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As a personal trainer, you help clients increase their fitness. Personal trainers may work independently or through a gym, and they may visit clients’ homes or operate from a studio space with their own equipment. This opens you up to liability if clients are injured or property is damaged, so it’s important to consider purchasing insurance policies to provide financial protection in the case of an injury or lawsuit.
What insurance coverage do I need as a personal trainer?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to personal trainers:
General liability insurance provides protection for incidents of third-party property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, or advertising injury. This is a particularly important coverage for personal trainers to consider since they work in-person with clients. There’s always a chance that clients may visit a gym or other location for a training session and sustain an accidental injury, and if you provide personal training services at client’s homes, you could unintentionally damage their property. In addition, general liability insurance’s personal and advertising injury component can cover third-party non-physical injuries and reputational damage from libel, slander, copyright infringement, and more.
It’s important to note that general liability insurance only covers accidental bodily injury, such as situations where a client slips and falls. If a client believes they have been injured because of negligent training or advice by their personal trainer, you would need professional liability insurance to cover this claim.
- Property damage: You visit a client’s home for a training session. You accidentally knock your client’s expensive laptop off a table, damaging it. Your general liability policy would cover the cost of replacing the laptop.
- Bodily injury: Your client visits your fitness studio and trips over some cleaning tools that were left out on the floor. She falls and breaks her wrist. Your general liability policy would cover her medical costs and would provide funds for any resulting lawsuit or settlement.
- Personal and advertising injury: You create a new online advertisement for your personal training services. Unfortunately, the image you used in your ad looks very similar to another fitness company, and they sue you for copyright infringement. Your general liability policy would cover the lawsuit and any resulting settlement.
When you work as a personal trainer, clients trust your advice and guidance to help them improve their fitness. Since serious injuries can occur as a result of working out, professional liability insurance is a critical type of coverage for personal trainers. If a personal trainer suggests exercises that aren’t appropriate for a client’s abilities or pushes them beyond their limits and causes a physical injury or psychological trauma, the trainer could be held liable for damages. If you are sued because of your professional advice or services, professional liability insurance will cover your legal fees and any settlements or judgments against you.
Many personal trainers and fitness centers require users to sign a liability waiver. When they are compliant with state laws and created under legal advice, these waivers can decrease your liability in some situations; however, they cannot prevent all lawsuits or remove all liability, and they may not hold up in court, so it’s critical to have insurance policies to protect you.
- Your client has just returned to training after a long vacation. During your training session, you push your client to perform a difficult and intense workout. After the workout, your client finds that an old knee injury has gotten worse, and she has difficulty walking. She must receive medical treatment and physical therapy. She sues you for aggravating her injury.
Some personal trainers may own or rent studio space or own expensive fitness equipment for clients’ use. If you rely on expensive equipment or a physical studio location, it’s a good idea to purchase property insurance to protect the value of your property. If an unexpected disaster occurs, commercial property insurance will reimburse you for losses or pay for repairs. Commonly covered perils include fire, windstorm, hail, vandalism, and explosion.
Commercial property insurance covers the following:
- Buildings belonging to or leased by your company
- Contents of the building, including equipment, computers, and furniture
- Property of others while it is under your care, custody, or control
- You run a small fitness studio. A heavy storm causes your roof to leak and floods your studio, damaging your equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines, and exercise mats. Your commercial property insurance would pay for repairs to the roof and replacing the damaged exercise equipment.
A business owner’s policy (BOP) combines general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into a single convenient package. This could be a good way for personal trainers to obtain a wide range of insurance at a lower cost than buying each policy individually. A BOP may be a suitable choice for personal trainers who operate a small studio location and would like to protect their property and business income in the event of a disaster.
To qualify for a BOP, your company would typically be required to operate from a physical business location, employ fewer than 100 people, and make less than about $5 million in sales per year. Exact requirements can vary based on the insurer.
- A client trips and falls over some exercise bands that were left out in the lobby of your fitness studio. He falls into the reception desk and injures his hip, while also damaging the desk. The general liability component of your BOP would provide for any medical costs and any legal expenses if the client sues. The commercial property component of your BOP would pay for the repairs to the reception desk.
- Workers’ compensation insurance can cover employees’ medical costs and a portion of lost income if they suffer an injury or illness caused by their job. Most states legally require this coverage for companies with employees. Personal trainers who work independently and do not have employees likely would not be required to have this coverage. However, if your business employs other trainers, your state regulations may require you to secure adequate workers’ comp coverage.
- Cyber liability insurance protects companies from financial losses related to hacking, data breaches, and other cybercrimes. This can be a helpful coverage if your personal training company stores names, addresses, credit card numbers, and other customer data.
- Business income insurance will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is unable to operate due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for personal trainer 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 personal trainer 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 personal trainers:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
Business Insurance and Coronavirus
COVID-19 has had a major impact on businesses such as gyms, and many personal trainers 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.
For businesses that have business income or business interruption coverage, the losses you’ve suffered from having to temporarily cease business operations due to COVID-19 are, in most cases, not covered. 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.
Working as a personal trainer can expose you to a number of potential liabilities, from accidental injury or property damage to clients who sue you because they are unhappy with your professional services. Whether you work independently or own your own studio, it’s crucial to obtain a range of business insurance that will protect you and your employees from the financial consequences of unexpected events. This will give you peace of mind that you will be able to continue operating your business even if a major disaster occurs.