Why do physiotherapists need insurance?
It is usually a requirement for any physiotherapist registered with a professional body to have certain types of insurance.
Even if you are not registered, practising physiotherapy without liability insurance is unwise. There have been plenty of claims against physiotherapists over the years, which tend to be quite costly.
Making an injury worse
Sometimes, despite your best endeavours, a client may claim your physio treatment or advice worsened their condition.
Blame for loss of earnings
If a client alleges your treatment made things worse and resulted in being unable to work, they could ask you to pay for their loss of earnings.
Accusations of failing duty of care
Clients meet you in private settings and expect a professional code of conduct. They may make a legal claim against you if they feel you've acted unprofessionally.
Working closely with clients opens physios to claims of inappropriate behaviour during a treatment session.
The threat of being struck off
Even when not at fault, a complaint from a client or colleague may result in you being struck off a registered list of approved providers; in some cases, this may cost you your career.
Professional indemnity insurance for physiotherapy
Professional indemnity insurance protects physiotherapists from accusations of professional mistakes, negligence, failing duty of care, etc.
Whether at fault or not, professional indemnity insurance will provide qualified legal help to defend your position. If it comes to it, the insurance will also pay any compensation due.
Professional indemnity is one of the covers required by industry regulators, insurance companies sending you referrals and other business partners such as GPs.
Sometimes, you might come across the term ‘medical malpractice insurance for physiotherapists’. In essence, it is just a different name for professional indemnity insurance for physiotherapists.
What does physiotherapy professional indemnity insurance cover?
Professional indemnity insurance protects physiotherapists from claims or accusations of wrongdoing from their professional advice or work product.
- Failing your duty of care
- Making a mistake
- Acting negligently
- Giving the wrong advice or recommendation
- Your client alleges that your treatment failed to deliver expected results, and they want their money back, or they’re suing you to do more for free
- Your client claims compensation because they believe your work led to further injury preventing them from work
- You are accused of sharing a client's confidential information
- You said something wrong or acted in a discriminatory manner
What professional indemnity limit do physiotherapists need?
The professional indemnity limit you need for your practice should reflect the size and nature of your business.
Consider the following:
- Are you a member of a professional body that requires professional indemnity? If so, do they specify a necessary limit of liability?
- How many clients do you treat in your practice?
- Do you work with partners?
- What could the financial impact be if one or more treatments go wrong?
Generally, the more extensive and complex your physiotherapy practice, the higher the limit you will need.
Switching your professional indemnity insurance
Typically, in the UK, if you cancel a professional indemnity policy, you can no longer claim against it.
Therefore, if you switch your physiotherapist insurance provider, be sure your new policy covers your past work; this is called “retroactive cover”.
Should I keep professional indemnity insurance if I close my physiotherapy practice?
It’s wise to keep your professional indemnity if you close your physiotherapist practice. Claims against physiotherapists for professional misconduct or malpractice can surface months or years after you deliver the work.
If a past client sues you for damages and you have cancelled your professional indemnity, you will not be covered.
How long you keep your cover in place is up to you; consider the type of work you did, how long you worked and the likelihood that a client might bring a claim against you.
Public liability insurance for physiotherapy
Public liability insurance covers risks faced by physiotherapists in their face-to-face work.
Nearly all physiotherapists see clients in person, so it’s wise to have a public liability insurance policy.
Public liability is an inexpensive cover that responds to claims of causing accidental harm to someone or their property. That someone could be your client, but it could also be a third party you come in contact with during your work.
What does physiotherapy public liability insurance cover?
Public liability insurance is valuable when faced with injury claims and compensation demands.
- accidental injury or death
- accidental property damage
- A client visits your premises and is injured in a slip or fall
- You visit a client site and damage equipment by knocking over a coffee
Other insurance physiotherapists buy
As a physiotherapist, your insurance needs may differ based on your unique circumstances. It's important to ask yourself certain questions such as: Are you financially prepared for a legal dispute? Could negative publicity negatively impact your business reputation? Is your work heavily reliant on expensive computer equipment? How would you manage your business expenses in the event of an illness?
Commercial legal expenses insurance
Most commercial legal expenses insurance will protect physiotherapists against various tax and legal issues you may encounter due to your profession, which are not covered by professional indemnity or public liability.
At Suited, we combined £100,000 of commercial legal expenses insurance with helplines and other tools to better assist physiotherapists in dealing with these issues. We call this Business Legal Protect, and it’s part of your subscription.
Business Legal Protect offers qualified advice and assistance with:
- Legal and tax matters concerning your business
- Criminal prosecution
- Unpaid invoices (over £200)
- HMRC investigates your tax affairs
- You are facing an investigation from a professional body
- You need legal help chasing a significant unpaid invoice
- You’re being taken to court for breach of contract
Business equipment insurance
Physiotherapy is getting much more technical, and some equipment can be costly.
If damaging or even losing an expensive piece of equipment would financially strain your bank balance, consider reducing the risk with electronic business equipment insurance.
Income protection for physiotherapists
To earn, you have to be physically present at your work. That may not be possible if you’re very ill and unable to work.
It’s wise to consider the financial burden if an illness takes longer to recover from. How would you financially cope?
Income protection insurance can be a welcome safety net during those times and provide a substitute financial help for up to a year or until you’re again to work.
Life insurance for physiotherapists
As a self-employed individual, you may not receive employee benefits like death in service benefits. This makes it even more important to safeguard your loved ones in case of any unfortunate events.
As a self-employed physiotherapist with a family, it's crucial to consider the future and plan accordingly. It may be helpful to consult a life insurance specialist who can guide you through the available options and assist in designing a cover that best suits your family's needs. Remember, protecting your loved ones should always be a top priority.
Physiotherapists we insure
Suited offers comprehensive insurance policies that cater to the needs of a wide range of physiotherapists, including:
- Aquatic physiotherapists
- Hand therapists
- Home health physiotherapists
- Musculoskeletal physiotherapists
- Occupational physiotherapists
- Pain management physiotherapists
- Rehabilitation and physical therapists
- Respiratory physiotherapists
- Sports therapists
- and more..
Shopping for physiotherapy liability insurance
Whether or not you decide to use Suited for your physiotherapy insurance, it’s worth keeping the following in mind:
Cheap physiotherapy insurance
When selecting a physiotherapist insurance provider, it's important to consider more than just the price. Trustworthiness and reliability are also crucial factors. Suited is a great choice as we offer multiple communication options to ensure you receive prompt and dependable support.
The reputation of the insurer is important
When it comes to insurance, you must have reliable coverage when you need it the most. That's why Suited partners with financially stable insurers who have a proven track record of prompt payouts and hold an A+ rating.
Many providers charge fees to amend or cancel
Be aware of low initial prices that may seem appealing, as they often conceal additional fees for monthly payments or policy amendments and cancellations. At Suited, we never charge any extra fees, and you can cancel your policy anytime without any further payments required.
Some policy wordings are restrictive or have a high excess
Some insurance providers may provide attractive prices, but at the expense of limited coverage. With Suited, you can be confident that our professional indemnity and public liability policies have a £0 excess, providing you with comprehensive protection.