A Guide to Surgery Insurance

Do I need specialist insurance for my surgery?

If you own a surgery; be it medical, dental or veterinary, you'll need the correct insurance in place. Our guide explains what you should look for in your policy and some of the terminology involved.

When you run a business, there are certain types of insurance that you are legally required to have and certain types that are contractual. However, there are a number of insurance covers that you should always consider when you have a specialist business such as a medical, dental, veterinary or any other kind of surgery or dental laboratory.

As a specialist insurer, we have a number of different options based on your specific requirements. For example, in the unusual circumstance that you simply own a building that is used as a surgery without actually owning the surgery itself, we can cover you. We also offer different levels of cover, giving you the option to include cover for legal expenses and a loss recovery service.

What surgery cover should I be looking for?

The answer to this question completely depends on the type of practice you have and the services you provide.

Firstly it is a legal requirement for any business with staff to have Employer’s Liability cover. This protects you should an employee of the surgery be injured in the course of any business activities they are required to undertake.

There is a high chance that your mortgage lender will specifically require a particular level of insurance

Secondly, you need to consider any contractual obligations you may have in relation to your surgery. For example, if you have a mortgage on a property from which you conduct business activities, there is a high chance that your mortgage lender will specifically require a particular level of insurance. It also makes financial sense to ensure that, should you suffer a complete loss claim, any insurance policy you have covers the complete rebuild and reinstatement costs.

When determining the value of any contents in your surgery, you need to consider the cost of replacing all the contents at today’s prices. The easiest way to calculate them is to use our Surgery Contents Calculator. We recommend that you review your entire practice, making note of all the contents (including, for example, carpets and blinds) and then consider either the price you paid for each item (if it wasn’t too long ago) or find out from a relevant supplier how much they would cost now.

In terms of contents insurance, as opposed to fixtures and fittings cover, anything permanently fixed in your surgery building is covered with the building itself. The things you need to cover in additional 'contents insurance' are items, goods and personal property currently within the surgery (including, for example, carpets and blinds). For further information speak to your insurance adviser.

You will need to invest some time in collating the lists and valuations if you do not already have them – but you will have an accurate valuation if you need to make a claim and you will also have a full inventory if you ever suffer a major loss through fire or flooding. Once you have completed the calculation make sure you review it regularly.

As with any business dealing with the public, ensuring you have sufficient public liability insurance in place is a must. The industry standard cover for this is £5 million, however it is becoming more common to see local authorities and/or CCGs requesting a minimum of £10 million, so it is important to check any specific requirements you need to adhere to.

These covers are important for all types of practice, but there are additional specific elements that are covered as standard depending on the type of practice you own. For example, medical practices would benefit from; deterioration of stock, drugs and refrigerated vaccines, precious metals, personal effects of employees and visitors and assault by patients. Dental practices on the other hand, may benefit cover for; precious metals and dental chairs. Similarly, veterinary surgeries would look for cover for; animals in custody or control; and dental labs would need laboratory equipment cover.

Vaccine cover

Cover is provided for vaccines stored in your practice refrigerators. These could be vaccines you use frequently or your stocks of seasonal flu or travel vaccines. Drugs held outside of refrigerators in your practice are also covered.

What is business interruption?

Business interruption insurance is provided to support surgeries following a serious incident such as a fire or flood, or anything which results in them being unable to keep conducting their day to day business. This amount is in addition to any claim for the buildings and contents, and is designed to help you continue your business activities as quickly as possible. For example, it could help you to relocate to a new premises to practice from, while work is being done to restore your usual surgery.

Do I need legal expenses cover and a loss recovery service?

We give you the option to add both of these covers to your surgery policy if you require them.

Legal protection

This covers costs and expenses incurred as the result of legal actions, such as contract disputes and compensation claims up to £250,000. As part of this section you would also be covered for tax investigations undertaken by HM Revenue & Customs, which is often cover that people take out separately as it can be costly. We would always advise our customers to add this cover to their policy, as legal expenses can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds which can have a huge financial impact on the future of your surgery.

Loss recovery service

Our loss recovery service is provided by Lorega and is a service that is provided to you should you face a claim of £5,000 or more. They are appointed to work for you, not the insurer, to ensure that your surgery is put back into the same position it was in before the claim. We understand that experiencing a loss can be a difficult and stressful situation for anyone to face; but particularly if you are responsible for dealing with it on behalf of your surgery. This service will give you the peace of mind that an expert in this field will be there to support and advise you through the process to ensure your claim is settled at the correct amount, without any unnecessary delay.

Surgery insurance from Towergate

Our tailored cover for doctors and GP surgeries and practices includes:

  • Free access to Towergate Risk Support, an online health and safety and HR support portal which includes 13 accredited e-learning modules
  • Insured contents covered when away from the surgery
  • Access to Markel Law Hub - your very own legal information portal

Get a surgery insurance quote online or call 0330 123 5250.