Personal trainers and other fitness professionals provide guidance to clients who may be pushing themselves to their physical limits. If this is your chosen life profession, you may be wondering what risks you need to cover with insurance.
What if someone is injured by a set of weights, or falls ill during a training session due to physical stress?
General and professional liability insurance for personal trainers is an important risk management measure you can take that will help to cover your costs in the event of an injury claim, whether or not you are truly responsible.
Personal Trainer Facts
- The demand for personal trainers is projected to increase 24% between 2010 and 2020
- There are about 182,000 personal trainers active in the U.S. today
- Personal trainers do not need a license, but most organizations insist a trainer be certified before the trainer is allowed to practice
Risks Involved in Personal Trainer Activities
As a personal trainer, you may be involved in any or all of the following activities:
- Supervising exercise programs and weight training
- Monitoring a client's activity and providing feedback
- Giving advice on diet and nutrition
- Selling nutritional products, weight loss products or exercise equipment
- Advising clients on unsupervised physical activity
Due to the physical nature of the work you do, the risk exists that a client can be harmed, or can claim to be injured in some way. For example, some of the claims you can be subject to as a fitness trainer include:
- Claims that the advice given was detrimental to the client.
- Claims that the physical regimen assigned to the client was too strenuous and led to health problems.
- Allegations that physical contact between you and the client constituted sexual abuse.
- Charges that you damaged the client's property, if you provide personal training in individual homes, or that you damaged equipment in the facility where you work.
Personal trainer's general and professional liability insurance can provide the coverage you need to protect yourself against such claims.
Even if you guide highly physically fit people who are strong and healthy, clients may have hidden physical health problems that are aggravated by exercise. Getting trainer insurance can provide important protection while you help people work out.
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What Does Personal Trainer Liability Insurance Cover?
If you are looking for fitness trainer insurance that covers your liability risks, there are a few basic types of coverage you may need:
- General liability insurance: Covers claims arising from bodily injury or property damage. A simple example would be a case where you accidentally drop a bar bell on someone's foot. This is straightforward bodily injury and the general liability policy would provide the coverage you need.
- Professional liability insurance: Professional liability insurance coverage protects you and your business against actual or alleged errors and omissions that may occur while providing your professional services. You’ll need this policy in case a client claims they incurred financial loss because of your advice.
- Product liability insurance: Protects you if a product you sell leads to an injury. Many trainers sell exercise equipment, training paraphernalia and even health and nutrition products. Most general liability policies include products liability coverage.
The liability coverage that will come into play in the event of a claim will depend upon the nature of the injury.
General liability will cover accidents and injuries you directly cause, while professional liability insurance will typically cover financial losses that result from you failing to provide the appropriate advice or recommendations, and product liability will cover illness or injury related to products you sell. Our partner, Thimble, sells policies that include all of this coverage.
Does My Gym Cover My Risks?
General liability insurance for personal trainers is a must for anyone who performs training activities away from the premises of a gym or other fitness facility. Under those circumstances, you most certainly take on the risk that you could cause harm to an individual.
Therefore, if you are working as an independent contractor in a gym facility owned by someone else, you may have some coverage under the facility's insurance plan. Usually, however, if you are not an employee and not added as an additional insured, you would not be covered. Even as an additional insured, the coverage may be limited and leave you unprotected.
However, you do not want to assume that the gym's insurance will protect you. Because you have no control over the coverage the facility has in place, you must protect yourself with your own fitness trainer insurance.
Other Personal Trainer Risks to Consider
As a personal trainer, you want to make sure that all of your risks are covered. Liability insurance for personal trainers can be very different from one insurance provider to another, and different policies can have very different rates.
Here are some key steps you can take to ensure you have the protection you need at a price you can afford:
- Carefully review your real life risks: Be sure to go over all of your potential risks with a local independent agent who will take the time to sit down with you and get to know how you work with your clients.
- Your agent can potentially recommend additional protection you may need. For example, if you drive during the course of working as a fitness trainer, and particularly if you pick up clients, you may need commercial auto insurance.
- Your agent can also help to ensure that you don't buy more coverage than you need for your unique personal training services.
- Carefully review your policies before buying: Before purchasing your coverage, review all of the types of activities that the policy will cover, and any exclusions. For example:
- If you visit clients' homes to conduct training, you could be working with unfamiliar equipment and in a setting not designed for exercise training. Make sure that providing personal training in this manner is covered.
- Your activities can involve regular physical contact with your clients, sometimes in completely private spaces. There is always the chance that your actions can be misconstrued and that a charge of sexual abuse can result. But intentional acts are generally excluded from liability coverage. Ask your agent if you can add an endorsement to your policy that provides sexual abuse coverage.
Most importantly, ensure that the agent you work with can find the exact coverage you need, and nothing more.
Independent insurance agents work with multiple insurance companies and can provide several personal trainer liability insurance quotes for you to compare. These agents can also customize coverage to you, rather than selling you a "one size fits all" business policy.
Obtaining Athletic Trainer Liability Insurance
As an athletic trainer, you need insurance protection in several areas to fully cover your risks. This means you need a comprehensive yet affordable policy that will protect you in the event of a claim against you.
Researching insurance is a multi-step process:
- First, take into account the risks you face on the job. Working with people in close proximity with heavy weights and potentially strenuous activity puts you at risk. How much could that risk cost you? Consult with an insurance agent or a lawyer before you buy, to help underscore the risks and protections you need.
- Second, shop around for coverage. Take some time to compare quotes for insurance to make sure you understand how much you may have to pay for this important insurance.
- Budget wisely. If your premiums go up after an occurrence, will you be able to pay? Do you have enough insurance to protect you from potential claims, or do you need to purchase additional coverage or riders?
When you research your options and consider all the potential risks you face, you can make a better decision about your insurance coverage. With the right coverage, you'll have peace of mind no matter what comes your way.