Updated: Sep 4
As a doula, your role in supporting expectant parents during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period is invaluable. Alongside the emotional and physical support you provide, it's essential to consider the practical aspects of your work, such as insurance coverage. In particular, public liability insurance is crucial for doulas as it protects you against claims of negligence or accidental harm. In this article, we will explore the differences between claims made and claims occurring coverage, providing examples of situations where doula insurance can be beneficial.
Understanding Public Liability Insurance
Public liability insurance is a vital component of a doula's insurance coverage. It safeguards you in the event that a claim is made against you for negligence or accidental injury caused to a client or damage to their property. Two key types of public liability insurance coverage are claims made and claims occurring. Let's examine the differences between these two options.
Claims Made Coverage:
Under a "claims made" policy, your insurance covers claims made during the period in which the policy is active. Specifically, it provides coverage if the policy was in force at two crucial points: when you provided the services and when the claim is reported. It's important to note that "claims made" policies primarily focus on past work, as claims often arise from services provided in the past.
Let's say you worked with a client last year and obtained a “claims made” policy during that time. If a claim is made this year regarding the services you provided to that client, the claim will be covered only if you still have an active “claims made” policy. If you cancel your coverage after completing the contract and a claim is made later on, it will not be covered, even if it relates to work done during the policy period.
Claims Occurring Coverage:
Unlike “claims made” policies, “claims occurring” coverage provides protection even after your policy is cancelled. This type of coverage ensures that claims arising from incidents that occurred during the policy period are still eligible for coverage, regardless of when the claim is made. Under a “claims occurring” policy, it is the insurer at the time of the incident who will cover the claim.
Let's consider a scenario where you had an active “claims occurring” policy when you supported a client during childbirth. If an incident occurs during that period, and a claim is made years later, you will still be covered as long as you had insurance in force at the time of the incident. This extended coverage offers valuable protection even if you have cancelled your policy since the incident took place.
When is Doula Insurance Helpful?
As a doula, you provide physical support and assistance during labour and childbirth. While accidents are rare, there is always a possibility of a client sustaining an injury during the birthing process. If the injury is deemed to be the result of your negligence, the client may make a claim against you. Public liability insurance provides coverage in such situations, ensuring you are protected from potential financial liabilities.
During your work as a doula, you may be present in clients' homes and utilise various equipment or tools. Accidental damage to a client's property, such as breaking an item or damaging furniture, can occur. If negligence is proven, the client may hold you responsible and make a claim for compensation. Public liability insurance covers the costs associated with such claims, including legal fees and potential settlements.
As a doula, you offer guidance and information to expectant parents. While your intentions are always to provide accurate and helpful information, misunderstandings or mistakes can happen. If a client feels that the information you provided led to negative consequences during the birthing process, they may attribute blame to you and pursue a claim. Public liability insurance safeguards you in such situations, covering legal defence costs and potential settlements if you are found negligent.
Peace of Mind:
Having insurance as a doula offers peace of mind not only for yourself but also for your clients. It demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and accountability. By having proper insurance coverage, you reassure your clients that you take their well-being and safety seriously, which can enhance trust and confidence in your services.
Choosing the Right Insurance Coverage
When selecting public liability insurance for your doula business, it's important to consider the specific terms and coverage provided by different insurance policies. Look for policies that offer comprehensive coverage for potential risks and ensure that the coverage is suitable for your needs.
Consider the following factors when choosing your insurance coverage:
1. Coverage Limits:
Review the coverage limits provided by different insurance policies. Ensure that the limits are adequate to protect you in case of a claim.
2. Additional Coverage:
Some insurance policies may offer additional coverage options, such as coverage for complementary therapies or other services you provide. Assess your specific needs and choose a policy that accommodates them.
3. Premiums and Costs:
Compare the premiums and costs associated with different insurance providers. While price is a consideration, prioritise comprehensive coverage and choose a policy that provides the best value for your specific requirements.
As a doula, having public liability insurance is a crucial aspect of your professionalism. It protects you from potential financial liabilities arising from claims of negligence or accidental harm. Understanding the differences between claims made and claims occurring coverage is essential for choosing the right insurance policy. By having proper insurance coverage, you can focus on providing exceptional care and support to expectant parents, knowing that you are protected in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Take the time to explore insurance options, select a policy that suits your needs, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have appropriate coverage as a dedicated doula.