Words, terms and phrases to know before you buy
Insurance comes with its own language and it can be confusing; making the process of buying insurance feel overly burdensome. We want to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident in purchasing insurance as a practicing optometrist, and have outlined the most common terms you may come across.
- Malpractice Liability/ Insurance vs Professional Liability Insurance – are these the same thing?
- Malpractice insurance IS professional liability insurance, but specifically for the medical field. Other industries carry professional liability insurance, such as accountants to cover a financial loss, but not bodily injury – which malpractice insurance does cover. You are required by most state laws to have malpractice insurance as a practicing optometrist. Look for a policy that includes full scope of practice coverage and that automatically updates as changes are made in your state’s regulations – the peace of mind is priceless.
- What is Claims-Made and why is it different from Occurrence?
- Claims-Made is a policy that only covers claims made during the policy period (the effective dates). “Tail coverage” is a provision within a claims-made policy that allows you to report a claim that was made against you after a policy has expired or been canceled, if the incident took place during the time the policy was active. Occurrence policies protect you from a covered incident, even if a claim is made after the policy is no longer in effect. Policies differ, and the type you purchase can have a huge impact on your career, so be sure and review the language of your policy for coverage on claims made and/or exclusions related to liability.
- Do I need General Liability or Professional Liability?
- General liability covers risks associated with your business, such as your clients and others who come into contact with your business and/or employees. General Liability usually includes bodily injury and property damage –like a client falling in the office. Professional liability covers your services and actions as a professional, such as an exam or diagnosis. Bundling these together makes sense both from a coverage and cost perspective.
- Am I personally liable for a claim against me?
- Consulting an attorney is key here – forming an LLC or other legal entity can add an additional layer of protection. While insurance is required by the state you practice in, your personal assets can be at risk without the right coverage and legal protections.
- What are the benefits of a Businesses Owners Policy and how does it differ from General liability insurance or Property Insurance?
- A Business Owners Policy (BOP) is protection for your actual business – it covers your office and its contents from a variety of incidents – from theft or fire damage to infestations. It’s ideal for small-to-medium sized businesses and provides compensation for the impacts of damages specifically listed in the policy. A general liability policy protects you from risks associated with your business and usually includes bodily injury and property damage. It’s important to note that a General Liability policy and a Business Owners Policy are NOT the same thing. A Business Owners Policy (BOP) is a package policy that combines Property Insurance and general liability, offering unique coverage that a small and medium sized business would find beneficial. Property coverage will protect the physical contents of the business, such as furniture that may be damaged or stolen, as well as the building (if owned).
- What is Cyber coverage and do I need it?
- Cyber crime is a real threat to all types of businesses, but medical professionals have a higher level of risk due to the personal nature of the types of records they are required to maintain. Cyber crime coverage protects your practice in the case of a first-party (an employee) or third-party (an outsider/unknown entity) incident, including data breach or hack into your digital records.
The aftermath of a cyber crime can be cumbersome and costly, and you are on the hook for following processes and procedures (or possible fines) – but cyber crime coverage can help protect your business.
In general, it’s always a best practice to protect yourself against the unknown with the proper insurance. Being informed is the best approach – don’t let a misunderstanding get in the way of your options; call one of the AOA Insurance Alliance, administered by Lockton Affinity at 888.343.1998 or email us at info@aoainsurancealliance. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and make sure you get the coverage you need for the right time in your career.
Coverage may not be available in all states and is subject to actual policy terms and conditions. Coverage is provided by an excess/surplus lines insurer which is not licensed by or subject to the supervision of the insurance department of your state of residence. Policy coverage forms and rates are not subject to regulation by the insurance department of your state of residence. Excess/surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and therefore insureds are not protected by such funds in the event of the insurer’s insolvency.