Now that you’ve set up your practice, bought all of your equipment, and hired the best people to help you launch your business, don’t overlook the importance of malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance, otherwise known as professional liability insurance, will protect you and your license if a client sues you. Where can you get malpractice insurance? What companies offer the best rates? We’ve done the research for you and these are the top five companies for malpractice insurance for optometrists.
- Top 5 Providers of Optometry Malpractice Insurance
- What Factors Affect How Much You’ll Pay for Malpractice Insurance?
- What’s the Difference Between Claims-Made and Occurrence Policies?
- Why are Optometrists Sued?
Top 5 Providers of Optometry Malpractice Insurance
We have shopped around with 10 different companies and here are the top 5 companies that we recommend for optometry malpractice insurance.
- MedPro Group: Good win rate if you get sued
- Berxi: Strong parent company and you can pay in installments
- HPSO: Cover legal expenses in addition to liability limit
- Lockton Affinity: Endorsed by American Optometrists Association
- Proliability: The best and fastest shopping experience
MedPro Group: Good win rate if you get sued
MedPro Group offers both occurrence and claims-made insurance policies. They win 95% of the healthcare trials they represent, and they will never settle a case without your permission. The only thing is, they don’t have online quoting—you have to fill out a form and they’ll get back to you in day or so. Another drawback is that they are not available in Louisiana, Vermont, or Maryland.
Berxi: Strong parent company and you can pay in installments
As a Berkshire Hathaway company (think Warren Buffet) you certainly can’t get better financial strength than Berxi—they earn an A+ from A.M. Best. Also, the online quote process is both easy and fast. Coverage can start the same day. You can choose from a number of different coverage options, and you can pay in installments. This quote is for a claims-made policy.
HPSO: Cover legal expenses in addition to liability limit
HPSO stands for Healthcare Providers Service Organization. You can get either professional liability insurance or general liability insurance through them, or both. They pay legal expenses in addition to your liability limit, and they offer both claims-made and occurrence policies. The most common policy is $1 million per claim and a $3 million aggregate, but you can choose higher limits if you need them. If you’re an optometrist, you’ll fill out a form and they’ll get back to you with a quote (other health care professionals can get immediate quotes).
Lockton Affinity: Endorsed by American Optometrists Association
Lockton Affinity is the only insurance company officially endorsed by the AOA (American Optometrists Association). If you’re a recent graduate or have been practicing for less than two years, you get a discount, up to 50% off. Getting a quote online is easy, but since you have to provide your AOA number, we were unable to get a quote. They also offer cyber liability insurance and business owner’s insurance.
Proliability: The best and fastest shopping experience
If you dread the whole insurance shopping experience and just want to get it done as quickly as possible, Proliability is an excellent choice. You can get a quote, confirm your policy, and be on your way in less than ten minutes. They also have excellent customer service reviews. $1 million per claim and a $3 million aggregate are the most common, but higher limits are available.
What Factors Affect How Much You’ll Pay for Malpractice Insurance?
Quotes can differ by several hundred dollars depending on things like:
- What state your practice is in
- How long you’ve been in business
- Coverage levels
- Claim history
The state you practice is has a big effect on rates. Some states have tort laws that cap the amount clients can sue for, and these states have less expensive malpractice insurance rates. Also, some states have fewer malpractice claims, and this can also lower rates.
What’s the Difference Between Claims-Made and Occurrence Policies?
Claims-made policies are less expensive, but also slightly more limited. A claims-made policy covers you only while the policy is in effect—once your policy expires, you no longer have insurance.
Occurrence policies cover more because they provide coverage for anything that happens while the policy is active.
Let’s look at an example. Susan is an optometrist in Colorado. She has malpractice insurance from March 2018 to March 2019. A patient named Mary saw Sue in June of 2018. Later, Sue is diagnosed with an eye disease and says Susan should have caught it. She files a lawsuit in May of 2019. If Susan had claims-made insurance, she would not be covered in this scenario because the policy had expired by the time Mary filed her lawsuit. If she had an occurrence policy, she would be covered, because the policy was in force when the incident occurred.
Occurrence policies are more expensive but are probably worth it. Many patients think things over before filing a claim, filing many months or even years after they saw the optometrist.
You could also get tail coverage, which is kind of like a rider for malpractice insurance. This will protect you for claims that are filed after the policy was canceled, if the original incident took place while you had insurance.
Why are Optometrists Sued?
Some of the most common reasons optometrists are sued, according to Modern Optometry:
- Not performing a dilated exam
- Poorly explaining blurred vision
- Not obtaining informed consent
- Failure to diagnose a disease
- Failure to adequately treat a disease
The most common reason is failing to diagnose a disease that resulted in vision loss. And of course, you don’t have to have done anything wrong for a lawsuit to be filed. Even the lawsuit is dismissed later, it still results in extra time, money and stress. If you have malpractice insurance, at least you know you’re covered.
Now that you’ve graduated from school and earned your license, take a few more minutes to protect yourself from lawsuits. Getting malpractice insurance is pretty easy and can take as little as ten minutes. Be sure to shop around and compare policy limits so that you get the best policy for you and your practice.