As a veterinarian, you work hard to provide preventive care and healing for animals, as well as support for their owners. However, animal care — like any health-related profession — can be a high-stakes field.
Whether you're examining a cat in your office or delivering a calf on a customer's ranch, specialized business insurance takes into account all aspects of your veterinary practice and can help protect you in case of unforeseen events.
As you research your veterinary practice's insurance options, here are some types of coverage to consider:
Business property coverage: This important coverage helps protect the physical structure that houses your veterinary practice, as well as what's inside it — computers, exam tables, surgical equipment, and more — in case of a covered loss. What's considered a covered loss will vary according to your specific policy, but common perils include theft and fire, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that the most common — and expensive — property insurance claims from veterinarians are typically damages from severe weather incidents like wind or lightning-sparked fires.
General liability coverage: If someone is injured at your veterinary office and you are found liable, general liability coverage can help pay for medical costs. According to recent statistics from the AVMA, slips, trips, and falls are the most common general liability claim against veterinarians. The Small Business Administration (SBA) says general liability coverage can also help protect you if someone successfully sues you or one of your employees for damages to themselves or their propertyâ€”for example,after being bitten by an animal in your waiting room.
Equipment breakdown coverage: Your business relies heavily on the flawless functioning of your cleaning equipment, as well as your electrical and phone systems, and more. This coverage can help pay for the cost to repair your equipment if it breaks down, and may also help replace lost income and other expenses, according to the International Risk Management Institute.
This coverage can help protect you against a data breach that could expose sensitive client data. Your office staff collects private customer information on intake forms and when they accept payment information (checks and credit and debit cards). If this information is lost or stolen, you could be held liable for identity theft lawsuits by clients, and might also face costs to repair your data files. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), recommends that all businesses create strong cyber-safety plans. However, you may also want to consider data compromise coverage, which can help reimburse you for the cost of notifying patients of a breach, offering credit-monitoring services, recovering your own damaged data and more.
Other coverage options you may want to keep in mind:
- Animal bailee coverage: If a pet is waiting to be seen in your exam room and is injured, this coverage can respond to causes of loss under the business personal property section of your policy.
- Professional liability (malpractice) coverage: This coverage can help protect you in case you are sued for alleged mistakes in the course of your work.
- Business interruption coverage: If you were forced to shut down your practice for an extended amount of time due to damage from a covered event such as a fire, business interruption coverage could help replace your ongoing business income, based on previous profit records.
- Equipment breakdown coverage: If your veterinary practice's sophisticated equipment—from computers to X-ray machines—were to fail, this coverage could help pay for repairs. This coverage may also help replace lost income or other costs related to equipment malfunctions, up to your policy's limits.
Your business insurance agent
can work with you to choose a complete package of coverages for your veterinary practice.