Stay Prepared: When Young ODs Should Apply for Malpractice Insurance

February 1, 2021
The best time to apply for malpractice insurance depends on your personal circumstances.
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All practicing doctors of optometry are required to have malpractice insurance, but the best time to apply for a malpractice insurance policy is largely dependent on an OD’s personal circumstances.

Optometrists who are just starting their careers, for example, may decide to obtain malpractice insurance immediately after receiving their license to practice (applying for malpractice insurance requires a license number), or they may choose to wait until they’ve found a job to purchase malpractice insurance. With some malpractice insurance providers, including AOAExcel’s endorsed malpractice insurance provider, Lockton Affinity, it is possible to receive coverage within 24 hours of submitting an application, offering young ODs the flexibility to begin practicing almost immediately after securing employment. AOA members who are in their first or second year of practice are also eligible for discounts with AOAExcel’s endorsed malpractice insurance provider, Lockton Affinity.

For ODs who choose to do a residency, the best time to apply for malpractice insurance depends on their residency program. If an OD’s residency program does not require them to obtain their own malpractice insurance, they can wait until after they’ve completed residency and have secured a job working in a practice. At this point, they will be considered a first year OD and will be eligible for Lockton Affinity’s first year discount. If an OD’s residency program does require them to obtain their own malpractice insurance, they will need to apply for coverage according to the program’s guidelines. In this scenario, the residency will be considered the OD’s first year of practice, and they will be eligible to receive Lockton Affinity’s first year discount when purchasing the malpractice insurance required by their residency program.

Optometrists who have already purchased malpractice insurance and are looking for a change in policy or provider will likely choose to start shopping for a new policy close to their current policy’s expiration date. It is important for ODs to give themselves enough time to review their current policy and obtain quotes from other providers prior to their current policy’s expiration date. AOA members can take advantage of AOAExcel’s ‘Remind Me Later’ tool to schedule a reminder to review their malpractice insurance policies prior to the dates of expiration.

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

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