The workshop

Finding the right insurance policy

William King, commercial development manager at Lloyd & Whyte, explains the importance of securing a bespoke insurance policy for your independent practice

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Getty/Feodora Chiosea

The scenario

Laura, practice owner

“I’m a new business owner, currently getting my paperwork in place before I open the doors to my first High Street practice. I’m a little confused about what type of insurance I need. Some people have said I need specialist insurance designed specifically for the healthcare sector, whilst others have suggested retail. Could you advise on a solution?”

The advice

William King – commercial development manager with AOP insurance affinity partner, Lloyd & Whyte

Setting up your own High Street practice is exciting, but it can also be fraught with concerns over ensuring the most appropriate cover is in place for you, your staff, and your patients.

Whilst it may seem simpler just to go online and get an ‘off-the-shelf’ retail policy, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to gaps in cover or being underinsured. Sometimes the quick and easy solution is not always the right one.

That is why speaking to health sector insurance experts, like us, will pay dividends and ensure that you have the optimum cover to meet your needs.

How do you know what type of insurance you need?

Online providers will ask you which elements of cover you wish to include e.g. public liability, employers’ liability, contents, etc. You may not realise the importance of each aspect of cover and omitting one could leave you exposed. A bespoke, tailor-made policy for healthcare professionals approved by the AOP can help ensure you make an informed decision.

Sometimes the quick and easy solution is not always the right one


For example, I had a client that didn’t have legal expenses cover, as they thought employers’ liability would cover them for any potential employee disputes or unfair dismissal claims. It was only when making a claim they realised they needed legal expenses cover for these incidents to be insured, and therefore were left without cover.

Advice on sums insured and risk management

Underinsurance is a key aspect to avoid. Often there is confusion around the market value for items rather than the new value, as well as not knowing how much a ‘normal’ optician practice cover would be. Whilst we can’t specifically tell you what the sums insured will be, we can have conversations to help establish this.

Retail vs healthcare policies

Sometimes a ‘shop’ policy has been designed for retail units rather than specifically for an optical practice. Whilst there are 100s of variations of policies, it is impossible to compare them all. Examples of key differences to look out for can be:

  • Limits to glass cover - some policies will not be sufficient to cover the shop front of an optometrist
  • Equipment breakdown - opticians and optometrists rely on certain specialist equipment, so if one key piece of equipment fails and causes the practice to close or operate at a reduced capacity, this may not be covered.

With tonometres costing £3000- £10,000 and keratometers priced at a minimum of £2000, for example, protecting such valuable assets makes sense. Mobile pieces like ophthalmoscopes can set you back anywhere from £500 to £1000 and need to be covered if taken away from the premises.

Dedicated experienced claims team

Not only do you get specific, helpful advice when setting up the policy through a specialist, but at the point of claiming our in-house claims team have brilliant experience when helping to calculate potential loss of earnings following a fire at the practice, for example. Our aim is to make the whole claims process as hassle free as possible.

Advice on additional applicable policies

Only relying on a traditional ‘business’ policy may leave you exposed in areas you may not consider, such as cyber insurance, directors and officer insurance, and entity insurance. A qualified, specialist insurance adviser like Lloyd & Whyte can help explain these policies and how they would apply to your situation.

Only relying on a traditional ‘business’ policy may leave you exposed in areas you may not consider, such as cyber insurance, directors and officer insurance, and entity insurance


We offer complimentary commercial insurance reviews to AOP members. We review your policies, identify any gaps, and make practical recommendations to better protect your business. Contact us to benefit from specialist financial advice including pension advice and retirement planning plus exclusive rates on essential home, travel, and practice insurance.

Lloyd & Whyte (Financial Services) Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Lloyd & Whyte Ltd is registered in England No. 03686765. Lloyd & Whyte (Financial Services) Ltd is registered in England No. 02092560. Registered Office: Affinity House, Bindon Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 6AA.