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Which personal trainer insurance? 5 things you need to know

What is Personal Trainer insurance?

Personal trainers are like any other small businesses; every day presents risks to you and to your clients. It’s sensible for small business owners to assume anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. However, you can protect yourself against such eventualities through a range of specialist Personal Trainer insurance services.

There is not just one type of insurance relevant to personal trainers. Some protect your clients, others protect you, your employer, or your employees if you have any. Which you will need depends on where you operate and how you operate.

Why would I need Personal Trainer insurance?

Personal trainer insurance, like any other form of insurance, protects you against all those things that could go wrong:

  • Physical injury or illness resulting from any actions, or even neglect, for which you may be perceived responsible. This includes slipping on a wet floor or tripping over dangerously placed equipment. If a client sprains an ankle or breaks an arm and it’s as a result of something you did, they may be entitled to compensation.
  • You may also be liable for a loss of earnings of any client who must take time off sick from work. Statutory Sick Pay only covers so much and only applies for a certain time. To avoid losing SSP or to cover earnings when it runs out, they could sue you.
  • You also require cover if the injured party requires any specialist healthcare equipment or treatment. If it is not available on the NHS, they may be expected to fund it out of their own pocket. They may seek compensation from you to cover this.
  • Insurance for personal trainers isn’t limited to injury to your clients. You will, of course, need other forms of insurance that protect you for loss of earnings in case of injury. When a self-employed person cannot work, they are unable to earn.
  • You should also consider traditional insurance types such as contents and buildings insurance, covering against damage and burglary.

The types of insurance available

As a personal trainer, you may need many different types of insurance covering the various aspects of your business.

Public liability insurance (required by law): Most gyms won’t let you operate unless you have this. However, in any case you should have PLI, regardless of where you intend to run your business from. It protects you from prosecution if another person is injured, or equipment damaged, during your work.

Employer liability (required by law): This only applies if you employ other people in your personal training business. You must take this out to protect your employees against the types of injury for which you might be deemed responsible.

Professional indemnity insurance (required by law): This is a form of public liability insurance to protect against bad professional advice, such as incorrect exercise technique, or non-evidence-based nutrition advice. As part of your business, you may offer personal advice on diet and exercise, so this is essential.

Business equipment / tool insurance: In the PT industry, it may also be known as “Sports Equipment Insurance”. These are all the same thing. Your equipment is at risk of damage from new users not understanding how to use it, during transportation, and even theft.

Personal accident insurance: Personal trainers work out a lot and sports injuries are inevitable. Most are short-term but you are at risk of long-term injury. Personal accident insurance protects you against short-term, long-term, and permanent injury, and the costs of recovery and rehabilitation.

Loss of earnings insurance: This also covers you in the result of injury or disability. However, it doesn’t cover your rehabilitation. Instead, it covers your loss of earnings if you have no other choice but to cease trading temporarily. Personal accident and loss of earnings insurance are sometimes called ‘income protection’.

Legal assistance insurance: Not all policies will cover legal assistance. For those that do not, or if you feel you need more cover, you could take out legal assistance cover which protects your business against resulting litigation.

Things to look out for in a policy

You should always consider the restrictions of any insurance policy. Don’t assume that everything is covered.

The joy of being a self-employed personal trainer means flexibility – that you can work anywhere and set your own hours. Yet not everywhere is permissible. If you register an operating address as a local gym for example, clients receiving training at your home may not be covered.

Some Personal Trainers go on holiday or travel abroad to meet a client not knowing whether their insurance policy at home covers them. Even if the policy means can work anywhere in the UK, look at restrictions on working abroad.

Consider excess. A few hundred pounds is typical, as it is with other types. However, the small print may include higher excesses under certain circumstances. The chances of these rare events are small, but you don’t want an enormous bill if they happen.

As with every other form of insurance, you should always look at the small print for restrictions before agreeing to a policy. If a certain event is not covered, you will be personally liable.

Where to find suitable Personal Trainer insurance

Now that you’ve decided you need insurance for your personal training business, where to start looking?

  • Consider price comparison websites like Compare the Market and Go Compare. They usually deal in everyday insurance services. However, you may find some specialist providers.
  • Trade magazines or professional publications are always a good place to start looking. You may find more options in specialist print advertising than a conventional web search.
  • Register of Exercise Professionals, or REPs, is a public register for all health professionals. They offer insurance services to a range of healthcare and fitness professionals, not just personal trainers. You must be a member of the organisation.
  • Likewise, CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) is a professional development organisation for health and fitness professionals. Like REPs, it too offers insurance to its members.