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When you work as a massage therapist, there are many liabilities that could arise in the course of your work, from the risk of clients suffering accidental injuries to disasters that damage your property. A costly lawsuit or accident could be devastating for massage therapy practices. It’s important to obtain a broad range of insurance policies to financially protect you from these risks.
What insurance coverage do I need as a massage therapist?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to massage therapists:
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance covers third-party property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, and advertising injury. This coverage will protect your business if clients accidentally injure themselves on your premises or if you damage someone else’s property. Since many massage therapists may work at hotels or fitness centers, visit clients’ homes, or provide services at conferences or other events, this is an important coverage to consider. If you unintentionally damage property that doesn’t belong to you in one of these settings, you could be held liable for damages.
General liability policies also include a personal and advertising injury component, which provides coverage for a number of non-physical injuries, including libel, slander, and copyright infringement.
- Bodily injury: A client visits your massage therapy practice and trips over an uneven step, severely spraining his knee. The client requires medical attention. Your general liability insurance would pay for his medical expenses and for your legal costs if the client decides to sue.
- Property damage: You are providing massage services at a client’s home when you accidentally knock over an expensive sculpture, damaging it. Your insurer would cover the damages.
- Personal and advertising injury: You create a new logo for your massage therapy business. The logo looks very similar to another company’s logo, and the other company sues for copyright infringement. Your insurer would provide funds to defend the lawsuit and pay any settlements or judgments against you.
Product Liability Insurance
Product liability insurance protects your company against claims of bodily injury or property damage caused by products you sell. This is an important consideration if your massage therapy business sells products such as lotions, creams, vitamin supplements, or other items. If your company is sued because of a product you sold, product liability insurance will provide funds to cover your legal fees and any resulting settlements.
Product liability insurance is typically covered under the products and completed operations section of a standard commercial general liability policy. Standalone product liability insurance policies are also available for more high-risk businesses.
- Your massage therapy business sells handmade lotions. When a client uses one of your lotions, she suffers a severe allergic reaction. If the client sues, your product liability insurance would cover your legal fees and pay any settlement that results.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance protects the value of your business personal property as well as any buildings you own or lease. If an unexpected disaster strikes your location or damages your equipment, it can be time-consuming and costly to recover from the loss without insurance coverage. This coverage will provide funds to repair or replace property that is damaged or destroyed, including equipment like massage tables, furniture, decor, and other items. Commonly covered perils include windstorms, hail, fire, vandalism, and water damage.
Commercial property insurance covers the following:
- Buildings belonging to or leased by your company
- Contents of the building, including furniture, equipment, and supplies
- Property of others while it is under your care, custody, or control
- A short in a fan causes a fire to break out at your massage therapy office. The fire damages the building and destroys equipment and supplies. Your commercial property insurance would provide funds to repair the building and replace the destroyed items.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance for massage therapists will provide financial protection if clients sue you for any failures or negligence in your professional services. Because massage therapists work closely with a client’s body, it’s possible that you may injure someone during a massage. No matter how professional and knowledgeable you are, there’s still a possibility that you could make a mistake that injures a client or exacerbate a client’s pre-existing injury.
Given the intimate nature of massage therapy, there’s also the possibility of your business being sued for sexual harassment or misconduct. If you or one of your employees are involved in inappropriate conduct with a client, you could be sued. In addition, even if your business is blameless, a client could still sue based on their belief that they were treated inappropriately. Professional liability insurance can protect you from these types of lawsuits, whether or not your business is at fault.
If you are hired by another company, they may require you to carry this coverage. Additionally, some states require licensed massage therapists to carry professional liability insurance.
- You use a new massage oil while performing a massage for a client. Unfortunately, the client suffers an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the product and requires medical treatment. Your professional liability policy would cover medical expenses and legal fees if the client sues.
Business Owner’s Policy
For small and midsize massage therapy businesses, a business owner’s policy (BOP) may be a good way to purchase a wide range of coverage in one convenient bundle. A business owner’s policy provides coverage for key property and liability risks that most businesses face, including general liability, commercial property, business income, and extra expense coverage. Buying a business owner’s policy can help you save money on premiums, as the cost is typically lower than purchasing each coverage separately.
Commercial Crime Insurance
Commercial crime insurance provides funds to reimburse you for losses caused by theft, robbery, fraud, forgery, burglary, and other crimes. This coverage applies both to crimes committed by outside parties and crimes committed by your own employees. Massage businesses commonly accept cash payments, which means that there may be a higher risk of theft by employees or third parties. Commercial crime insurance can give you financial protection if theft occurs.
- At the end of a shift, one of your massage therapists steals $600 from the cash register. Your commercial crime insurance would cover the loss.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is legally required for companies with employees in most states. It covers the medical expenses and lost income of employees who are injured or fall ill while working. It’s common for massage therapists to develop repetitive strain injuries or other health issues because of the physical nature of their work. If an employee of yours cannot work due to an occupational injury, workers’ comp would provide financial and medical benefits while they are recovering.
- Hired and non-owned auto insurance covers liability that occurs when you drive personal vehicles for work purposes. This coverage may be necessary for massage therapists who drive to various locations to perform services.
- Business income insurance will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is temporarily unable to operate due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for massage therapy insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a massage therapist with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for massage therapists:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
Business Insurance and Coronavirus
COVID-19 has had a major impact on the personal care industry because offering these services requires close contact with clients. Many massage therapists have had to stop working due to lockdowns and may be unsure about how their business insurance will handle this situation. It’s important to understand that you cannot purchase a new policy to cover coronavirus-related losses that have already occurred; insurance policies will not cover losses that have already been discovered.
In the majority of cases, business interruption insurance policies you have in effect will not cover losses caused by coronavirus. These policies typically only cover losses caused by a direct physical loss or damage, like a fire or theft. Some business interruption policies will include coverage for losses caused by “communicable or infectious diseases,” but this is rare.
How workers’ compensation insurance handles coronavirus cases varies widely depending on the state. If you have employees who contract coronavirus on the job, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation payments in some states.
If your business continues operating and a client or other third party sues you claiming that they contracted coronavirus after visiting your business, some commercial general liability policies will provide coverage, depending on your individual policy and the laws of your state.
Consult our FAQ on coronavirus and business insurance for more information.
When you run a massage therapy practice, it’s crucial to consider the liabilities you will be exposed to. For a massage therapy business, it could be difficult to recover from a lawsuit brought by an injured client or an unexpected disaster that damages your property. Ensuring that your company has a wide range of business insurance can help you cope with unforeseen issues and give you and your clients peace of mind, knowing that if a catastrophe occurs, your company will be financially protected.