Whether you’re an experienced trainer or yoga instructor with a full schedule of clients, or you’re just getting started, here’s what you need to know when it comes to protecting your business, and your financial resources.
Imagine this: your client just accused you of injuring his back during your personal training or yoga session from a few weeks ago.
You think back to that session, but you don’t remember anything abnormal, or the client indicating that he was in pain.
He threatens to bring a lawsuit against you and you’re worried about what this would do to your career or your business. What if he wins… you can’t afford a $100,000+ judgment. Come to think of it, how are you going to pay for the legal fees to defend your business?
Sweat beads start rolling down your forehead, and it’s not the result of the great workout you’re getting…
Now what do you do?
Suddenly you remember, you read a helpful article years ago about the importance of having the right insurance coverage in place to protect you and your business. You did the prudent thing and you secured the coverage you needed… before this claim ever occurred.
Crisis averted. You’re back to focusing on your clients and the full schedule you have because business is booming. And business will continue to boom because your financial resources won’t be depleted trying to protect your business and your reputation.
Having Professional Liability insurance for personal trainers, yoga instructors, coaches or fitness instructors can protect you against these types of claims.
Unfortunately, in today’s litigious society, it may not matter how good your relationships are with your clients or how vigilant you are about professionalism, teaching safety and proper technique.
Professional liability lawsuits involving bodily injury or allegations of sexual harassment can happen. Justified or not, just one claim of negligence can take significant time away from your practice and cost you thousands of dollars just to defend yourself.
As a personal trainer, why are you at risk?
According to the National Federation of Personal Trainers, personal trainers apply fundamental exercise science principles to design fitness programs that help meet health and fitness goals in public and private settings.
Personal trainers teach you how to reach your individual fitness goals and they’re responsible for using and promoting safe exercise programs. As a personal trainer or yoga instructor, you may be involved in any, or all, of the following activities:
- Screening of potential clients to determine if they can be physically trained
- Identifying any health risk factors
- Collecting information about medical history, chronic illnesses, biomechanical problems and current medications
- Performing fitness assessments to structure a training regimen
- Making dietary recommendations to meet fitness goals
- Structuring an exercise regimen according to a client’s fitness goals such as weight loss, lean muscle gain, endurance or muscular strength
- Providing instructions about specific resistance movements and the number of sets and repetitions a client should perform during an exercise session
Due to the physical nature of the work you do, as well as the instruction and guidance that you’re providing, the risk exists that a client may be, or claim to be, harmed or injured.
Some examples of claims that are commonly made include:
- Claims that the advice given was detrimental to the client’s health
- Claims that the physical regimen was too strenuous for the client, leading to an injury or health problem
- Claims that a product you sold to the client caused an injury or health problem
- Allegations that physical contact between you and the client constituted sexual abuse
- Claims that you damaged equipment at the facility where you provide training
Whether you own a small gym or health club, you’re employed by a gym or health club, or you’re a self-employed personal trainer, yoga instructor, coach or fitness instructor, you are at risk.
But not to worry… we can help you determine what type of insurance coverage makes the most sense to protect you, and your business.
Types of insurance policies you may need:
Commercial General Liability Insurance
Commercial General Liability insurance is coverage that can protect you from a variety of claims including bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and others that can arise from your business operations.
An example would be if you dropped a piece of equipment on your client’s foot. This type of injury is fairly straightforward, and could be covered by a Commercial General Liability policy.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional Liability insurance helps protect professional advice, and service, which provides individuals and companies protection from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit.
This type of policy focuses on an alleged failure to perform on the part of the policyholder (which would be you), a financial loss caused by the policyholder, or an error or omission in the service or product sold by the policyholder.
An example would be in the case of your client who hurt his back. You may have designed a weight-lifting program for him that resulted in a slipped disk in his back.
As a yoga instructor, you could have positioned him sphinx pose for too long.
The important point to remember here is that it’s not a matter of whether you actually did something wrong, a client that believes you did and makes that allegation is enough to start the pile-up of legal fees.
You could be charged with giving inappropriate advice to the client based on his medical history, age or physical condition. These types of claims are potential causes for legal action that would not be covered by a Commercial General Liability insurance policy.
Cyber & Data Breach Liability Insurance
You may not have millions of records like Sony, Target or Home Depot, but did you know that the average cost per breached record is over $200? And it doesn’t take much information to constitute a breached record.
If you have any personal information about your clients, whether you keep a hard-copy file, or you store the information electronically, you have a breach exposure.
Personal information could be a date of birth, health information, social security number, credit card number… any of this information that’s breached, lost, stolen, etc. triggers legal requirements on your part to notify your clients, offer credit monitoring services, and opens you up to a huge legal nightmare.
Cyber Liability & Data Breach Insurance not only helps you cover the fines & penalties, but can also cover damages to your network system and any loss of income you experience as result of the breach.
Protection for your business
If you're a small business owner, at a minimum, you should consider a Commercial General Liability insurance policy, Professional Liability policy and a Cyber & Data Breach Liability policy.
The General Liability policy will protect you against any type of trip-and-fall incidents that occur on your property. The Professional Liability policy will protect you against any claims for services provided. The Cyber & Data Breach Liability policy will protect you in the event any client information is breached.
These three policies are important for protecting you against any financial losses, as well as damages to your business’ reputation.
Protection for YOU
If you’re employed by a gym or health club, or if you’re a self-employed personal trainer/yoga instructor, you definitely need a Professional Liability policy.
Many personal trainers/yoga instructors employed by a gym or health club don’t realize that the Professional Liability coverage provided by their employer does not provide enough protection for them personally.
If you’re defending yourself against a liability claim, whether you’re employed, self-employed, full-time or part-time, having a Professional Liability policy will help protect you against any financial loss.
In addition to Professional Liability, be sure to consider whether you will have any personal information on your clients. If so, Cyber & Data Breach Liability coverage would be necessary.
We can help
As an athletic trainer, yoga instructor, coach or fitness instructor, you need insurance protection. Due to the fact that you’re providing your clients with professional guidance and you’re pushing them to their physical limits, you are at risk.
It’s your job to help your clients meet their health and fitness goals. It’s our job to make sure you have the protection you need if one of your clients alleges you failed to do your job.