A California Physician With Medical Liability Coverage Standing In Front Of The California State Flag Holding A Stethoscope

In Need of Medical Malpractice Insurance in California?

If you are a physician needing medical malpractice coverage in California, MEDPLI will work for you as your only trusted broker.

Use the information in this 2024 Buying Guide to get ready to discuss your medical malpractice insurance needs with a MEDPLI insurance broker.  Get a quote.

California Medical Professional Liability Insurance Market Summary

Physicians in California have many options for obtaining medical malpractice insurance, but we recommend carriers rated “A” by A.M. Best because of their long-term financial solvency and a history of providing robust financial and legal support for California physicians. 

Some of the top-rated medical malpractice insurance companies serving California physicians include:

  • The Doctor’s Company

  • NORCAL/ProAssurance Group

  • Medical Protective Group

  • Coverys Group

  • Lone Star Alliance RRG

  • Admiral Insurance Co


  • MIEC

Save time by getting a range of carrier quotes from MEDPLI today.

Malpractice Insurance Rates for California Doctors

This information includes general estimated premiums which can vary greatly based on many factors, such as practice location, medical/surgical specialty, and past claims history. Talk to a MEDPLI broker to get quotes tailored to your unique coverage needs.

Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
Anesthesiology $14,000 $28,000 $18,000
Cardiovascular Disease Minor Surgery $15,000 $30,000 $19,000
Emergency Medicine $25,000 $50,000 $30,600
Family Practice No Surgery $9,000 $18,000 $12,800
General Practice No Surgery $9,000 $18,000 $12,800
General Surgery $30,000 $60,000 $36,000
Internal Medicine No Surgery $9,000 $18,000 $10,800
Neurology No Surgery $12,000 $24,000 $15,400
Obstetrics and Gynecology Major Surgery $45,000 $90,000 $54,600
Occupational Medicine $7,000 $14,000 $8,400
Ophthalmology No Surgery $7,000 $14,000 $8,400
Orthopedic Surgery No Spine $28,000 $56,000 $33,400
Pediatrics No Surgery $9,000 $18,000 $10,800
Psychiatry $6,000 $12,000 $7,200
Radiology – Diagnostic $14,000 $28,000 $18,000

*Using the CA standard limits of $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage

Each practice risk profile is different, and your rates could vary significantly. MEDPLI specializes in medical malpractice insurance and tail insurance coverage for California physicians. To get estimates based on your specific scenario, reach out for a personalized quote. Get a quote.

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for California Physicians

Here is a brief overview of the most common types of medical malpractice insurance for physicians in California:

1. Claims Made Insurance

Claims-made malpractice insurance provides coverage if the policy is in effect both when the incident took place AND when the claim is filed. If a claim is filed after the end of the policy date, the claim is NOT covered. With a claims-made policy you need tail malpractice insurance, which is a separately purchased insurance policy or endorsement, to make sure you have full protection. Learn more about claims-made insurance here.

2. Occurrence Insurance

Occurrence malpractice insurance provides coverage for incidents that occurred during the policy year, regardless of when a claim is reported to the carrier. Occurrence policies are more costly at the start of the policy, but the rate stays the same for the length of the policy, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends. Read more about occurrence insurance.

3. Tail Insurance

Since most malpractice insurance policies are underwritten on a claims-made basis, you will be exposed to a lawsuit if a former patient files a claim against you and you do not secure tail coverage.  When you are preparing to leave your employer, you should seek tail coverage options with an independent broker like MEDPLI.  Tail insurance covers you for a specific time period.  The new employer’s policy is not going to cover you for prior acts of a former practice, hence tail coverage is needed.  Read more about tail malpractice insurance for physicians.


Medical malpractice insurance or secured assets to cover claims? 

MEDPLI’s recommendation:

Medical malpractice insurance from an A-rated carrier is the most cost-effective way to protect yourself.

Telemedicine in California

According to the Medical Board of California, “Physicians using telehealth technologies to provide care to patients located in California must be licensed in California. Physicians are held to the same standard of care, and retain the same responsibilities of providing informed consent, ensuring the privacy of medical information, and any other duties associated with practicing medicine regardless of whether they are practicing via telehealth or face-to-face, in-person visits.

Within that scope, California physicians must:

  • Obtain verbal and written informed consent from the patient prior to the telehealth virtual visit.
  • Ensure that the signed written consent becomes part of the patient’s medical record.
  • Create and maintain patient medical records with information on the condition treated in the telehealth visit in accordance with accepted standards for medical records.

Also, in most cases, California physicians have limitations on prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing controlled drugs and related services via telehealth services without an appropriate prior examination. Doctors that take care of patients via telehealth are subject to the same liabilities as with in-person treatment. Reach out to a MEDPLI insurance broker to make sure your existing medical malpractice policy extends coverage to perform telehealth services in California.

Tort Reform in California

California was an early leader in tort reform, passing the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) in 1975. The Act placed a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Subsequent tort reform over the next several decades included imposing limits on attorney’s fees, imposing shared liability rules, and a new code requiring a patient to notify the healthcare provider of their intent to file a lawsuit at least 90 days before doing so.

In 2023,  the passing of Assembly Bill 35 (AB35) modified California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) to mandate the first cap adjustments for non-economic medical malpractice damages since 1975.

California’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In California there is no limit on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can recover for economic damages, such as actual costs of the medical care necessitated by the malpractice, lost income, lost future earning capacity, and any other measurable economic losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice.

The recent passing of Assembly Bill 35 (AB35) modified MICRA by raising caps and establishing incremental increases for non-economic medical malpractice damages:

  • As of January 1, 2023, AB35 raised the previous limit of $250,000 on non-economic damages for non-death cases to $350,000. Incremental increases over the next 10 years will raise the cap to $750,000, followed by a 2% annual adjustment for inflation in subsequent years
  • The limit for malpractice cases involving wrongful deaths has increased to $500,000 and will rise incrementally to $1 million over the next 10 years. The subsequent 2% annual adjustment for inflation will also apply.
  • Additional mandates in AB35 now allow patients to sue and collect compensation for economic damages from three separate sources – doctors, hospitals, and “separate, unaffiliated” providers such as specialty surgeons in private practice.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in California can be complex and can vary from case to case. Consulting with MEDPLI insurance brokers who understand the ins and outs of this system is an important part of protecting your medical practice with strong medical malpractice insurance coverage.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Outcomes in California

The total malpractice payout in California was $193,330,000 as of 9/30/2023. (Source: National Practitioner Data Bank)

Closing Remarks

Note, however, in light of the increase in non-economic damage caps due to MICRA reforms, California physicians need robust medical malpractice coverage to protect against high financial loss in case of a liability lawsuit. Also, as the damage caps increase incrementally over the next 10 years, medical malpractice insurance rates in California are likely to follow. Talk to a MEDPLI insurance broker who will help you shop for competitive quotes among “A” rated carriers serving California physicians.