Optometrists aren't just responsible for checking off on your subscription for your glasses. They examine and treat their patients for eye injuries. They can even diagnose things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases. Just like anyone else in the medical profession, optometrists face the risk of being sued in their line of work—which is why optometrist professional liability insurance is so important.
Professional Liability Insurance/Malpractice Insurance
Some doctors believe that if they are conscientious, thorough, and careful they can avoid malpractice lawsuits. But that is, unfortunately, not the case at all, and that belief has gotten more than one doctor into financial hot water.
Even malpractice suits that have no merit can cost an optometrist legal fees to defend against the malpractice claim. But the truth is that anyone can make a mistake. If you make a mistake that harms a patient—even if it was an accident—you can be sued for the injury.
Even if you weren't directly involved, most lawyers will name everyone associated with the patient's care, and even if you did everything right, you could still end up in court. If you have professional liability insurance (often used interchangeably with malpractice insurance) it will pay your legal fees for any malpractice suits as well as any judgment against you, should you be found responsible.
Of course, there are other coverages you will need to protect your livelihood, office, and staff. What are they?
Consider a Business Owners' Policy
You want to look into getting a business owners' policy (BOP). A BOP is a package that usually includes commercial general liability, commercial property, business interruption insurance, as well as other endorsements and insurance optometrists may need. So what does coverage include?
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance will protect you from damage to your property, expensive equipment, and signage if you are the victim of theft, fire, or other disasters that may damage your office, office equipment, computer, and the personal property of your employees or anyone else who lost personal property as a result of the event.
Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance (also referred to as business income coverage) protects you after any sort of disaster which causes you to close or to have to temporarily rent a place to do business until repairs or replacement of your office is complete. It can cover lost profits, taxes, payroll, and other operating expenses until you're able to open your office again.
Other Insurance Policies Optometrists Need
Other than malpractice insurance and a business owners' policy, there are a few other types of coverage an optometrist should consider.
Cyber Liability Insurance
Anyone in a medical profession likely stores patient information: name, address, insurance information, billing information, and more. This makes them frequent targets for phishing scams or cyberattacks. If your patient's information is compromised, it can be damaging to your practice. But if you have cyber liability coverage, the insurance company can help notify impacted patients, pay for credit monitoring, and even pay ransom demands if necessary. Your job isn't just to help make sure your patient's eyes are healthy but to protect their information as well.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Most optometrists hire assistants and other staff to maintain the office. Once you make your first hire, you need to invest in workers' compensation insurance. This protects your employees if they're injured at work. The insurance policy can help pay for their medical bills and lost wages until they're able to return to work.
General Liability Insurance
Commercial general liability will protect you if anyone gets hurt in your office. It will pay defense costs and damages as well as paying medical costs for the injured party. Most general liability policies also cover damage to a patient's property and advertising injuries.
Employment Practices Liability
Employment practices liability insurance will cover you if an employee (or former employee) files a lawsuit against you, claiming something that could include discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, or whistleblower retaliation. Even if it is simply an unfounded accusation, it can cost you thousands of dollars to clear your name.
How Much Does Optometrist Professional Liability Insurance Cost?
The average cost of malpractice insurance for optometrists is $500- $700 annually, depending on what state you practice in. The cost is more affordable than many other medical practices or healthcare professionals would pay for professional liability coverage. Of course, the final cost depends on the needs of your practice, how many employees you have, the types of insurance and amount of coverage you choose, your chosen policy limits, and more.
Get a Free Quote for Professional Liability Insurance
Malpractice claims can be costly and even one unfounded accusation can bankrupt a practice. Let us help connect you with an insurance agent who can get you multiple quotes from different insurance companies. They can help you find the best fit for your business—and avoid costly claims. To get more information, complete the form at the top of the page or call us at 877-907-5267.