Optometrist Guide to Malpractice Insurance

After graduation, one of the many tasks you will be responsible for involves obtaining professional liability insurance. Malpractice insurance is required to practice optometry in the United States and will give you piece of mind as an OD.

Purpose of Malpractice Insurance:

  • Malpractice insurance is critical in giving ODs the confidence to practice while protecting themselves and their license.
  • It protects your personal assets.
  • It also allows for credentialing with medical and vision plans.
  • Lawsuits are timely and costly and repercussions can be debilitating. Malpractice insurance helps protect against damages awarded in a lawsuit.

Costs of Malpractice Insurance:

  • It generally costs less than most other medical professionals.
  • It usually ranges between $500-800 per year, depending on what state you are practicing in and what insurer you use.
  • Discounts may be available for new graduates depending on what carrier you use.

Key questions to ask yourself as you look for coverage:

  • Is the insurance carrier familiar with optometry and are they equipped and experienced to handle claims against optometrists?
  • Does the policy grow as your practice grows?
  • Does the policy cover you for all services under the scope of practice in your state?
  • Does the policy offer comprehensive coverage to protect your personal assets as well?
  • What limits should I obtain?
Limits are listed and generally available in two dollar amounts: $2,000,000/4,000,000 and $1,000,000/3,000,000. The first dollar amount represents the maximum amount the insurance carrier will pay per claim during the policy year, while the second figure represents the maximum amount the carrier will pay for all claims during the policy year. The higher the limits you can afford, the greater protection in regards to damages you have.

Where to get professional liability insurance?

There are many insurance carriers that offer professional liability insurance for ODs. Of the many available, there are two in particular that most of my colleagues have utilized.

  1. AOA Alliance with Lockton Affinity
  2. Optometric Protector Plan with Brown & Brown (Previously with Zurich North America)

Both provide great coverage and the highlights of each policy can be seen below. Click the name of the policy to get an in-depth listing of all policy features.

AOA Alliance with Lockton Affinity:

aoaexcel insurance

LocktonAffinityLogo

  • Provides coverage encompassing your state’s scope of practice
  • Underwritten by carriers rated A+
  • Up to $500 per day per claim is provided to replace income lost when your practice is suspended
  • Defense costs paid in addition to policy limits
  • Coverage for a substitute optometrist working in your practice in your absence is available at no additional charge
  • Provides an instant quote
  • New Graduate Discounts (50% first year of practice, 25% second year of practice)

Optometric Protector Plan with Brown & Brown:

logoOptometricProtectorPlan

  • Underwritten by carriers rated A++
  • Loss of earnings per day when contributing to defense
  • Fully Portable
  • New to practice credit and part time credit
  • Quote is obtained by filling out a form and then an agent in your state will contact you with a quote
My personal preference: I was quoted $470 with AOA v.s $628 with OPP. AOA did offer a 25% discount for being in my second year of practice while OPP did not. The overall ease of navigating the website, obtaining information, and receiving a quote was far superior with the AOA.

In Summary

Malpractice insurance is a necessity to not only practice optometry, but practice to your full scope comfortably and confidently. There are many insurance carriers available, the key is to do your due diligence in searching for a carrier that meets your needs and expectations.

 

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About Antonio Chirumbolo

Antonio Chirumbolo
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, is Associate Director of Marketing at CovalentCareers. Antonio's focus is in the world of digital publications and healthcare marketing, with special attention on content creation, management, and development.

2 comments

  1. Cynthia Musante

    I’ve been doing a comparison of AOA Alliance and OPP. They asked if I want general liability coverage, as quoted from the AOA Alliance site, “General Liability coverage protects you or your business from third party claims for bodily injury, associated medical costs and damage to someone else’s property.
    If you are required to carry this coverage, it will most likely indicate this in your lease or contract requirements. If you own your own business and have a Businessowner’s Policy, this coverage may be included in that policy.” I am a full-time associate and not a business owner. Is general liability coverage something I should consider?

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