Optometric Malpractice Insurance Applications Made Easy

April 12, 2021
Applying for malpractice insurance can be simple and easy if you are familiar with these twelve concepts prior to applying.
Male optometrist wearing white coat reviewing a laptop screen and taking notes in a journal.

When you are ready to apply for malpractice insurance coverage, the application process can take as few as five minutes to complete if you apply with a broker who specializes in malpractice insurance for doctors of optometry and are prepared with all of the necessary information prior to applying. Below are twelve common fields you may be asked to complete during the application process.

  • Primary Business Address – Location is a factor that contributes to malpractice insurance premiums. If you happen to work in more than one practice, you should input the address of the practice that is located in the largest county, as population is also a contributing factor in determining malpractice insurance premiums.
  • License Number – Only licensed ODs can receive malpractice insurance coverage, and you will need to know your license number when you apply for coverage. With AOAExcel’s endorsed malpractice insurance provider, Lockton Affinity, an OD can apply for malpractice insurance coverage immediately upon receiving their license number.
  • Additional License Number and Additional License State – If you are licensed to practice in more than one state and you would like your policy to cover you for both states, you can include an additional license number and license state. However, if you are licensed in more than one state but are only practicing in and seeking coverage for one state, you do not need to include your additional license number.
  • Average Number of Hours You Practice Per Week - This average should be comprised of all hours you work or anticipate working as an optometrist in a week, even if you practice in multiple practices throughout the week. If you are uncertain how many hours you will be practicing, default to the maximum number of hours you anticipate working. You can update this number with your malpractice insurance provider as needed.
  • Are you in your first or second year of practice? – Lockton Affinity offers discounts to ODs who are in their first or second year of practice to celebrate the launch of a new career. For many ODs, the first year of practice will begin directly after they’ve received their licenses and begin working within a practice. For ODs who choose to complete a residency, the first year of practice designation is determined a bit differently.

    If you choose to do a residency and your program does not require you to obtain your own malpractice insurance coverage, you will be considered to be in your first year of practice when you take your first job following the completion of your residency.

    If your residency does require you to obtain your own malpractice insurance coverage, your residency will be considered your first year of practice, potentially qualifying you for a discount with Lockton Affinity’s malpractice insurance program.

  • Date You First Began Practicing Optometry – Just like the question of whether you are in your first or second year of practice, this question will depend on whether you’ve chosen to do a residency, and whether your residency program requires you to obtain your own malpractice insurance. If you are currently participating in a residency program that requires you to obtain your own malpractice insurance, or if you participated in one in the past, the date you will select as the date you first began practicing optometry will be the date you began your residency. Otherwise, the date you first began practicing optometry will be the date you began your first job as an optometrist. If you have not yet started practicing as an optometrist, you can input the date you anticipate starting your first position. In most cases, you will not need to obtain malpractice insurance until you have secured a position.
  • Additional Optometrist Information – Some malpractice insurance providers, including Lockton Affinity, offer discounts for ODs who practice together in a group policy. If you decide to apply for a group policy, all ODs will need to submit their information for the application.
  • Date You’d Like Coverage to Begin – With some malpractice providers, it is possible to receive malpractice coverage as soon as 24 hours following the submission of an application for coverage. This means that if a new employer asks you to begin practicing sooner than you may have expected, you can request that your coverage begin as early as one day after submitting your application, and you can begin practicing right away with the peace of mind that you are protected.
  • Applicant Type – This section will ask you to choose from these five options:

    • Individual – You are a licensed optometrist and are only purchasing coverage for yourself. If you are just starting your career, you will most likely select this option.
    • Corporation – You have set up a corporation for your optometry practice or practices and are a majority owner.
    • Limited Liability Company – You have formed an LLC for your optometric practice or practices and are a majority owner.
    • Partnership – You are involved in a partnership for an optometry practice
    • Sole Proprietor – You are a licensed optometrist and are purchasing coverage for yourself as well as for your practice as a business entity. You are not part of a corporation, LLC, or partnership.
  • Requested Limits of Liability – When selecting limits for a malpractice insurance quote, you will likely see the limits depicted as options such as $1,000,000/$3,000,000 or $2,000,000/$4,000,000These numbers refer to the per occurrence limits (the first number depicted in each example) and the aggregate limits (the second number depicted in each example). If you were to select $1,000,000/$3,000,000, for example, this would mean that there would be up to $1,000,000 in malpractice insurance coverage available for each individual claim, and there would be up to $3,000,000 of malpractice insurance coverage available across all claims filed during the policy period. Some states have specific requirements regarding malpractice insurance limits, so it is imperative to review your state’s guidelines when selecting your limits.
  • Business Entity – You should only select this option if you have majority ownership in the company you are listing. This type of insurance coverage covers a practice name, should it ever be involved in a lawsuit, but does not include building or contents coverage.
  • General Liability Coverage – General Liability is additional coverage that you can add to your policy which protects you or your practice 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 are a practice owner and have a Business Owner’s Policy, this coverage may be included in that policy. Please note that there is an additional premium to add this coverage to your malpractice insurance policy.

AOA members can receive a malpractice insurance quick quote in less than thirty seconds from AOAExcel’s endorsed malpractice insurance provider, Lockton Affinity. Contact Lockton Affinity at info@AOAInsuranceAlliance.com or 888-343-1998 with any questions.

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 AOAInsuranceAlliance.com or contact Lockton Affinity at Info@AOAInsuranceAlliance.com.

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