Mental health professionals need two types of insurance:
- Professional liability insurance – for mistakes and client complaints
- General liability insurance – for personal injuries and property damage.
But there’s other coverage you might want too. It depends on the way you run your business.
If you employ anyone, for example, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance. If you take equipment like laptops and cell phones to work, you’ll want business personal property insurance. And cyber insurance is vital if you use email, own a website, or transfer money online.
We’ll cover those policies later in this post. First, let’s talk about liability insurance for mental health professionals, what it covers, and why you need it.
Professional liability insurance – why mental health counselors need it
As a therapist you handle people at their most vulnerable. Clients come to you trusting you’ll help them through the personal challenges they’re facing. But the trouble is, you’re vulnerable too.
It could be a client who thinks you overstepped your professional boundaries. Or one who simply didn’t like the advice you gave them. Either way, before you know it, you’re facing a legal claim.
Now, cases like these don’t have to hold water to have a major financial impact on a small counseling practice. Even if a lawsuit is dismissed, you’ll still have legal fees to pay. And if the case doesn’t go your way, you’ll have to cover court costs and compensation too.
Of course, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of malpractice claims:
- Properly evaluate a client’s history
- Document every client session with adequate notes
- Stay up to date on your state’s standard of care
- Manage client expectations and refer them if they need treatment outside your scope
- Establish and maintain professional boundaries.
But even with these measures in place, you should still carry professional liability insurance. Why? Because clients pay you for counseling. And that means you can be sued, even if you did nothing wrong.
Whether there are grounds for a case or not, professional liability insurance can take care of the cost of claims you were negligent or failed in your duty of care. It means you can get on with looking after your clients’ well-being without worrying about your own.
Professional liability insurance for mental health professionals – what it covers
Professional liability insurance covers you, your employee, intern, or volunteer, for claims of:
- Negligence – (you failed in your duty of care, made a mistake, gave the wrong advice, or didn’t deliver what you promised)
- Libel or slander
- Sexual misconduct and abuse (up to $200,000).
As well as your legal defense fees, it can pay court costs and compensation, plus up to $5,000 for expenses.
But professional liability coverage doesn’t stop there. If you accidentally lose sensitive client data, your policy can pay up to $25,000 towards an HIPAA fine. And up to $5,000 if you find yourself facing disciplinary action.
What’s more, as long as you’ve had continuous cover previously, you can protect yourself from claims made by past clients too. Just agree on the date you want your policy to go back to when you buy it.
General liability insurance – why mental health professionals need it
It’s simple. You need general liability insurance because accidents happen and legal claims are costly.
That coffee table you carefully positioned as a reminder of the appropriate boundaries between therapist and patient. It’s also there for patients to put their personal belongings on, isn’t it?
But what if you accidentally spill your coffee on a client’s new smartphone? Or laptop? Or designer purse? They’re all expensive items to replace.
Or what if a client trips over the coffee table and requires hospital treatment for a broken ankle? He then has to take two months off work and needs physical therapy too. Could you afford to pay his medical bills and replace his lost wages if he sues you for compensation?
General liability insurance can cover the costs of claims you damaged someone’s property or caused them injury. Regardless of fault. It means you can focus on helping your clients work through their issues, without worrying a minor slip-up will turn into a major issue for you.
General liability insurance – what it covers
General liability insurance can cover you and anyone you employ (including temp staff and volunteers) for:
• Claims of accidental damage to someone or their property, including fire damage at premises you rent and accusations of slander or libel
• Medical bills, repairs and replacement costs, legal fees, and compensation, no matter who’s at fault
• Up to $250 a day to help with extra expenses and loss of earnings while a claim’s being settled.
It also covers claims made worldwide, as long as they’re filed in the US or a US territory.
What other insurance do mental health professionals need?
Business personal property insurance
If you take business equipment like laptops and cell phones to work, business personal property insurance (BPP) is good to have. It protects your portables from loss, damage or theft.
Because let’s face it, your stuff’s more likely to get lost or stolen when you’re out and about. And replacing items like laptops is expensive.
What’s more, if you treat clients from your home office, BPP protects anything moveable there too. That means everything from your boxes of Kleenex to your coffee table and couch. Add it to your general liability policy in just a few clicks.
Workers’ comp insurance
If you have any employees – even if it’s only one – workers’ comp insurance is required in most states. It’s definitely worth checking with your state’s Department of Labor, as penalties can be pretty severe.
It’s a good policy to have anyways. It protects you from the cost of employee claims for injury or illness. And can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and lawsuit costs, if you get sued.
You may choose to skip this policy if you practice solo. That said, there are good reasons why sole proprietors need workers’ compensation coverage. It takes the pressure off your health insurance for one.
You might think you don’t need cyber insurance. After all, why would hackers bother with a small counseling practice? Sadly, you’re wrong.
As small businesses have less cash to spare for tough cyber defenses, they’re an easy target. And these days hackers don’t just hold your website to ransom. Email and wire transfer fraud are on the increase.
If you use email, own a website, or transfer money online, you need cyber insurance. It doesn’t just give you the financial resources to recover from an attack. You get 24/7 tech support so you’re back on your feet and in business again, fast.
How much does liability insurance for mental health professionals cost?
Our professional liability insurance starts from as little as $22.50 a month. A general liability policy from $42. But insurance costs do vary from business to business.
The price you’ll pay will depend on things like:
• The size of your practice
• Where it’s located
• The limits you select.
Choosing a higher deductible (the amount you pay towards the cost if there’s a claim) may reduce your premium. Just be sure you could afford that figure if it comes to it.
Whatever the cost, there’s a package to suit your particular needs. There are payment options, too. Spread the cost with monthly payments or pay in one lump sum. Whatever works best for you.
Mental health counselor insurance quotes
If you’re ready to get a quote, you can quote online now. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.
But if you’re still not sure which mental health counseling insurance policies you need, you’ll find more information on our website. Or call us at 978.344.4215. We’ll be happy to talk your options through with you.errors and omissions insurancegeneral liability insuranceprofessional liability insurance