Hairdressing Public Liability Insurance: Explained

Dean Laming ACIIBy Dean Laming on January 3rd, 2018

There are a number of different types of insurance that hairdressers need, but public liability insurance is one of the most important. This is true whether you’re a mobile hairdresser or you work from a hairdressing salon.

It’s important to have liability insurance for a number of reasons. First, liability insurance claims can be complicated to deal with. Having an insurer’s legally trained claims team to help guide you through the legal minefield if a claim is made against you is vital. Second, liability claims can be extremely expensive to settle, and without insurance, most hairdressers would struggle financially.

But hairdressing public liability insurance is different compared to the standard public liability insurance bought by other businesses. This is because hairdressing public liability insurance includes products liability insurance, which covers you if a compensation claim has been made against you as a result of something you have sold or supplied. It also includes something called the treatment risk extension, without which a hairdresser could be uninsured in the event of a claim.

Legal liability

A public liability insurance policy covers your legal liability to pay damages to someone in the event that something you have done or failed to do has caused them to be injured, or their property to be damaged. In addition, it covers the legal costs incurred in dealing with any compensation claims that are made against you.

There are a number of ways that you can be found to be legally liable, but the most common is negligence. For you to be found legally liable, there are a number of criteria that need to be met:

  • Did you owe the claimant a duty of care?
  • Did you breach that duty of care?
  • Did injury or damage result?
  • Was the injury or damage reasonably foreseeable?

Many of these things aren’t clear-cut. Who do you owe a duty of care to? If you’ve taken reasonable care, have you breached that duty? Thousands of legal precedents have been set over the years which help answer these questions and a hairdressing public liability insurer’s claim team will know about these so they can make sure that any claims made against you are dealt with efficiently.

The cost of claims

Even a relatively minor liability claim can cost thousands of pounds once the legal costs are taken into account. Serious public liability claims can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is important to remember that the compensation awarded against you could include any loss of earnings that the claimant has incurred as a result of an injury as well as any additional expenses that have arisen.

Again, the hairdressing public liability insurer’s claim team will know what a claim is worth because they’ll have seen thousands of previous court awards for similar injuries. This means that you won’t be paying over the odds to settle a claim.

More importantly, most hairdressers would not be able to afford to settle a £250,000 compensation claim that arose from a serious injury, so no hairdresser should consider operating without hairdressing public liability insurance.

Products liability insurance

Products liability insurance is similar to public liability insurance, but it covers compensation claims arising from defects in products that you have sold or supplied. This could be shampoo or conditioner that you have sold.

The important thing to bear in mind with products liability is that you can be held legally liable for injury or damage to someone else’s property, even if the product that caused the injury or damage wasn’t manufactured by you. This is because consumer protection legislation makes the supplier – you – liable.

Products liability insurance claims can be as expensive to settle as public liability insurance claims, so if you are supplying any products it is essential that you have products liability insurance.

Treatment risk extension

A standard public liability insurance policy excludes compensation claims arising out of professional activities, and as hairdressing is a profession, this would leave you with a major gap in your insurance cover.

The treatment risk extension addresses this issue by adding cover for such claims back into the cover provided, ensuring that a hairdressing public liability insurance policy adequately protects hairdressers.

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