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EMT Liability Insurance for First Responders & Paramedics

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Firefighters, police officers, and EMTs all perform a duty to society that can never be repaid for, especially when you consider that they’re putting themselves in numerous exposures.

Every EMT needs business insurance to make sure that he or she doesn’t end up in financial and career-related problems. In this guide, we’re going to cover what you need to know about EMT insurance, including how much it costs and the best companies to get it from.


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EMT Liability Insurance

EMT liability insurance is a term that pertains to two types of insurance for EMTs - general liability and professional liability insurance. Let’s discuss how these work. 


Paramedic Indemnity Insurance

Paramedic indemnity insurance, otherwise called by others professional liability insurance, mitigates financial responsibility if a patient accuses you of committing negligent actions, which result in economic or financial losses. The bullet outlines some negligent and harmful acts paramedics can commit:

  • Arriving at the scene in an inappropriate time frame 

  • Improper use of medical devices and use of defective medical devices

  • Administration of the wrong medication or incorrect dosage

  • Negligent driving behavior

  • Discrimination or refusal to treat a patient

  • Misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment of the patient

  • Airway mismanagement

  • Failure to attend to a patient at the accident scene or leaving a patient at the accident scene


Understand that negligence is just one peril professional liability insurance covers. In truth, you can also claim this insurance if someone sues you for:

  • Misrepresentation

  • Violation of good faith

  • Violation of fair dealing

  • Breach of confidentiality 


Know that this type of paramedic liability insurance is offered as a claims-made policy or occurrence policy. 

You can only claim a claims-made professional liability insurance during the time a covered peril happened. For example, if you’re sued for negligence on Thursday but you only reported the incident to the insurance company on the next week’s Thursday, then coverage doesn’t apply. 

An occurrence professional liability insurance covers all perils that occured while it’s in effect. Another way to explain it is that, this kind of professional liability insurance provides coverage regardless of when you decide to use it. 


Why is Professional Liability Insurance Important for EMTs?

According to a study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, negligence comprised 35% of all claims filed against EMTs and paramedics between 1883 - 1993. You might be wondering how EMTs can injure people and be found negligent when they’re the first in line to save lives. And here are some real-life examples of how paramedics were sued for negligence and their result.

CaseResult
Paramedics, who attended to a woman having a miscarriage, pronounced the fetus dead without doing the necessary steps to ascertain if the prematurely born child was lifeless indeed. Because of this, the woman filed a claim grounded on the reason that the paramedics didn’t follow the standard procedures imposed by the state of Massachusetts.Paramedics ended up settling the matter with $1 million. 
Paramedics faced lawsuits accusing them of negligence after making a patient walk down the stairs to the ambulance while suffering from an early onset of a heart attack.Ordered by the court to hand $1 million to the plaintiff
Paramedics were charged with gross negligence for the death of a 16-year old boy after leaving the scene without doing a full assessment.The court charged the paramedics with:1. $2,593,750 for loss of society;2. 1,556,220 for loss of money, goods, and services;3. $778,125 for loss of normal life;4. $259,375 for pain and suffering
Paramedics and their hospital got sued after allegedly failing to provide adequate medical assistance to a patient who was on life support.The lawsuit demanded $1 million in payment for grief, anguish, emotional distress, medical and burial costs, loss of society and companionship, and other damages

 

Claims for professional negligence of paramedics fall under medical malpractice claims, and the average cost of settlement for medical malpractice is an interesting point of inquiry that we have to find answers for. Luckily enough, we accessed the report published by the Office of Insurance Commissioner of Washington. We found two interesting things from it, and they are:

  • From 2015 - 2019, 1,873 medical malpractice claims were raised and each costs $405,025 on average.

  • The average cost for the legal defense of medical malpractice is $67,618 per claim which totals $251.1 million if an estimated 3,000 claims are made.


General Liability Insurance for EMT 

When a patient or another person gets hurt or sustains losses because of the circumstances you caused, a lawsuit soon follows. If this doesn’t happen to you now, it will happen to you soon. To protect yourself from the worst, get general liability insurance because it will shield you from liability claims.

General liability insurance provides protection against personal injury claims and property damage claims raised against you by patients, bystanders, and other third parties. Here’s how general liability insurance works. 

  • If you’re liable for a person's personal injuries, general liability insurance will reimburse or cover his or her medical expenses so that you can wrap things up without spending a single penny 

  • If you’re liable for a person’s property damage, general liability insurance will provide the money you can use to recompense his or her losses 

  • General liability insurance provides coverage for legal defense if it’s needed to wrap up a personal injury claim or property damage claim against you. Particular things covered are attorney fees, settlements, administrative costs, etc. 


There are many situations where general liability insurance is very useful. We don’t want to convince you by simply giving theoretical examples, which sound fallacious and out of the blue. That’s why we looked at numerous online databases having records of cases where paramedics faced liability claims.

CaseResult
An ambulance was en route to rush a patient to the hospital. The patient was accompanied by his two friends. While in transit, the driver suddenly braked and caused the chaperones to fall from their seats and sustain shoulder, wrist, and arm pain. The patient’s friend each sued for $1,000,000.A total of $52,000 was paid for the liability claim.
EMTs found a patient unconscious and lying on the ground after jumping from a height of 15 - 20 feet. Attending medical personnel then delivered the patient to the hospital with a police officer accompanying them. While on the way, the ambulance got involved in an accident and caused the police officer to fall on the patient as he didn’t have his seatbelts on. Upon recovering, the patient proceeded to file a lawsuit against the EMT’s claiming that the police officer’s falling on them caused the injuries and not the jumping from a considerable height.The court favored the claim, and $80,000 was awarded to the plaintiff.
EMTs attended to a man named Robert Morley after getting involved in a tractor accident. Medical personnel decided to bring the man to the hospital via airlift. While loading the patient, it turned out that the stretcher was defective and caused further head injuries. Because of this, the patient filed a claim against the EMTs requesting a payment of $300,000.The court dismissed the case without prejudice


Optional Policies In EMT General Liability Insurance 

General liability insurance can be added with optional policies. Optional policies, in insurance lingo, are coverages that you can decide to have at an additional cost. For EMT general liability insurance, the optional policies are:

  • Products and completed operations coverage-This covers attorney fees, 

  • settlements, administrative costs, and other legal expenses if a service you delivered inflicted property damage or personal injuries to a patient 

  • Advertising injury coverage- Advertising injury coverage shoulders legal expenses if you’re sued for slander, libel, and other related offenses 


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Business Insurance Policies for Commercial EMT Service Businesses 

Professional indemnity and general liability insurance are already enough if you want to get covered as an EMT. But if you’re an individual who’s running an EMT service company, otherwise called a commercial ambulance business, then there are other insurance products to consider purchasing. Explore all of them in this section. 


Commercial Property Insurance 

Your commercial ambulance company is using a building where employees are trained, equipment is stored, and other business activities are carried out. If something happens to that building, years of hard work will be wasted. But even more so, a lot of investment will be lost. This is why it’s always great to have commercial property insurance as it will help to:

  • Recover your losses if your business’s building is destroyed by a fire or extreme weather 

  • Recover your losses if your business building is damaged by fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils


There are some things you need to know about commercial property insurance. Firstly, this insurance won’t provide coverage if your building is burned because of an intentional fire. Secondly, the policy excludes earthquakes, floods, and mudslides. Thirdly, the amount you’ll receive will be based on the replacement cost or actual value of the covered property. 


The commercial property insurance for EMT service businesses can be added with stocks and contents coverage. You can get business equipment coverage too. Here’s a quick explanation about how they work:

  • Stocks and contents coverage will reimburse losses if CCTV cameras, office furniture, air conditioners, and other valuable items scheduled as covered in the policy terms is destroyed by fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils 

  • Business equipment coverage will refund your investments on business equipment and tools essential for the smooth operation of your EMT service business 


Inland Marine Insurance

Some emergencies will require you to transport specialty equipment that patients need to survive.  Such specialty equipment can be lost or damaged while being transported. This is why it’s smart if you decide to get inland marine insurance. Inland marine insurance will reimburse your losses should specialty equipment being transported become lost or damaged due to fire, malicious mischief, rollovers, and other covered perils. 


Workers Compensation Insurance

The EMTs working under you face a lot of perils. They might get involved in a vehicular accident while on the way to a patient.  It’s also possible for them to sustain cuts, burns, lacerations, and other injuries while working. Finally, it's not far-fetched to say that your employees might contract a disease because of work. 

Consider getting workers' compensation insurance so that you don’t use business funds when compensating an employee for their disease or injury. The following are what’s covered by workers' compensation insurance:

  • Medical treatment/procedure-Workers compensation will finance the surgeries, therapies, and other medical treatments/procedures your employee needs to heal from or mitigate the effects of a work-related injury or disease 

  • Hospitalization-Having worker's compensation insurance enables you to provide the money that will cover bills if your employee is admitted in the hospital for hours, days, weeks, or months

  • Medication-Workers compensation insurance provides funds if your employee needs assistance to buy the prescription medicines integral for the healing of a work-related injury or disease 

  • Rehabilitation-Rehabilitation costs are also covered by workers' compensation insurance. This is why it’s very useful if your employee sustains temporary or permanent impairment due to a work-related injury or disease 

  • Lost income compensation-Workers compensation insurance covers lost wages if an employee of your EMT service business can’t work. Coverage for lost income is a weekly allowance equal to two-thirds or 67% of the average weekly wage. This will be received until the amount or duration prescribed in the terms of workers comp is satisfied

  • Death benefits-If an employee dies, workers compensation insurance shoulders your company’s responsibility to cover the cost. It will cover funeral expenses. Allowance is also provided to the dependents until the amount or duration prescribed in the terms of workers comp insurance is satisfied 


Business Interruption Insurance

You can claim business interruption insurance when your EMT service business is temporarily closed for a relocation, renovation, or economic crisis. In practice, this type of first response insurance functions to pay for employee wages, taxes, loans, mortgage, and other operational costs while your business isn’t generating income. 


Abuse and Molestation Insurance

A time will come when one of your company’s EMT molests/abuses or allegedly molests/abuses a patient. There's insurance for this-abuse and molestation insurance. Abuse and molestation insurance will cover attorney fees, settlements, administrative costs, and other legal expenses if your company is held responsible for the molestation that an employee did or allegedly did to a patient. Note that abuse and molestation insurance doesn’t cover lawsuits filed by employees. 


Car Insurance for First Responders

First responder insurance for private EMTs offers commercial auto insurance. Commercial auto insurance takes care of your liability over the vehicular accidents you cause. It also provides coverage if the vehicle you use for work sustains damage either by collision or through fire and acts of God. Other protection car insurance for first responders offers are:

  • Personal injury protection

  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage


Add personal injury protection coverage to your first responder car insurance. It takes care of medical fees in case you get involved in car accidents.  This insurance policy will take care of common injuries in car accidents such as:

  • Cuts and lacerations

  • Neck injuries

  • Spinal injuries

  • Internal Injuries

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Burns

  • Paralysis


Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage kicks in if you get involved in an accident another driver caused. If the other driver’s insurance can’t cover you, this insurance kicks in to take care of the expenses.

 

Is Car Insurance for First Responders Important?

According to the National Highway and Travel Safety Association, a total of 4,500 ambulance road accidents happen in the United States and these result in 33 deaths on average. The majority of the deaths are caused by being unrestrained while the ambulance is in transit. Contributing factors to ambulance crashes on the highway are:

  • Fatigue

  • Speeding

  • Defective ambulance components (sirens, vehicular beacons, brake system, etc.)

  • Driving through intersections

  • Miscommunication with other drivers


Again, we want to give you concrete examples of ambulance-related accidents wherein third parties filed a claim for the damages they sustained. To do so, we looked at legal records and compilations of related literature.

CaseResult
An ambulance got involved in an accident while on the way to respond to an emergency call.Plaintiff sued the ambulance $5,000 for the damages his car sustained.
An ambulance struck the car it was following after another car suddenly pulled up. The plaintiff sued the ambulance for $5,000,000 for physical injuries. Another lawsuit was filed by the plaintiff’s wife demanding $5,000,000 from the driver.
The ambulance collided with a car that suddenly pulled out from the parking area.  The driver of the car complained of rib pain after the collision happened.Unknown
While responding to an emergency assignment, the ambulance (Vehicle 1) entered an intersection. Vehicle 2 was traveling on the intersecting road and struck the ambulance causing it to flip upside down. The ambulance came to rest approximately 30 feet from the impact zone. The first responding ambulances and fire personnel found the two medics hanging upside down from their seatbelts. They were alert and without complaint, although their predicament was causing them some distress.The driver of vehicle 2 filed a lawsuit and demanded $25,000 for the damage his car sustained.

 

Ambulance accidents don't only end up with third parties sustaining damages. Numerous studies have already established the fact that most injuries EMTs experience while working are caused by road accidents. CDC provides the clearest information about this. According to the organization, 27 on-duty EMS workers were killed in ambulance accidents, and they made up 33% of all fatalities recorded from 1991 - 2000.

In addition, here are some related cases we found online:

  • July 2001 - a 27-year-old EMT was pronounced dead after her ambulance struck an elevated train-track support column.  The cause of death was severe head trauma which happened by being flung to the front bulkhead of the ambulance compartment when the crash happened

  • March 2001 - A paramedic suffered from minor injuries after the ambulance collided with an incoming truck. The injuries resulted when the paramedic hit the interior cabinets and shelves of the ambulance compartment 


So how can EMTs avoid injuries in case a vehicular accident happens? The first thing to do is to have ample rest and engage in effective stress management. Research has already proven that fatigue is the leading cause of ambulance-related accidents on the road. Also, EMTs shouldn't disregard how effective restrainers are in saving lives. The failure to wear seatbelts is the most prevalent feature of ambulance accidents where EMTs died. 

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First Responder Insurance Discounts

First responders have access to all of the usual discounts that others can access when buying insurance, such as bundling multiple policies together for a flat rate decrease. However, paramedics, EMTs, firefighters, and police officers also have access to special discounts for their insurance, as well.

One of the more popular discounts available is the car insurance first responder discount. Many companies will offer a discount of between 3% and 10% for car insurance, provided you can show your credentials that prove that you work as a first responder. 

Let's have a look at some of the first responder discounts offered by some of the top insurance companies in the industry.


Geico First Responder Discount

Geico doesn’t offer a specific discount for first responders as a policy, though they do offer a discount for federal employees. To qualify for Geico’s discount, you’ll need to be ranked GS-7 or higher, and if you are a part of a government organization that doesn’t use the GS system, you’ll need to be the equivalent of GS-11.


State Farm First Responder Discount

State Farm offers automatic discounts on insurance to individuals who can show their first responder credentials. They offer a maximum discount of 10% to first responders, though you’ll have to discuss the actual percentage with your own State Farm agent.


Progressive First Responder Discount

While Progressive doesn’t include first responder discounts in their list of auto insurance discounts, you may be able to arrange something with your insurance agent. As always, you’ll need to present proof that you’re an EMT or a first responder if you want to be eligible, though this may not always work.


Allstate First Responder Discount

Allstate is similar to Progressive in that they don’t list first responder discounts as one of the eligible forms of auto insurance discounts available to their customers. However, Allstate does offer a discount for trained drivers, so if you’ve been trained to drive as a first responder, you may be eligible.


Liberty Mutual First Responder Discount

Liberty Mutual offers one of the largest discounts on insurance to first responders, including firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and paramedics. If you present proof of you being a first responder to your Liberty Mutual agent, you’ll be eligible for up to a 12% discount on insurance.


Farmers Insurance First Responder Discount

Farmers offers discounts to their auto insurance customers that range between 5% and 15%, but they don’t specify whether or not they offer discounts to first responders, so you’ll need to speak to your agent about it.


Nationwide First Responder Discount

Nationwide offers discounts to first responders under their PoliceOne program. However, it is unclear whether they have discounts for firefighters and EMTs as well.


EMT Insurance Cost

Private EMT businesses pay $60 per month or $720 per year for a $1 million general liability coverage. Their commercial auto insurance is expensive and costs $666.66 per month or $8,000 per year per vehicle. The table below shows the rates of the best EMT insurance companies:


Cost per Month Cost per YearBest for
The Hartford $56$672EMTs who want to insure themselves
Winstar$62$744Nonprofit and for-profit private EMT organizations
Markel $68$816For-profit EMT organizations

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Best First Responder Insurance Companies 

Here are the best carriers for commercial EMT service businesses. Read to know their pros, cons, and monthly rates. 


Winstar Commercial EMT Insurance

Pros

  • Specializes in insuring EMT organizations 

Cons

  • Doesn’t underwrite the policies provided to EMTs 

Winstar is the leading carrier of for-profit and nonprofit private EMT service organizations in Texas. The coverages you can avail from this company is underwritten by VFIS, an insurance company that specializes in insuring emergency organizations.  WinStar offers general liability, commercial property, inland marine, excess liability, directors and officers liability, and group term life insurance. 

Best for: Nonprofit and for-profit private EMT organizations

Average cost: $62 per month for a $1 million general liability coverage

Our rating: 10/10


Markel Commercial EMT Insurance

Pros

  • In-house team of insurance adjusters

  • Fast to process claims 

  • 50 years of experience working with private EMT businesses 

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide online quotes for its commercial EMT insurance

Another insurance company that provides coverage for commercial EMTs is Markel. According to this company, it has 50 years of experience in underwriting tailored insurance plans for private EMT businesses. Markel sells professional liability, general liability, employer’s liability, commercial property, and business interruption insurance. 

Best for: For-profit EMT organizations 

Average cost: $68 per month for a $1 million general liability coverage

Our rating: 10/10


The Hartford First Responder Insurance

Pros

  • Easy to file a claim

  • Responsive customer service representatives

Cons

  • Doesn’t cover private EMT businesses

The Hartford covers individual EMTs through its first responder insurance plan that provides protection against loss of earnings, loss of income, and medical expenses. In a way, this is a specially underwritten type of insurance for first responders merging the functions of loss of income coverage and personal accident insurance. 

Best for: EMTs who want to insure themselves

Average cost: $56 per month for its first responder insurance plan 

Our rating: 9/10


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