Five Things Every Doctor of Optometry Should Know About Malpractice Insurance

January 15, 2021
Ensure you and your practice are covered by familiarizing yourself with the answers to these five questions about malpractice insurance.

Whether you are a doctor of optometry with many years of experience or just beginning your professional career, it is essential to have the right malpractice insurance (also referred to as professional liability insurance) coverage. However, with so many available options, selecting coverage can be overwhelming. To help ensure you receive the right coverage and right limits, consider these key questions:

  • Why do I need Malpractice Insurance? Though malpractice insurance is required by law for practicing optometrists, ODs should view malpractice insurance as an asset to help them grow in their careers. By making sure your malpractice insurance policy covers your state’s full scope of practice, you can expand your career with the peace of mind that you are protected. When you have a robust policy as a safety net, you can confidently explore a broader range of the techniques and specialties that fall under your state’s scope of practice, allowing you to potentially treat a more diverse group of patients.

  • How are malpractice insurance premiums for optometrists determined? All insurance companies have different ways they determine policy premiums. Location is one major factor that is considered when malpractice insurance premiums are determined. Depending on the litigious history of each state and county, ODs will find variances in their premiums based on location alone.

  • What factors should ODs consider in determining their limits? Although participation in health and vision plans typically requires certain limits of liability, the limit of liability an OD chooses should also correspond to the size of their practice and scope of their professional endeavors, as well as the dollar amount they believe would cover a claim that could be made against them. An OD should consider the expense of defense costs, settlements and business interruption in their decision.

  • What is the difference between a claims-made policy and an occurrence policy?
    Malpractice insurance can be broken into two categories: claims-made and occurrence. Occurrence policies will cover an incident that occurs during the policy, even if a claim is filed after the policy expires. Claims-made policies provide coverage only if a claim is filed while the policy is in effect. An OD with a claims-made policy will need to consider purchasing tail coverage if they decide to change their current claims-made policy or purchase another claims-made policy. The tail coverage will provide extended coverage for either another year or more, depending how much tail coverage is purchased.

  • Why should premium not be the deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a new malpractice insurance policy? There are a number of malpractice insurance providers in the market, with policies of varying coverages. The purpose of malpractice insurance is to ensure you are protected as you practice as a doctor of optometry, and to best serve this purpose, a malpractice policy needs to cover your state’s full scope of coverage. While there are policies available that meet the minimum legal requirements and come with an attractive price tag, these policies may include exclusions that could prevent you from practicing to the full extent of your abilities or leave you without adequate protection. When comparing malpractice insurance policies, start by reviewing the extent of the coverage before moving on to compare premium prices.

Interested in learning more? Submit your policy for a complimentary review with AOAExcel’s endorsed malpractice insurance provider, Lockton Affinity, to help ensure you are adequately covered.

This content was provided by Lockton Affinity, AOAExcel's strategic partner. Available insurance products include professional liability, cyber liability, business owners' insurance, employment practices liability insurance, and much more. To learn more, visit or contact Lockton Affinity at

Related News

Why ODs Working for Multiple Employers Need a Portable Malpractice Policy

Whether you moonlight on the weekends or work full-time across multiple practices, working for more than one employer as a doctor of optometry can add flexibility and additional income to your career. However, if you rely solely on employer-provided malpractice insurance, you might be placing yourself at risk of a costly claim.

The Silent Policy: How One OD Discovered a Major Flaw in Their Malpractice Insurance Policy

Read the story of an OD left vulnerable by their insurance carrier and learn how you can protect yourself from unclear coverage

Why it's Risky for ODs to Only Compare Price of Malpractice Insurance

Getting a competitive rate is important, but only looking at price can be risky. Instead of only comparing cost, make sure you pay attention to the key aspects of your malpractice insurance policy that will protect you from costly claims and allow you to practice with peace of mind.