Professional liability insurance, sometimes referred to as malpractice insurance, protects dietitians from real or alleged errors or omissions, including negligence in the course of your professional duties, by covering most of the costs associated with these claims. We do suggest that you obtain liability insurance prior to working with clients; having this coverage is a requirement to becoming in-network with insurance companies.
Professional liability insurance is administered by a number of companies, but you are eligible to receive coverage via Proliability (by Mercer) for your private practice or traditional employment at reduced rates if you are a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Most insurance companies require providers to have a policy that covers them for at a minimum $1,000,000 per incident/occurrence and $5,000,000 aggregate per policy year.
Varying Types of Liability Insurance
As a dietitian, your base general medical liability insurance policy covers your general scope of practice, whether you are an employee or are self-employed. In the event of a lawsuit, your policy would:
Provide you with your own attorney
Pay all reasonable costs incurred in the defense or investigation of a covered claim
Pay you for lost wages
Provide reimbursement if licensing board issues were involved
Pay court costs and settlements in addition to the limits of liability
If you are an RDN who consults, posts content to social media, writes books, creates and shares recipes, posts nutrition videos to your website, etc., Proliability suggests you obtain a Non-Patient Care Services policy for $25 annually (at the time of publication) for additional liability coverage. Anything that you are producing, publishing or sharing is material that you are liable for, and having this extra layer of protection may spare you and your business from legal action.
When is the last time you read your liability insurance policy? Does it cover what you need it to cover? If not, we at Healthy Bytes suggest reaching out to your insurance underwriter with your specific questions and needs.
Note: The resources mentioned above serve only to give you general information and a general sense of understanding. Links from Healthy Bytes to third-party sites do not constitute an endorsement by Healthy Bytes of the parties or their products and services.