In 2013, NYC burlesque dancer Diane Yost sued a Manhattan salon for $150,000 after a botched dye job. She claimed a bleaching mishap burned her hair and kept her from important performances, auditions, and caused mental anguish. As incredibly dramatic as this is, this kind of scenario could happen to any hair dresser and barber. And if it does, it can seriously hurt your business.
If you’re a hairstylist or barber, your clients depend on you to help them look, and feel, their best. But no matter how careful you may be, accidents happen. Whether you are at fault or not, a cranky customer could file a claim against you, costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, you can protect your assets, savings, and future earnings with the right insurance.
You work closely with your clients to help them achieve the look they want. Occasionally, a client may ask for some hot celeb hair style and wind up hating the results. In rare cases, a truly dissatisfied client may completely skip the scathing Yelp review and decide to file a lawsuit against you for emotional distress. Even if the court determines you’re not at fault, your legal defense costs alone can be financially devastating.
On top of just getting a bad cut, many of the tools you use have the potential to cause injury to clients, like: curling irons, scissors, hot wax, and chemical treatments. A slip of the hand or a product malfunction could lead to an accidental injury and a nasty claim against you.
Like we said, a lawsuit can come from a number of places you wouldn’t expect and could cost you your savings, assets, and future earnings — maybe even your job. You can protect your financial future with the right liability coverage. Just a few hundred dollars per year on a comprehensive insurance policy is a very smart decision, compared to what’s at stake.
As a hairstylist, your insurance policy should include:
If you receive a paycheck from a salon, you may already have some of the coverage you need, but often salon coverage is built to protect the salon, not the hairdresser. Talk to your salon AND independent insurance agent for help finding any exposures and redundancies to make sure you’re fully protected for anything that may come up.
As a barber, you probably serve a regular clientele, the majority of whom are male. Like hairdressers, barbers provide hair cutting and, in some cases, coloring and styling, too. Unlike hairdressers, barbers are typically licensed to use a razor and provide shaving and beard grooming services. Barbers also sometimes recommend chemical hair and scalp treatments to their clients.
The most important thing to know, though, is that no barber is immune to litigation. The friendliest customer may decide to sue if he feels he has lost a job opportunity or experienced humiliation because of a bad haircut. Even if a claim against you is complete nonsense, you could still end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars just for your legal defense.
To prepare yourself properly, your liability should include:
Coverage for some policies starts as low as $200 per year, and can protect you from millions in litigation losses.
If you also, or even only, provide hair beautifying services out of your home, you could be exposing yourself to a number of other risks. If you depend on your homeowners insurance to cover your in-home hairdresser or barber business, your finances and your home could be at risk.
Most homeowners policies do not cover home businesses.
So, if a client accidentally slips on your front steps and suffers an injury after a haircut, your homeowners insurance may not protect you from any resulting lawsuits.
Usually you can purchase in-home business insurance as an inexpensive rider to your homeowners policy, or as a separate policy. Your in-home business policy would cover:
You can choose from several different insurance carriers who specialize in liability coverage for the hair industry for the coverage you need. The trick is finding the right match for your needs and your wallet.
Getting the right coverage requires you to:
You can take advantage of lawyers, accountants, and independent insurance agents to get an unbiased view of your business and weigh out your options and help make a good choice.
Independent insurance agents are kind of like the Google of insurance quotes. You tell them what you’re looking for, and they bring in the results. And since they aren’t tied down to one carrier, they’re free to shop around and bring multiple policy options to the table.
And it gets better, you don’t have to review the policy options alone. They’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding the right coverage, and price, for you. But it doesn’t end with your signature. Along the way, if something bad ever happens, they’ll handle the entire claim process for you and deal with the carrier, so you can focus on your hair-ruling empire. How sweet is that?