There are a lot of things that tend to be more expensive in California than in other states: real estate and gasoline, just to name two. But medical malpractice coverage can be a different story. With federal, state, and local legislation all affecting individual premiums, there are a lot of factors that go into answering the question: is malpractice insurance more expensive in California?
The short answer is no: malpractice coverage in California is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to many of the other states in the country. But of course, there are certain factors that may increase the premiums of physicians and organizations more so in the Golden State than in other locations around the U.S.
County of practice is one of those factors. Insurance carriers gather insurance claim data from every available county where medicine can be practiced, and analyze that data to estimate premiums. The claim data can suggest that certain counties are historically more litigious than others, so premiums will typically be higher in those counties.
But the blame for high county premium rates doesn’t fall solely on the number claims against a certain specialty. Rather, a variety of demographics such as the number of physicians already practicing in the county also gets factored into premium estimates.
One more thing to consider is the specialty of the physician. Say an obstetrician-gynecologist wants to begin practicing in a county where obstetrician-gynecologists have, according to claims data, been sued numerous times in the past. Another physician, a heart surgeon, wants to practice in the same county where the claims data shows much lower rates of litigation against physicians with the same specialty.
Even if both physicians have the same, claim-free record, the obstetrician-gynecologist in this scenario may end up with a higher premium than the heart surgeon.
The best way to find out a specific premium cost is to request a no obligation, personalized quote for your practice. Quotes incorporate all relevant factors which will affect a premium amount, and could reveal more inexpensive options for your situation.