Some of the insurance that a therapist requires is common to all therapists. They need insurance to protect their business assets against accidental damage or theft, to protect themselves against a potential loss of income if they’re unable to work because they have been injured or are ill, and to protect them against compensation claims made against them or if they become involved in other types of legal action.
However, the exact therapist insurance cover that a therapist needs depends on the individual therapist so it’s important to talk to a specialist to make sure you are getting exactly the right cover for your particular therapy business. The insurance requirements will depends on a number of factors:
- Whether the therapist operates from their own premises or provides a mobile service
- What sort of therapies are provided
- Whether the therapist is operating as a sole trader or employs people
Premises-based vs mobile therapists
It can be easy for a mobile therapist to think that their insurance will be easier to arrange than insurance for a premises-based therapist. However, that is not always true.
A mobile beauty therapist needs some way of getting to their clients, whether they are visiting those clients at home or in their workplace. Usually that will involve a motor vehicle.
You are legally required to have motor insurance if you are using a motor vehicle, but what many people do not realise is that even if your private car is insured, it might not be insured for business use. Some motor insurance policies only cover private vehicles for social, domestic and pleasure use. You should check with your motor insurance that business use is covered, particularly if you are giving lifts to your clients.
Also, many business insurance policies only cover property when it is on the business premises. If you are a mobile therapist it’s important to make sure that you’re covered when you take your business property such as your equipment or a laptop with you when you visit your clients.
The type of therapy provided
All therapists can protect themselves against compensation claims arising from their activities by making sure that they have liability insurance.
Public liability insurance protects therapists if a compensation claim is made against them because they have injured someone or damaged their property. Products liability insurance is usually included in a public liability insurance policy and protects you if a product you have sold or supplied results in a compensation claim. And professional indemnity insurance handles compensation claims made against you that arise from professional advice that you have given.
Therapists should make sure that their therapy insurance includes a treatment risk or malpractice extension, which extends the insurance so that it covers arising from any treatments that they have provided, and which one you’ll need will depend on the industry you’re operating within whether its beauty, holistic and complementary therapy, or psychotherapy or counselling therapy. They should also make sure that it contains a financial loss extension so that compensation claims involving purely economic losses are not excluded – standard business insurance policies often exclude claims that don’t involve injuries or property damage.
But the range of therapies available is almost infinite, so it is important to tell your insurer exactly what sort of therapy you are providing. This will ensure that you are paying the right price and aren’t paying too much for your insurance. It will also ensure that your insurer does not deny a claim for non-disclosure should someone claim compensation from you that arises from an activity that you have not told your insurer about.
Many therapists operate on a sole trader basis, but if you are employing people, you’re legally required to have employer’s liability insurance. There are heavy penalties if you do not.
Employer’s liability insurance is similar to public liability insurance, but rather than covering you if a third party makes a compensation claim against you, employers’ liability insurance covers you if an employee makes a compensation claim against you.