Unlike employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance is not required by law. However, as public liability insurance claims can easily run into six-figure sums, no business should consider operating without it.
This type of insurance is particularly important for beauticians because, due to the nature of their profession, beauticians come into contact with members of the public on a daily basis, and this increases the risk of a public liability claim arising.
There are also some specific risks that beauticians face that other businesses don’t face, so public liability insurance for beauticians is not the same as a standard business public liability insurance policy.
What does public liability insurance for beauticians cover?
Whenever you come into contact with members of the public, there is a risk that you could be responsible for them being injured or for their property having been damaged.
This could be due to something that you’ve done. If you’ve left a bag in a walkway and someone has tripped over it, for instance, you would be responsible for any injury sustained. It could also be due to something that you’ve not done. If someone is injured because you failed to give them a warning, you would be responsible.
Public liability insurance covers the compensation claims that could be made against you in this scenario. As well as paying the compensation awarded to the claimant, it also covers the legal costs as well as any other associated expenses. Your public liability insurer will also handle the compensation claim on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with potentially complex legal issues.
Compensation claims can be expensive. Even a minor injury can result in a £1,000 claim. A compensation claim for a broken bone could cost £25,000 and a compensation claim for a serious injury could easily cost ten times that amount.
Financial loss insurance
Public liability insurance only covers compensation claim involving injuries or property damage. It doesn’t cover compensation claims for purely economic losses. An example could be where a beauty treatment hasn’t actually injured someone or damaged their property, but has prevented them working. If that was the case, they might decide to claim compensation from you to cover their lost income.
Pure economic losses can be covered by making sure that your public and products liability insurance policy contains a financial loss extension.
Product & treatment liability insurance for beauticians
This is the main area where public liability insurance for beauticians differs from the standard public liability insurance policies that other businesses have.
A standard public liability insurance policy will exclude claims arising from the delivery of professional services. Beauticians are members of a profession, so this would mean that any claim arising from a beauty treatment, or a product, would be excluded, leaving beauticians with very little cover.
Because of this, public liability insurance for beauticians should include treatment liability. Without this, a beautician could end up having to deal with a potentially expensive uninsured compensation claim if the beauty treatment they provide causes their client injury.
By contrast, products liability works slightly differently. While public liability insurance covers you if a compensation claim is made against you for something that you have done or failed to do, it doesn’t cover you if a compensation claim is made against you because someone has been injured or their property has been damaged as a result of a defect in something that you have sold or supplied.
This type of compensation claim is covered by products liability insurance. Products liability insurance is usually included as an additional section in a public liability insurance policy.
Having both of these covers included in your beautician’s insurance policy helps to avoid gaps in cover while keeping beauticians safe no matter what duties they’re carrying out.
A compensation claim for facial scarring as a result of a beauty treatment that has gone wrong could cost in excess of £50,000. There would also be legal fees on top of that, and you might be required to pay for the cost of private cosmetic surgery. In the same vein, a compensation claim for an injury sustained from a product you’ve sold or supplied could also wrack up similar costs, which means it’s incredibly important to have the right cover to ensure that you don’t get caught out when things go wrong.
It is vital that beauticians make sure that they have public liability insurance that is aimed specifically at beauticians and contains both products liability and treatment liability, rather than relying on a standard public liability insurance policy to protect them if something goes wrong. The main reason for this being that, as a freelance beautician, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the money necessary to defend yourself if faced with claims like these, but also because specialist insurance companies tend to have a legal team that is experienced in matters like these. This means, in the event there was a claim, not only would you not have to worry about sourcing your own legal representative, but also you’d be assured that you’d have the best legal defence possible. And, if you did have to pay compensation, you could also rest easy knowing that your insurance company would cover the costs on your behalf, so you wouldn’t have to try and fund the compensation owed yourself. The price of a beautician’s insurance policy versus the potential claim amounts you could find yourself faced with makes a specialist beautician’s insurance policy an incredibly worthwhile investment to keep your business safe should the worst happen.