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Do personal trainers need liability insurance?

Working with a personal trainer can change a person’s life for the better. As a fitness professional, you can give your clients great physical results through rigorous training sessions, careful programming, and the instillment of lifelong positive habits.

However, as a member of the fitness industry, you are also susceptible to lawsuits from clients or employees who believe the injury, illness, or financial damage they received was due to your negligence as a trainer and business owner. Sometimes these accusations are well-founded, and sometimes they are not. Regardless, these lawsuits can be financially ruinous if you are not covered by liability insurance.

If you are a personal trainer looking to start, continue, or expand your business, consider the following points about personal trainer liability insurance. The more protected you are, the more you can train your clients with confidence!

What is liability insurance?

Liability insurance refers to any insurance policy that gives the insured party protection against claims of damage to people or property. Often, these claims are rooted in negligence, meaning that the injured party believes the insured party’s lack of reasonable care led to the damage the injured party received.

Liability insurance can be personal or professional. In a business, liability insurance can protect the business from both clients/customers and employees. Without liability insurance in place, business owners on the losing end of a lawsuit are left without any financial help beyond their own ability to pay.

You should note that liability insurance is not a catch-all and shouldn’t be considered as such. For instance, liability insurance will not cover you if the claimant proves that the harm done by your business was intentional.

Additionally, liability insurance pays out to a third party rather than to you, which makes it different from other types of insurance.

Is there more than one kind of liability insurance?

Yes. In fact, there are multiple liability insurance policies you should consider as you pursue better coverage. Let’s take a look at four important liability insurance policies.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance covers you should a client claim bodily injury or damage to their property while on your premises. For example, a client may sue you if they believe your lack of instruction led to their injury.

General liability coverage can include everything from legal fees to settlements, so it is recommended for most businesses, including personal training businesses.

Employer’s Liability

Usually bundled with worker’s compensation, employer’s liability covers additional damages that exceed workers' comp coverage limits. For example, an employee may choose to sue you for additional damages, as their medical bills exceed the limit workers’ comp will payout. If you have employer’s liability coverage in place, the insurer will payout to the third party, and your business will be kept financially intact.

Professional Liability

Also known as Errors and Omissions, this policy covers you if you make a negligent mistake that causes your client financial loss. This mistake could be an action you took or an action you failed to take but should have based on the standards set in your industry.

Remember that negligence lawsuits like these can be valid or invalid—either way, they are expensive. Professional liability insurance helps cover your legal defense and other costs, whether the claims are true or not.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

EPLI is a policy that protects you specifically from your employees, should they bring a lawsuit against you for engaging in illegal employment practices. Such cases may be made for discrimination, retaliation, emotional distress, harassment, and more. Like the other liability policies on this list, EPLI saves your personal training business from the sort of financial hardship an expensive legal battle can bring.

Why do personal trainers need special liability insurance?

Part of your job as a personal trainer is to push your clients to their physical limits to help them achieve the results they’re after. However, fitness training comes with a measure of risk. While you (and your employees, if you have them) may be well-skilled at programming, movement patterns, and understanding a client’s personal capacity for physical exertion, accidents can still happen. Your clients or your employees may get injured, and it is for this reason that investing in liability insurance is a good move.

Without liability insurance (and other important small business insurance policies) in place, you are vulnerable to expensive litigation that could financially ruin your business.

You may believe that you take every precaution in your facility and your work with clients. However, even the safest personal training businesses can still be the target of negligence claims. For example, a client may sue you if they:

  • Receive an injury from your prescribed fitness program
  • Receive an injury and believe you should have instructed them better
  • Receive a post-exercise injury that they claim is due to you overtraining them
  • Sustain an injury in a group fitness class such as aerobics that they claim occurred due to lack of attention and/or poor instruction

In addition, if you have employees, they could sue you for an illness or injury they believe arose while at work or because of work. Whether rightly or wrongly, you could be on the receiving end of a lawsuit from a client or employee. Therefore, considering adding various liability insurance policies to your business is a very wise idea.

What other personal trainer insurance coverage do I need?

Fitness instructors should be covered well beyond liability insurance. Whether you operate your business alone or with employees, in your own facility or renting from another, multiple policies may be a good fit for you. Let’s take a look at some options below.

  • Workers' Compensation: Workers’ comp is nearly always required the minute you hire your first employee. This policy pays for lost wages, medical bills, and other covered damages should your employees become injured or sick while on the job.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: Your personal auto policy won’t cover you for an incident that took place while using the car for business purposes—that’s where commercial auto insurance comes in. If you have a business vehicle or use your personal vehicle for business purposes, commercial auto insurance is a great idea.
  • Business Property Insurance: If you own the space where you train clients, consider business property insurance. This policy will provide financial assistance should you become the victim of property damage.
  • Business Interruption Insurance: As recent events showed, disruption can happen at any time. Should your business shut down temporarily, this policy will provide financial support to cover lost income, taxes, and payroll.
  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): A BOP conveniently bundles multiple policies, such as general liability, business property, and business interruption insurance.

How much does personal trainer insurance cost?

There is no single answer to that question. The exact cost of your personal trainer insurance is based on the aggregate of multiple factors such as:

  • Claims history
  • Business needs
  • Level of risk
  • Number of employees
  • Your location
  • The insurance company you work with

Think about your budget when selecting the best personal trainer insurance for you. The cheapest insurance plan may not be the best. You may encounter hidden exclusions to your policy or an extremely high deductible. Much the same, the most expensive choice does not automatically mean quality. However, there are opportunities to receive outstanding liability insurance coverage for a reasonable price.

For example, at Huckleberry we’ve successfully insured some fitness business owners for as little as $42 per month for general liability, $31 per month for workers’ comp, and $50 per month for a Business Owner’s Policy, which includes both general liability and business interruption insurance.

I don’t own my own personal training business. Do I still need liability insurance?

If you rent space in another’s facility, you may be required by law or their policy to show proof of insurance, including liability insurance, before you can train clients there. Even if they don’t require it, it is still a good idea to have, as you are still liable in the case of a lawsuit brought against you.

If I work at a gym that has liability insurance, do I need my own policy?

Possibly. Speak with the owner of the gym to see exactly what their policy does and does not cover. If you won’t be covered in the case of client injury, it is wise to pursue your own coverage.

None of my clients would ever sue me. Do I still need liability insurance?

You can still be sued even if you’ve built a dream roster of people who seem more like close friends than clients. Medical expenses can add up, and most people will want to seek retribution if they feel you’ve done something to cause their harm.

Even if you did nothing wrong, you never know when someone may decide to sue you for whatever reason. Putting liability insurance in place in your business allows you to develop your trainer-client relationships without the worry.

Achieve peace of mind in your personal training business with fitness insurance from Huckleberry

Heavy squats are hard. Getting personal training insurance should be easy. That’s why Huckleberry gives you the ability to get your personal trainer insurance policies online in minutes. Get your fast and free quote today.


Disclaimer

All content on this page is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any specific case, is not legal, tax or insurance advice and should not be relied upon. If you have any questions about the situation for your small business or the latest information in your state, you should contact an attorney for legal advice, an insurance agent or broker, and/or your state's labor or industry agency, board, commission or department. Please note that the information provided on this page may change at any time as a result of legislative action, court decisions or rules adopted or amended by any state or the federal government.

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