Documents like your malpractice insurance policy are legal contracts and must be worded and formatted a certain way. It’s one reason your malpractice policy can be difficult to follow.

Still, it’s important to know how to read your policy documents so you can ensure all your malpractice needs are covered and get answers if you have questions. Here are 3 tips for how to read your policy documents:

Understanding Your Optometric Malpractice Policy

1. Check Your Policy as Soon as You Receive It

Your policy document is the key to managing your professional liability risk, so it’s important your coverage is accurate and completely documented. Here are two main items to check right away:

  • Check the names and details for qualified insureds on the Policy Declarations page. Make sure names are spelled correctly and that the entity type for your corporation or group is correct. Note any difference in the breadth of coverage extended to different insureds.
  • Check that all forms and endorsements are included and that the coverage endorsements discussed in your quote are included in your policy documentation. Also make sure you’re not missing any pages and that the edition dates all match.

A mistake here could leave you without enough coverage, so if something’s not correct or complete, contact your representative.

2. Read Through Your Policy the Right Way

There’s a method to reading your policy that will make understanding and interpreting your coverage easier. Follow these five steps to better understand of your malpractice policy:

  • Annotate the policy document. It may be helpful to highlight key coverage, exclusions or definitions on your policy documents. Mark any areas of concern or confusion to address.
  • Read the insurance agreement. The policy agreement and its endorsements represent the broadest area of coverage. As an AOA member & Lockton policyholder, your policy will automatically cover your state’s scope of practice. This may not be the case with all insurers. Double-check that any expansion in scope of practice is covered.
  • Check exclusions. Familiarize yourself with the exclusions page. Think critically of your practice’s functions and ensure they are not excluded from coverage.
  • Note exceptions to the exclusions. Occasionally, there are exceptions to an exclusion, which may be outlined in its own section.
  • Check references to other sections. Details such as definitions, conditions or provisions affecting specific coverages may be explained elsewhere in the document. Flip to any section referred to immediately to fully understand the breadth of coverage.

3. Know Your Policy’s Terms and Conditions

The coverage granted by your malpractice policy is subject to its own specific terms and conditions. The wording and phrasing of your malpractice policy matters, so pay attention. Here are 4 tips:

  • Note the definitions. The way your policy defines specific terms, such as “occurrence” or “damages” will be different than a dictionary. Understand that how these terms are defined will affect your coverage protection.
  • Pay attention to the keywords. Simple everyday words like “all”, “any”, “except”, “must”, etc. can carry a lot of weight in an insurance policy. These minor words can alter coverage or limits.
  • Meet the policy conditions. Sometimes, actions must occur before a loss for coverage to apply. In other cases, action must be taken after the loss to ensure coverage.


Understanding Your Optometric Malpractice Policy from Lockton Affinity

Understanding your malpractice policy is much easier when you follow these tips. If you still have questions, Lockton Affinity is here to help. Our friendly and helpful associates can answer any of your questions. Contact us at