Guide to insurance for fitness professionals
Insurance can be a tricky topic to get your head around - that's why we've created this short guide which outlines some of the main risks faced by fitness professionals, together with the essential role played by various insurance covers.
As most fitness professionals, such as personal trainers, exercise class instructors and sports coaches, work for themselves - and by themselves - you could be forgiven for thinking that insurance is a luxury you can do without. However, there are many risks that fitness professionals need to be aware of; clients tripping over while under your instruction, dissatisfied ex-clients suing you for a lack of progress or a chronic injury that they blame on your training techniques can all be expensive and potentially disastrous for your business.
Public liability insurance for fitness professionals
As you probably know, public liability insurance is considered essential cover for every fitness professional. It covers the legal costs and expenses to defend you against allegations of injury to your clients (and other third parties) as well as allegations of property damage.
Public liability insurance gives you the peace of mind of knowing that if one of your clients trips over while on a training run with you, slips at your premises, or even injures themselves at the gym while under your supervision, you will be protected in the event that they hold you personally responsible and make a claim against you.
While a sprained ankle or pulled muscle may seem like a minor injury, they can lead to more extensive soft tissue injuries and – by the time legal costs are factored in – it can often cost thousands of pounds to settle a claim.
Professional indemnity insurance for fitness professionals
Professional indemnity insurance is another essential cover for fitness professionals. Whilst public liability insurance will provide cover for trips and slips, it does not cover claims which arise from an allegation that you may have provided poor advice or inadequate services to your client. This is where professional indemnity insurance comes in, as it covers the legal costs and expenses involved with defending a claim, as well as any compensation payments.
However highly trained and careful you are, the fact is that not every one of your clients will achieve their goals. Some clients will walk away without making a fuss and accept that ultimately it was down to them to achieve their goals.
However, other clients may feel that you should have provided a better service and take legal action against you to recoup their losses. This could be, for example, if you guaranteed they would lose a certain amount of weight within a certain time period.
Yet whatever the reasons behind a claim, they can be very expensive to defend, which makes professional indemnity insurance an essential provision for every fitness professional.
Employer's liability insurance for fitness professionals
If, like most freelance or self-employed fitness professionals, you work absolutely alone, you don't need employer's liability insurance. However, even if you employ just one person – maybe an unpaid helper who wants to gain experience of the fitness industry - the law insists that you carry employer's liability insurance.
This guarantees that anyone you employ or work with is covered should they be injured or become ill in the course of their work; providing you with protection against claims for everything from an employee dropping weights on their foot to tripping over a cable at your premises.
Importantly, employer's liability insurance also provides you with cover against unexpected events, such as an assistant or colleague being assaulted by a client while they are working for your business.
Business equipment insurance for fitness professionals
While most fitness professionals work in gyms or at their clients' homes, it is always possible that you will rent a space, or even use a room in your own home to help you train clients. If this is the case, it is worth considering exactly how much you have spent on commonly used equipment such as exercise bikes and treadmills, as well as portable gadgets such as heart rate monitors.
Markel's business equipment insurance covers a wide range of scenarios, including theft, loss and accidental damage caused by floods and fires to name a few. In addition, cover can be provided for portable equipment taken outside of your premises – for example, to a gym or training track.
Directors and officers insurance for fitness professionals
Whether you work alone, or with a few colleagues, many established fitness professionals move into being a limited company under the assumption that it provides greater protection. However, in the event of an allegation of mismanagement in the running of the company, it is worth knowing that being a director does not leave you untouchable, as it is increasingly common for claims and other forms of legal action to be brought against individual directors and officers rather than the company they work for.
These claims can be brought by any number of parties, from regulatory bodies and government organisations (such as the HM Revenue and Customs) to investors who may be unhappy about the return that they've received.
The protection offered by directors and officers insurance can be invaluable to fitness professionals, particularly those with wealthy or famous investors, who tend to be more litigious than the ordinary man or woman in the street.
Choosing the right insurance
In this short guide, we have touched on some of the many insurance covers available to fitness professionals in the UK.
Markel offer specialist insurance for fitness professionals and fitness instructors from as little as £5 a month, with the option to spread the cost of your policy over 10 interest free instalments.
Get an online quote now or, if you'd like help arranging your insurance, call us free on 0800 640 6600 today.