Protect Your Practice and Protect Yourself

Protect Your Practice And Protect Yourself

Kelly Kerksick, O.D.

QUESTION: I'm starting my fourth year of optometry school and trying to get an idea of how much I'll have to pay for malpractice insurance. Can you suggest how much insurance I might need and where to look for it?

Answer: Malpractice insurance costs vary from state to state and sometimes even from one metropolitan area to another. I would encourage you to investigate the different types of coverage available in the specific area where you'll be practicing.

If you'll be joining a private practice, your employer may pay for your malpractice insurance. This should be specified in your contract. If you'll be working in a commercial setting, you'll likely be required to obtain and pay for your own coverage.

Before shopping for malpractice insurance, you should become familiar with some of the jargon. For example, a typical malpractice policy may read as a $1 million/$3 million policy. This means the insuror will pay up to $1 million per incident to a maximum of $3 million of total, aggregate claims.

Take a close look at any insurance plans you'll be accepting to determine their malpractice requirements. Most plans require the standard $1 million/$3 million coverage; however, some require a $2 million/$4 million policy. Don't assume the $1 million/$3 million policy is enough. Certain circumstances may require more coverage.

A 2002 graduate of Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Kerksick is in private practice. You can contact her at