late-appearing claims.
  • Changing Insurance Providers: If a physician decides to switch their insurance provider, Tail Coverage from the previous insurer ensures continuous protection against claims.

Types of Medical Malpractice Coverage

Understanding the various types of medical malpractice coverage is crucial for physicians to ensure they are adequately protected. The two primary types of coverage are:

  • Claims-Made Policy:
    • This policy type provides coverage for incidents that occur and are reported while the policy is active.
    • It is typically more affordable but requires the purchase of Tail Coverage to cover any claims reported after the policy ends.
    • Physicians must be aware that once they leave a job or their policy lapses, they are no longer covered for incidents that occurred during that policy period unless they have Tail Coverage.
    • For a comprehensive guide to physician’s Tail Insurance, visit MEDPLI.
  • Occurrence Policy:
    • An Occurrence Policy covers any incident that occurs during the policy period, irrespective of when the claim is actually filed.
    • This type of policy is generally more expensive than a Claims-Made Policy but eliminates the need for Tail Coverage, as the physician is covered for any incidents that happened while the policy was in effect.
    • It offers a more comprehensive coverage option, providing long-term peace of mind for physicians.

Both types of policies have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice largely depends on the physician’s specific circumstances, including their risk tolerance, financial situation, and career trajectory. Understanding these differences is key to making an informed decision about the right type of malpractice insurance.

Tail Coverage Cost Factors

The cost of Tail Coverage can vary significantly based on several factors. Understanding these can help physicians anticipate and budget for this expense:

  • Specialty and Risk Profile: High-risk specialties like surgery or OB-GYN often face higher Tail Coverage costs due to the increased risk of claims.
  • Geographic Location: The cost can also vary based on the state or region, as different areas have different medical malpractice laws and claim frequencies.
  • Claims History: Physicians with a history of frequent or high-cost claims may face higher Tail Coverage costs.
  • Policy Limits and Terms: The extent of coverage and the duration of the Tail Coverage policy also play a role in determining the cost.
  • Insurance Provider: Different providers offer varying rates for Tail Coverage. Shopping around can help find the most cost-effective option.

For a deeper understanding of medical malpractice Tail Coverage, Medical Economics offers valuable information.

Who Pays for Tail Coverage?

The responsibility for paying for Tail Coverage can fall on either the physician or the employer, and this is often a point of negotiation in employment contracts. Key considerations include:

  • Employment Agreement Terms: The contract should clearly state who is responsible for the Tail Coverage cost. Physicians should carefully review and negotiate these terms.
  • Negotiation Power: Physicians in high-demand specialties or with strong professional records may have more leverage to negotiate for the employer to cover Tail Coverage costs.
  • Employer Type: Larger healthcare systems might cover Tail Coverage as a benefit, while smaller practices may require the physician to bear the cost.

Tail Coverage is an indispensable component of a physician’s insurance portfolio. It provides essential protection against claims that could arise after the standard policy period ends. Understanding the types of coverage, cost factors, and negotiation strategies is crucial for physicians to effectively manage this aspect of their professional liability insurance. The next part of this article will delve deeper into the policy details, cost minimization strategies, and answer frequently asked questions about Tail Coverage.

In-Depth Analysis of Tail Coverage

Tail Coverage Policy Details

Understanding the specifics of a Tail Coverage policy is essential for physicians. This section delves into the details that define the scope and limitations of Tail Coverage:

  • Coverage Limits:
    • Tail Coverage policies have specific limits on the amount they will pay per claim and in total during the policy period.
    • These limits are crucial in determining the extent of protection a physician receives.
    • It’s important for physicians to understand these limits to ensure they have adequate coverage based on their practice and risk exposure.
  • Policy Duration:
    • The length of Tail Coverage can vary. Some policies offer coverage for a set number of years, while others provide unlimited coverage.
    • The choice depends on the physician’s risk assessment and career plans.
    • Longer duration policies offer more comprehensive protection but may come at a higher cost.
  • Types of Tail Coverage:
    • There are two main types – open and closed.
    • Open Tail Coverage offers more comprehensive protection but at a higher cost, while closed policies might have more limitations but are more affordable.
    • Understanding the differences between these types can help physicians choose a policy that best suits their needs and financial capabilities.

Each of these details plays a significant role in the overall effectiveness and suitability of Tail Coverage for a physician. Careful consideration of these factors is necessary to ensure that the chosen policy provides the right level of protection against potential malpractice claims.

Strategies to Minimize Tail Coverage Costs

Physicians can employ several strategies to reduce the cost of Tail Coverage, making it a more manageable expense:

  • Early Purchase Discounts: Some insurers offer discounts for purchasing Tail Coverage early. It’s worth exploring this option as soon as a physician knows they will need it.
  • Group Policies: Joining a group policy, if available, can significantly reduce individual costs. This is often an option in larger practices or hospital settings.
  • Comparative Shopping: Don’t settle for the first quote. Shop around and compare offers from different insurance providers to find the best rates and coverage terms.
  • Negotiating Employment Contracts: In some cases, the cost of Tail Coverage can be negotiated as part of the employment contract. Physicians should seek legal advice to navigate this effectively.

Physician Contract Review Importance

A thorough review of employment contracts is essential for physicians, especially regarding Tail Coverage:

  • Identifying Responsibilities: The contract should clearly outline who is responsible for Tail Coverage costs. This clarity is vital to avoid unexpected expenses.
  • Negotiating Terms: An experienced attorney can help negotiate terms that are more favorable to the physician, potentially saving significant amounts in Tail Coverage costs.
  • Understanding Coverage Details: Contracts should specify the type of malpractice insurance provided and any obligations related to Tail Coverage. A detailed review ensures that physicians fully understand their coverage and responsibilities.

Tail Coverage is a critical component of a physician’s professional liability protection. Understanding the nuances of Tail Coverage policies, cost factors, and strategies to minimize expenses can significantly impact a physician’s financial planning and career trajectory. By being proactive and informed, physicians can ensure they have the necessary protection without undue financial burden.

FAQs Section

What is Tail Coverage and Why is it Necessary for Physicians?

Tail Coverage, also known as Extended Reporting Period insurance, is a type of policy that provides liability coverage for physicians after their standard malpractice insurance ends. This coverage is crucial for protecting physicians against claims made for incidents that occurred during their previous employment but were reported after their policy ended.

How is the Cost of Tail Coverage Determined?

The cost of Tail Coverage is influenced by several factors, including the physician’s specialty, geographic location, claims history, and the terms of the policy. Typically, it can range from one to two times the annual premium of the standard malpractice policy.

Who Typically Pays for Tail Coverage – the Physician or the Employer?

The responsibility for paying for Tail Coverage can vary. It often depends on the terms of the physician’s employment contract. In some cases, the employer may cover the cost, while in others, the physician is responsible. Negotiating this aspect is a critical part of employment contract discussions.

Can Physicians Reduce the Cost of Tail Coverage?

Yes, physicians can employ strategies to reduce the cost of Tail Coverage. These include purchasing the policy early for potential discounts, joining group policies, comparative shopping among different insurers, and negotiating the terms within their employment contracts.

What Happens if a Physician Does Not Have Tail Coverage?

Without Tail Coverage, physicians risk being personally liable for any claims made after their standard malpractice insurance policy ends. This can lead to significant financial and professional consequences, especially if a claim is made during the gap period.


In this comprehensive exploration of Tail Coverage for physicians, we’ve delved into what Tail Coverage is, its necessity in the medical profession, and the various factors that influence its cost. We’ve highlighted the importance of understanding the types of medical malpractice coverage, with a focus on the differences between claims-made and occurrence policies, and how these choices impact the need for Tail Coverage.

The article has also provided insights into who typically bears the cost of Tail Coverage, emphasizing the role of employment contracts in determining this responsibility. Strategies for minimizing the cost of Tail Coverage, such as early purchase discounts, group policies, and comparative shopping, have been discussed to aid physicians in managing this expense.

Furthermore, the significance of a thorough review of employment contracts has been underscored, pointing out the necessity for physicians to be well-informed about their liability coverage and responsibilities.

In conclusion, Tail Coverage is an essential aspect of a physician’s career, offering a safety net against potential claims post-employment. Understanding its nuances, cost factors, and negotiation strategies is crucial for effective financial and career planning. By being proactive, informed, and strategic, physicians can ensure they are adequately protected without facing undue financial burdens.

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