You may have heard it mentioned once or twice (well, probably many more times than that!) but what exactly is Public Liability Insurance and why might you need it? Let’s unpack this important topic for you, so you can make sure you have the right insurance for doing the job you love.
What is Public Liability Insurance?
Public Liability Insurance provides protection in the event of insurance claims made by members of the public for accidents that happen when you are carrying out your business activities, whether that be coaching the perfect push-up or teaching an indoor cycling class. This type of insurance means that, should a claim be made against you, the insurer should cover liability claims in the event of an injury to a client.
Do I need public liability insurance?
If you want to train clients one-to-one or in a group exercise format, then the answer is a definite yes. If you’re an instructor teaching in gyms, studios, clubs, leisure facilities, community centres, village halls, private homes, outdoors and/or online, insurance is important to protect against expensive liability claims from your clients or participants in the event of an injury.
The safety of your clients is of paramount importance – this means making sure you are appropriately qualified in the specific area(s) of instruction and making sure you have Public Liability Insurance just in case a client is injured on your watch.
Basically, if a client falls, damages a tendon or suffers an injury due to the instruction given, they could put in an expensive claim against you. With Public Liability Insurance, your insurance company should protect you against this scenario, less the cost of any excess on the policy. The excess would be nominal compared to a liability claim.
Having the right insurance means the financial liability of meeting these costs of a liability claim should be met by your insurer.
Why is Public Liability Insurance important?
Not only does it cover you in the event of a claim but it also provides an important legal safety net, giving you peace of mind.
As insurance policies can vary significantly, it is important to read the small print to ensure the cover provided is right for you. Details to consider include:
- Liability – What is the financial amount for which you are covered in the event of a claim?
- Exclusions – Are you covered to train clients in the activities you teach?
- Excess – Will you have to make a contribution towards a claim?
As the instructor, you should also take steps to minimise the risk of a claim being made against you. You should always make clients aware of the risks of exercise and allow them to decide for themselves if they wish to participate by asking them to sign a waiver and agree to informed consent.
You should also complete a health and safety risk assessment. You can find more information about managing risks and risk assessment on the HSE website.
You must hold a minimum Level 2/3 qualification or equivalent in the area you wish to instruct. If you are teaching multiple disciplines, you’ll need supporting certificates in each area of instruction.
As a qualified fitness professional, if you teach an activity outside of your area of training and someone is injured, you could be found liable because you are not qualified to instruct participants in that area.
It’s important to check with your insurance provider to confirm that you are appropriately qualified for the area of instruction.
Fitness professionals are often called upon to give advice to their clients. Insurance is important to protect you against any ill effects suffered by the client as a result of your advice. Participation in exercise carries a certain risk, meaning instructors need to have insurance in the event of a claim. Insufficient or complete lack of insurance could result in expensive liability claims made against you.
FitPro offers Public Liability Insurance for fitness professionals. Head to FitPro insurance to learn more.