It’s a common question, and for good reason. With liability exposures, each dentist needs to carefully consider what EXACTLY the coverage provides and what that coverage is worth for their own circumstances. Below is a brief description of each coverage. Call us for more detailed information and for help evaluating your specific situation.
Occurrence coverage provides protection for professional services rendered while the policy is in effect, regardless of when a patient files a claim. Even after you stop practicing, your occurrence policy will still provide you and your estate with coverage for the professional services you provided during the policy term. Fewer insurers offer Occurrence coverage than Claims-made due to the carrier needing to plan for the long-term exposure.
Occurrence coverage costs more, typically $200-$400 more annually than Claims-made policies.
While Occurrence coverage is based on when the act occurred, Claims-made coverage is based on when the act is reported (when the claim is made). Claims-made policies provide coverage for claims that are reported to the insurer while the policy is in force.
Claims-made coverage typically costs $200-$400 less annually than an Occurrence policy.
For Claims-made policies, an Extended Reporting Period (ERP) Endorsement, commonly called “Tail Coverage”, may be required to provide protection for claims that are reported after the policy’s termination date. In the event of cancellation or non-renewal, you will need to make sure you purchase a “Tail Policy” or have your new carrier pick up your Prior Acts. High-quality Claims-made coverage from the leading carriers will include a FREE tail at Retirement, Disability or Death.
If not included for free Tail coverage costs additional premium beyond your Claims-made policy, typically about double the annual premium cost. It is a one-time payment and is only available for purchase for a certain period of time following your policy cancellation. The deadline for purchase can vary by carrier--be sure to understand these time periods prior to cancellation.
If you have a Claims-made policy and you plan to move your coverage to a new carrier, in order to have your Prior Acts covered you will need: