Buying insurance might feel like stepping into the weight room for the first time – confusing at best, maybe intimidating or even overwhelming. As a trainer, you know that with just a few basic pointers, a newbie can walk into the weight room with the confidence to tackle the challenge!
Here at Next Insurance, we feel the same way about helping personal trainers make great choices when it comes to purchasing insurance, be it for the first time or when switching to better coverage. Below are a few tips that will help you select the right insurance product – so your business is fully protected, without breaking the bank.
1. Know your risks and make a checklist
You know your business best, making you the most qualified to know where you’re at risk. Sit down and write out a list of all the possible things that could go wrong, even if they seem a little far-fetched. Try and wear the customer’s shoes and question your practices from their perspective. Where are your vulnerabilities? Walk yourself through your day-to-day and be detailed in your analysis.
There are a lot of different types of insurance available. For Personal Trainers, General and Professional liability are the two most important.
- General liability covers any injury to others or property damage for which you are found liable (legally responsible), resulting in a potential lawsuit. Example: a client tears their ACL while training with you and files a lawsuit. This type of risk can reach millions of dollars in damages – and truly threatens the livelihood of your business. We strongly recommend prioritizing this coverage above all others.
- Professional liability covers you when clients find your services unsatisfactory, and decide to file a lawsuit for these reasons. Example: a client fails to meet their business goals and sues you for not providing more effective training.
The other main categories of business insurance relevant to personal trainers are property and premises coverage. “Property,” in this context, meaning physical goods such as equipment, and “premises” being the space you rent or own to operate your business.
Think about which of these you could be exposed to, figure out whether your employers (e.g., your gym) require specific coverage/limits, and make a list of what you need – in order of priority. Remember, it’s most important to protect yourself against risks that could be big enough to take you out of business.
2. Insurance is not one-size-fits-all
You’ve built your checklist – now it’s time to start shopping around for the best fitting insurance package. How do you pick from the dozens of options out there? Keep in mind that more coverage isn’t always better – the key is to work with a provider who knows your industry and helps you get coverage for risks that could truly threaten the livelihood of your business. We suggest you focus on
- Finding a provider/advisor who understands your business. There are enough options out there in the insurance world that you can find a specialist. Would you go to an optometrist with questions about your cough? They’re both doctors, but one will be able to assess your needs much better than the other. The world of personal training comes with occupational hazards that others don’t have to contend with – potential for injury, physical contact with clients, etc. Make sure you’re buying from a source that’s done as much research into your industry as you have.
- Not buying unnecessary coverage. Make sure that you’re not paying for coverage that isn’t relevant to you. For instance, many business owner packages include premises coverage, which you may not need as a traveling or online trainer. Each coverage is going to increase the price of your insurance, so think as hard about what you don’t need as what you do.
3. Exclusions can make or break you
We are all guilty of not reading our insurance policies – after all, these documents can be over 100 pages long! The truth is, however, that the exclusion clauses hidden in these documents can mean that activities that are core to your business are not covered. Some common exclusions you might encounter include
- Professional liability – as you probably already know if you followed the advice in tip #1 and listed our your risks, Professional liability coverage is key for a Personal Trainer to have. We strongly recommend against buying an insurance package that does not include this coverage
- Constraints on locations that are covered. Think about where you train (Is it always at a gym – or could it be at a park? Do you occasionally train outside of your city/state?) – and check whether the policy covers you there. It’s also common for Personal Trainer policies to exclude from-home training activity. If your client insures herself doing deadlifts while at your home, you may have to pay out of pocket for medical treatment or to protect yourself against a lawsuit
- Nutrition / dietary supplement coverage – again, this type of activity is often excluded. If you provide dietary advice to clients, look for a policy that includes this coverage, even if it costs a bit extra
4. Think about safeguards that can help you qualify for the best coverage – at a lower price
When filling out an application, you may be asked questions related to obtaining certification in your area of expertise, willingness to ask clients for liability waivers / health history forms, and other business practices that lower the probability of something going wrong and you being accountable. You’ll sometimes be given a credit or discount for these. While these may seem tedious, and you may be hesitant to make the investment, you should consider both the reduction in risk to your business and the reduction in insurance expense – these may add up to significant value.
5. Your insurance experience does not end with the purchase.
Buying insurance is not like buying a workout outfit. The instant gratification is unfortunately not there – but, more importantly, the post-purchase interactions with your insurance providers are a critical piece of the puzzle.
- Most of our customers come back to our website (usually, more than once) to obtain Proof of Insurance or an Additional Insured form – as required by the gyms they are training at. Find out what the process to obtain these forms is like (is it self-service or do you need to contact and speak to someone on staff during business hours, how quickly you can get the form, and whether there are fees involved (these can add up to hundreds of dollars, quickly cancelling out any savings you got when purchasing)
- The real moment of truth is the day something does happen and you need to file a claim. Hopefully, this is a scenario you never have to deal with, but if you do, who will you contact? How quickly will you hear back and from whom? Is your insurance provider willing to commit to a timeline for making a decision on a claim, particularly if the claim is under $10,000 in value?
The bottom line is that buying insurance is choosing the organic grilled chicken breast over the tempting (and lower-cost) fried chicken sandwich. It may be less gratifying in the moment, but it’s going to be a lot cheaper to make the investment now than to pay the medical bills, or major lawsuits, later.
We hope these 5 tips help start – or expand – your thought process on how to make the best choice of insurance coverage for your business, given your priorities and your budget. This article should also give you a sense of how passionate we are about offering the product that meets Personal Trainers’ specific needs, rather than assuming a Personal Training business is pretty much the same as a laundromat!
We are here to be a partner to you – whether you prefer to come to our website and purchase in under 10 minutes, or to contact our A-Team at (855)222-5919 to tell us about yourself and get further guidance.