As a personal trainer, assisting and instructing your clients to achieve their fitness goals puts them under your care and watch during your sessions, which makes personal trainer insurance an important consideration.
No matter how good and careful you can be, accidents, miscommunication, and other negative variables can happen and this could lead to legal charges.
Whether you are employed at a gym or working independently, you must protect yourself by taking measures to reduce these risks and damages.
One way to protect yourself against potential legal issues, losses, and damages is to get yourself a personal trainer insurance that is specially tailored for you and your business.
There are insurance policies made for fitness professionals like you that can give you a sense of security and peace of mind. In fact, some states require proof of insurance for a personal trainer to get their license to practice. The proof of insurance requirement for each state will vary so make sure to check your local state law.
Why personal trainer insurance is important
Now when you are just starting out your career as a personal trainer, you may think that you can let personal trainer insurance coverage slide and make way for more immediate costs such as equipment.
Picture this scenario – a client sues a personal trainer after getting sick because of a supplement that you recommended. The court awarded in the client’s favor and granted her $3.5 million.
Here is another scenario – a client sues a personal trainer after getting a stroke because the trainer pushed him too hard. Even if the jury found that the client is partly to blame, they still awarded the client $700,000.
Now ask yourself – if you encounter a lawsuit, will you be able to afford it? A lawsuit can cost you a huge amount of money whether the court grants the case in your favor or not.
And what about damages to your property? What if a fire happened in the neighborhood and your studio is affected? Or thieves broke in and stole your equipment? Will you be able to recover financially from the loss?
Having a personal trainer insurance is like a safety blanket to help you financially in case something goes wrong. A personal trainer insurance such as a professional liability policy can cover costs in court including your lawyer’s fees and settlements.
You may think you do not need professional liability coverage right now but fitness injuries and accidents can happen any time and you have to be ready for it.
If you think you do not have the budget for it, you do not have to worry since personal trainer insurance comes in different packages. You will surely be able to find one that could fit your financial situation.
What insurance do personal trainers need?
There is a wide variety of personal trainer insurance policies. Take note that every fitness business is different and coverage is personalized.
Some personal trainers get by with just professional liability insurance while others would need more coverage than what a professional liability policy can do.
If you do not know which type of personal trainer insurance to get, you can consult a lawyer to decide which ones would best protect your interests and give you adequate coverage for your specific needs.
Here, we gather the most common personal trainer insurance types that you will find:
Professional liability insurance
This type of insurance is also known as malpractice insurance. The personal trainer liability insurance can help you financially when you find yourself in a lawsuit because of professional negligence.
Professional negligence means that you have failed to execute your duties as a personal trainer properly. Situations under this category include when your client sustains an injury during a workout session that you prescribed or the client suffers from an illness because of a dietary recommendation or supplement that you recommended.
A professional liability coverage can help you cover attorney fees, hospital stays, medical bills, bodily injury, and other damages – but the coverage will depend on what type of policy you choose.
A professional liability insurance policy is heavily recommended for all personal trainers – especially for those who are working independently.
General liability insurance
Another personal trainer liability insurance that you should consider is commercial general liability insurance coverage.
The general liability coverage tackles client injury, health problems, property damage, and accidents that are caused by the condition of your workplace or equipment.
Incidents that call for general liability insurance for personal trainers may involve moldy bathrooms, malfunctioning gym equipment, or slippery floors. In situations like these, a general personal trainer liability insurance policy can help you pay the injured party’s medical bills, the repair costs for the damage, or the legal costs if the injured client wants to sue.
Personal training is a physical job. You may not be doing the hard work all the time but you can also still be at risk of sustaining bodily injury.
A disability insurance will help you financially when you become hurt and unable to work. This will help you stay afloat and help you pay the regular bills while you are recuperating from the injury.
There are two different types of disability insurance available: short and long term. Short-term disability insurance can provide payments for 3 to 6 months while long-term disability insurance can pay for years, depending on the policy you choose.
Commercial property insurance
If you have your own studio or gym, you may want to consider getting commercial property insurance to help protect your business space and equipment.
Commercial property insurance will help cover the replacement or repair of damages to the physical assets of your business such as the studio or gym, equipment coverage, fixtures, and furniture inside it. Some policies will even cover damages brought by fire, hail, storm, vandalism, and theft.
If you are just renting the space, you can also get a commercial property policy that will only cover your business property damage, equipment coverage, or rental damage insurance.
Product liability insurance
A product liability policy is applicable if you are also selling fitness industry products as a personal trainer.
Some personal trainers also make money selling products like workout tools or sportswear. This is not new in the personal training business.
Product liability claims apply when your product causes injury or is found to be defective.
Workers’ compensation insurance
If you have your own personal training business and you are hiring employees, you will need to get workers’ compensation insurance. Some states require this even if you only have one employee while some states would only require it if you have four or more employees.
Do personal trainers have health insurance?
Everyone should have a health policy no matter what their profession is – personal trainers are no exception, no matter how healthy and fit they can be.
Some personal trainers can get a medical policy through their employers. However, not all gym owners actually provide this. Some will depend on your employee status whether you work for them full-time, part-time, or an independent contractor.
If you are unable to get fitness instructor insurance from the gym, you can get your own. You can get training insurance through the agency that certified you as a personal trainer or you can simply buy it on the open market.
How much is insurance for a personal trainer?
There is no general amount to answer this question just like there is no way to single out one best personal trainer insurance. A personal trainer insurance is highly personalized to your situation and needs. So when you do your research or ask around, you will find that your peers will give you different figures for their premiums.
A personal trainer can have multiple insurance policies in their line of work. What you will spend on premiums will depend on the type of insurance and the type of policy you choose from that insurance.
Aside from the number and type of policies you have, other factors will affect the cost of your premium.
Here is a list of factors that an insurance company would look into when it comes to determining the cost of your personal trainer insurance:
If your business is in a high-risk area where it has high crime rates or extreme weather conditions, you will have to pay higher for the insurance.
If you have your own studio, insurance companies will consider the type of property you have, its size, age, and overall value.
If your business has filed multiple claims before, it means your business is high risk and you will have to pay a higher premium.
If you employ measures to lessen the risk in your business like getting certified, installing security systems, and asking your clients to sign contracts and waivers, you can get a lower premium.
Your chosen coverage details also matter. Other personal trainers try to save money on their personal trainer insurance by raising their deductible or reducing their coverage. Although this can lower your premium, it will cause you a greater financial burden when you need to make a claim.
How to protect yourself
General and professional liability coverage is not enough. Aside from getting insurance for personal trainers, you should also be proactive when it comes to protecting yourself as the best personal trainer. Here is a list of tips and safety measures that will be very useful in the future:
Screen your client for any health risk factors
When you get yourself a client, take the time to get their medical history. Let them fill out a comprehensive medical history form. Make sure to also gather their injury profile and their lifestyle habits.
Look out for health risk factors. If you find that your client has a metabolic or cardiac condition, ask them to obtain a doctor’s clearance first.
Make sure your client signs the medical history form. This will not only guide you in formulating a personalized training plan for the client but it will also protect you if the client was not truthful in disclosing their medical history to you.
Let the client sign a waiver
A waiver is additional protection for you in your line of work. A waiver states that the client is fully aware of the risks involved in training and should not hold you accountable for injuries or death that result from it (except in cases that you were found to be negligent in your duty).
Do not just use a common waiver template. Hire an attorney and have it revised and reviewed to make sure that all the clauses will apply to your situation as a personal trainer.
When you get a client, make sure that you take the time to sit with them and go through the clauses of the waiver thoroughly.
Keep a detailed record of each session
As a personal trainer, you should have a file for each client to track their progress. When you write down their fitness goals, make sure to be specific and measurable. Specify how many pounds the client wants to lose or how many inches of muscle the client wants to gain.
Be diligent in charting or recording the progress of your client for every personal training session. Write down every detail such as the workout duration, weights used, heart rate, and BP. When you give fitness instruction, techniques, or advice during the session, make sure you write them down too.
You should also take note of any physical problems your client is experiencing while working out and the recommendations that you made to address the concern.
Your detailed record can turn into indispensable written proof of your professional conduct and can be useful in court.
Avoid recommending supplements
Your client may ask you for nutrition tips or any supplements they can take to make the job easier for them. You should never counsel them to take a specific supplement or sell them one.
An adverse reaction could happen because of a medical condition or an allergy that you are not aware of and you can be blamed for it.
Unless you are also a certified nutritionist, it helps to only give general advice or better yet, refer them to a dietitian or nutritionist.
Do not give medical advice
This is the same concept as recommending supplements. The bottom line is that fitness instructors are not an expert in that field. It is not your role to give medical advice, physical therapy advice, or give an alternative cure to your clients. If there are concerns regarding your client’s health, always recommend them to a specialist.
Install security measures
Make sure that you have security measures installed to protect yourself from theft and property damage. It could be a security system and alarm or surveillance cameras. You should also ensure that all your equipment is working well and is in good condition. Installing such security measures can also help lower the cost of your insurance.
Knowledge and knowing the current practices is your safest protection against professional negligence. It helps to be certified and educate yourself continuously.
Also, certifications from a nationally recognized organization can help lower the cost of your insurance since it ensures that you have gone through the highest level of training to do your job.
Take note that you are required to be a certified personal trainer to qualify for a professional liability insurance. So, if you want professional liability coverage, you need to be a certified personal trainer.
Questions to ask when comparing personal trainer insurance policies
Before you settle for any type of personal training insurance, you should do your research and compare policies to ensure that you get adequate coverage. Be thorough when it comes to comparing policies and make sure you read reviews on the insurance company. Most importantly, you should get your insurance from a financially strong insurance provider.
Here is a list of questions that you should ask to help you determine which personal trainer insurance policy would work best for you:
- What does the personal trainer insurance policy cover?
- What does it not cover?
- How much money is provided for coverage?
- How much will it cost?
- Are the payments monthly, quarterly, or annually?
- Are there any additional costs I need to be aware of?
- What should I do if I need to file a claim?
Remember, never assume what is automatically included in an insurance coverage. Contact customer service and talk to an agent and ask all the questions you have in mind so that you can clearly understand the terms for insurance coverage and any exclusions in the policy.
With this guide, you can end up with the best personal trainer insurance that seems tailor-made for you.
Personal training is a fulfilling carer. As a personal trainer, you get involved with the lives of your clients at a more than casual level and help them live better lives through fitness. Your clients will expect results as you guide them through their fitness journey. And some clients can end up disappointed, impatient, or worse – injured along the way and blame you for it.
This may rarely happen to you but it is not impossible. It is important that you protect yourself financially just in case something goes wrong. One lawsuit can easily lead you to bankruptcy and shut down your business without financial help.
So, no matter how good and experienced you are as a personal trainer, you need personal trainer insurance that will fit your situation and needs.
You deserve to do your job with a sense of security and peace of mind. With a personal trainer insurance to back you up, you can fully concentrate on the joys of personal training.