But although they know they need public liability insurance, many hairdressers don’t know what public liability insurance covers and they don’t know how public liability insurance for hairdressers differs from standard public liability insurance.
What does public liability insurance cover?
Public liability insurance covers you in the event that a compensation claim is made against you by a third party. This claim could have been made against you because the third party believes that they have been injured due to something you have done or failed to do. It could also be because they believe you’re responsible for their property having been damaged.
Public liability insurance policies usually include products liability insurance cover. This is similar to public liability insurance, but covers you if a third party makes a compensation claim against you as a result of injuries or property damage that have resulted from a defect in a product that you have sold or supplied.
Your public and products liability insurer will handle any claims made against you on your behalf. This means that you don’t have to worry about potentially complicated legal arguments. The insurance will also cover any legal fees that are incurred as a result of the claim.
It is important to note that public and products liability insurance only covers compensation claims that arise from injuries or property damage and does not cover compensation claims made against you by third parties who allege that you’re responsible for them having sustained a purely economic loss. You should make sure that your public and products liability insurance contains a financial loss extension so that claims involving purely economic losses are covered.
It is also important to note that public liability insurance does not cover you if the compensation claim against you has been made by one of your employees. Those claims need to be covered by an employer’s liability insurance policy.
Examples of claims
Usually, compensation claims following property damage are the most inexpensive to settle. If you spill hair dye or bleach on a client’s clothes for instance, the compensation claim can usually be settled for a few hundred pounds.
Compensation claims following and injury are a different story. If someone trips over an electrical cable that you have left across a walkway and breaks their wrist, the compensation claim could cost over £20,000 by the time legal fees as well as the claimants lost wages and other expenses are taken into account. More serious injuries such as spinal injuries can easily result in six-figure compensation claims.
Compensation claims arising from defective products are interesting because you don’t have to be responsible for causing the defect. Merely selling or supplying a hair product that is defective is sufficient for you to be found legally liable and have damages awarded against you if the defect in the product causes damage or an injury.
How is public liability insurance for hairdressers different?
Standard public liability insurance policies exclude cover for compensation claims arising from professional acts. Because hairdressing is deemed to be a professional activity, this means that many claims can be excluded, leaving you uninsured.
An example would be where a client claimed compensation from you following an allergic reaction to a hair dye. Such a claim could be expensive to settle, particularly if that client lost wages because they were unable to work as a result of the allergic reaction and was claiming for their lost wages as well as for their pain and suffering.
To address this, public liability insurance for hairdressers contain something called the treatment risk extension. This is an important cover extension for hairdressers and it’s why hairdressers should make sure that they don’t rely on a standard public liability insurance policy and get public liability insurance that has been designed specifically for the hairdressing profession.