Why Fitness Instructors Should Consider General Liability Insurance
As a fitness instructor, you help clients develop a positive attitude toward exercise. But, before you can give people the resources they need to build a healthy lifestyle, you should be sure you have the tools you need to do your job – and that means considering investing in general liability insurance.
It’s in the best interest of group fitness instructors, yoga teachers, barre instructors, and others who work with clients to insure themselves against potential lawsuits in case something goes wrong. If a client injures themselves under your tutelage and incurs medical bills, you could be responsible for payment if you’re found liable. Similarly, if you damage equipment at a gym or fitness studio, general liability insurance can help protect you from expensive repair costs that could do serious damage to your business.
General liability insurance helps cover third-party claims resulting from bodily injury and property damage resulting from your instruction. If a student is injured in your class, insurance can help cover the costs for their resulting medical expenses and lost income. If one of your students drops or damages equipment and the gym sues you, fitness insurance can cover the cost of repairs. General liability insurance can also cover your legal defense fees in the event someone alleges that you are responsible for their injuries.
Many health clubs and fitness centers require contract employees to have insurance before they can teach. What's more, insurance shows clients that you're serious about your role as a fitness professional and have safety at the forefront of your mind.
As you research general liability policies, it's important to check with your place of employment to learn its requirements. If you're a self-employed fitness instructor who rents space from a gym, you're unlikely covered by the gym's insurance policy, and they may require you to buy a policy of your own. If you teach classes out of your home or a public place (a park, for example), you certainly can teach without insurance – but you run the risk of being responsible for all payments resulting from a lawsuit if a client is injured and you’re found liable.
Further, it's worth noting that fitness instructors who run classes out of their homes are typically not covered by homeowner's insurance, which generally does not include professional activities. Regardless of where you provide instruction, check with your insurance company to clarify any specific questions related to teaching students at a park, in public, at a gym, or in your home.
And on that note, never make assumptions about what is and isn't covered under a fitness instructor's insurance plan. If you're a Pilates instructor, and someone is injured the first time you decide to teach a yoga class, will your coverage apply? What happens if you normally teach classes at a gym, but a student gets hurt during a one-off personal training session at home? Asking many questions is better than not asking enough. Be sure you understand the coverage you have obtained.
While general liability insurance may protect you from the cost of accidental injuries and lawsuits, it should not prevent you from using safe training techniques and practices. Look for potential risks in your workplace and identify areas that may be dangerous. Your priority, first and foremost, should be to protect your clients.
Policies and coverage described above are underwritten by the insurers of ProSight Specialty Insurance Group, which include New York Marine and General Insurance Company, Gotham Insurance Company and Southwest Marine and General Insurance Company. The products and services described herein may not be available in all jurisdictions. Actual coverage is specified by the policies issued. ProSight, 412 Mt. Kemble Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960.