Liability Insurance for Dietitians: Guide for Practitioners

liability insurance for dietitians
Written by Olivia Farrow, RD, MHSc

Written by Olivia Farrow, RD, MHSc

Reviewed by Krista Kolodziejzyk, RD, MPH, MBA

Are you a dietitian wanting to know more about your professional liability insurance options?

Liability insurance for dietitians can be a confusing topic, especially if you’re new to dietetics or are starting a business. This guide to dietitian liability insurance will cover some of the things you need to know about obtaining and choosing your professional liability insurance.

Please keep in mind, that we are NOT liability insurance specialists. The information in the blog article is purely based on our own research as Registered Dietitians to help bring a bit of clarity to a confusing topic. This information does not constitute legal, insurance, or regulatory advice. Work with your insurance agent, regulatory college or lawyer before making choices about your insurance coverage. 

What is Dietitian Liability Insurance?

Ultimately, liability insurance for dietitians helps to protect you. Most regulatory bodies, regardless of where you practice, require dietitians to carry dietitian professional liability insurance in order to practice dietetics. Mistakes can happen regardless of the area of dietetics you are working in so it’s important to protect yourself from legal troubles.

Even dietitians working in unconventional settings outside of clinical practice such as blogging, meal plan creation, writing, cooking classes, etc. require dietitian professional liability insurance as it can help protect you in case someone were to make a legal claim about any harm caused by your work. 

Coverage Requirements

The coverage requirements for dietitian liability insurance will first depend on whether your dietetic regulatory body or state licensing body requires a certain level of coverage. 

Professional liability insurance in Canada: check with your provincial regulatory college to determine the level of coverage you require. 

Professional liability insurance in the United States: you will need to have coverage for the state(s) where you practice. Assess the risk involved in your practice and work with an insurance broker to determine the best level of coverage for your type of practice. 

Some employers do provide malpractice insurance for dietitians but it is important to consult the policy yourself to ensure

  • It meets the coverage requirements of the dietetic regulatory body you are registered/licensed with
  • It covers your full scope of practice activities in your job
  • It covers you if you are individually named in a lawsuit, separate from your employer
  • You have separate liability insurance for any additional dietetic activities (side-hustles)

Types of Insurance

Dietitian Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance is the insurance that protects you while practicing as a dietitian in case someone makes a claim against you while working within your scope of practice.

General Commercial Insurance

This insurance is for business owners and covers your business if someone makes a claim about harm caused by your business. This could include things like someone hurting themselves while in your office or breaking something expensive in a rented or shared office space.  

Some types of general commercial insurance also cover allegations against your business such as copyright infringement, reputational harm, and harm caused by physical products. If you are working in a virtual practice, check with your insurance provider to see what is covered and whether general commercial insurance is right for you. 

Cyber Security and Privacy Liability Insurance

As many dietitians are moving to virtual care, cyber security may be worth considering for some practices. Cyber security and privacy liability insurance can help to cover legal and other expenses related to cyber security and privacy breaches, including legal expenses if someone sues you over a privacy breach. Check with your insurance provider to see what their cyber security and privacy liability insurance specifically covers. 

Other expenses such as legal and patient recovery expenses: 

Some insurance policies cover other liabilities and expenses that may occur in dietetic practice such as

  • Legal expenses from complaints filed against you to your state/provincial licensing body
  • Patient recovery expenses (such as mental health counseling)
  • Medical expenses for persons injured in your office or by your practice

Shopping Around For Insurance Coverage

Consequently, the main things to consider when shopping around for insurance coverage include:

  • The amount your insurance provider will pay for claims (called the “aggregate limit”)
  • The scope of your work and types of risk in your practice and whether these are covered by your insurance
  • If you run a business, whether certain areas of risk are covered (such as virtual vs. in-person practice risks)
  • Whether you are covered in all geographical locations that you practice
  • The cost of the plan

Dietitian Liability Insurance Company Examples

This list is not exhaustive. Be sure to check with the individual insurance company to ensure it meets your needs. DSC is not affiliated with any of these companies.

Contact the insurance companies directly for details, pricing, and coverage information. 

In Canada

In the United States

Key Takeaways

  • Dietitian professional liability insurance helps to protect you from mistakes, errors, and claims made against you while practicing dietetics. 
  • Some employers provide liability insurance for dietitians but it is important to check what level of coverage is provided and the details of the policy. 
  • If you own your own business, dietitian liability insurance is essential. 
  • When comparing insurance companies, consider how much coverage you need, how much risk is involved in your practice, and the plan’s cost. 

Dietitian Success Center is THE professional development resource for dietitians, dietetic students, and dietitian entrepreneurs. Our mission is to make it easier for dietitians and dietetic students to build expertise. We do this through evidence-based courses for dietitians, the community and ready-to-use client handouts. Plus – we give you the tools to start and grow your dietitian private practice!

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