Doulas Business Insurance – Cost and Types of Policies
In this short article, we will explain why anyone offering their services as a Doula, or similar activities relating to childbirth and neonatal care, needs to seriously consider their need for adequate and proper Doula business insurance.
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When you are running a professional business providing childbirth education, doula practice, and other kinds of postpartum services like lactation advice, you are taking on specific responsibilities and legal liabilities yourself.
Because you should not be carrying out what is defined as clinical tasks, like monitoring the baby’s heartbeat or physical examinations, since these are the duty of a midwife or doctor chosen by the mother, you cannot be liable for malpractice in the same way as a registered medical caregiver is, there are still possibilities of some unexpected or unwanted outcomes.
It is possible that you could be sued as a result.
Lately, several insurance companies have begun to provide insurance policies similar to medical indemnity / malpractice insurance.
This is due to the growing popularity of Doula services in Western countries.
It has increased the number of cases where claims of damages against Doulas have been lodged.
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Having the right insurance up-front is an essential feature of good practice for all properly managed businesses.
What are the primary insurance covers that a doula requires?
Like any business, you have to protect yourself against unforeseen, unexpected and unwanted outcomes.
Doula service providers have specific liabilities because they deal with sensitive issues involved in health and wellbeing.
So the main focus of your insurance should be to provide cover in case something goes wrong while conducting your doula services. For this, you should be taking out Professional Indemnity insurance (also sometimes called Errors and Omissions – E&O insurance).
Professional indemnity insurance
Naturally, you work hard to ensure that you are providing the highest possible quality of services for the benefit of your customers.
You work in good faith and based on your skills and professional training level. Unfortunately, there may be rare cases when the outcomes are not exactly what the customer expected.
Even though you may have been doing everything expected of you, there is the chance that an emotional customer can blame you for an unsatisfactory outcome.
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This can quickly escalate into a complex legal case where you are being sued.
In any position where a customer sues your business, you could be facing a lengthy and costly legal process.
In the end, you have to risk a decision by a jury that can award a plaintiff many thousands, or even millions, of dollars in damages.
The purpose of professional liability insurance is to cover all of the legal fees involved in your defense and meet any settlement awarded or negotiated up to the limit of your policy.
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Public liability insurance
All businesses have a ‘duty of care that requires you to operate in a safe and secure environment.
If some accident or damage happens to a third party, then you could be sued for all the consequences.
For example, if you have an office where you give regular client assessment and training sessions, and someone accompanying your client trips on a loose board in the stairwell.
Alternately, someone sits on a wobbly chair and it collapses beneath them, causing some physical injury.
A court can find that you were at fault. You would be liable for damages awarded, medical costs, rehabilitation fees, lost income if they had to miss work, as well as their and your own legal fees. Unless you have public liability insurance, you could end up having to foot the bill yourself.
The same thing goes if you are providing services inside a newborn’s home, and you accidentally tip over a bowl of creams you are preparing to apply to the baby’s skin.
If this cream ruins an expensive carpet or stains the flooring, you could be sued by the client for restoration or replacement of the damaged goods.
Commercial vehicle insurance
Suppose you travel around between your home, office, client homes and maternity hospitals in your private vehicle.
In that case, you need to be aware that your personal vehicle insurance may not be providing you with any cover in the event of an accident or theft.
Most insurance companies stipulate that a private vehicle insurance policy does not cover business activities.
It would be best if you either took out a full commercial vehicle insurance policy, or get your insurance company to issue an addendum clause that authorized use of the vehicle for business.
Whether you are running your doula business from an office or from your home, you need property insurance to protect the buildings themselves, as well as any equipment dedicated to your business activities.
If you work from home, be aware that a standard homeowners’ policy may not be covering your business-related assets or any dedicated space in the house.
Consider a Business Owners Policy (BOP)
Suppose you do require both commercial property insurance.
In that case, you could think about saving some money by combining two of the necessary covers under a single business owner’s policy (BOP).
It will integrate commercial property and public liability insurance and give the same cover at a lower cost.
Suggested levels of cover for your doula business
Because every doula practice has its own features and insurance needs, we can’t make any absolute hard-and-fast recommendations of what levels of cover you should be taking out.
It’s best to start by checking with local insurance agents and brokers, and get some advice from your bank to check do doulas need insurance.
You can also talk directly with an insurance company to find out what the relevant policies for your doula business are.
Along with other small businesses, we have based some of the following estimates on levels of cover and costs for businesses similar to doulas, like Yoga teachers, Estheticians, Teeth whiteners, Health coaches,
Obviously, some of the costs will depend on the level of cover you require, like the value of your building and content, the replacement value of your car, etc.
The table below lists average insurance prices for small businesses such as doula services.
|Insurance type||Basic level of cover||Expected range of annual premium|
|Public liability insurance||$2 million full year
$1 million for a single claim
|$450 – $600|
|Professional liability insurance||$100,000 full year
$30,000 single claim
|$250 – $400|
|Commercial vehicle insurance*||Per $10,000 replacement cost||$1500 – $2000|
|Commercial property insurance*||Per $500,000 value||$800 – $1200|
|BOP insurance*||$800 – $1200|
*These are totally dependent on the value of the assets being insured
Should you have a contract with clients for insurance purposes?
A contract between you and your client stipulating doula insurance cover can more clearly define both your role and responsibilities, as well as the client’s expectations.
Some specific features that many contracts include are the obvious ones concerning payment terms.
It may even cover some aspects such as your hours of availability, your ability to offer backup services in the event of unavailability and so on.
Can clients claim Doula charges from their health insurance?
It’s good for you to learn what the policy of your customers’ medical insurance company is.
In some cases, companies have become aware of the cost-saving and better results that come from using a professional doula or lactation coach like yourself. Some are already reimbursing their clients for such services.
You should find out whether the health insurance company stipulates what services you can provide, what accreditation you need, and what you can charge.
Can a Doula service provider bill the customer’s health fund directly?
Some doula and lactation service providers in the United States are already billing their customers’ health insurance companies directly.
The insurance company probably stipulates that you must invoice them directly.
This means there may be some longer period before you are actually reimbursed – often the insurance companies only pay after 60 days.
You can stipulate in your direct billing, usually that clients must pay immediately on the invoice.