Regardless of whether you are new to the fitness industry or have been a practicing fitness professional for many years, insurance is important. Whilst you hope to never need it, it will be invaluable to have in the event that something goes wrong. With many different policies available offering different types of cover, it is important to determine the right type of insurance for you.
In which situations do I need insurance?
If you are self-employed or work as a contractor and pay rent for access to gym/health club facilities or train people in their home, place of work and/or outdoors, you need to have insurance to protect you from legal action in case of an accident to your client/s.
What types of insurance are available?
Insurance acts as a legal safety net designed to minimise your personal financial liability, should you be the subject of legal action. For example, if a client suffers an injury, he or she may make a claim against you for compensation and/or medical costs. Having insurance means that the financial liability of meeting these costs should be met by your insurance, minus any excess attached to the policy.
The main type of insurance that is especially relevant to fitness professionals is Public and teacher liability insurance. Public and teacher liability insurance covers you in case of an injury occurring to a participant as a result of your instruction or damage to third-party property by you or your client.
Why is insurance so important?
Participation in exercise carries a certain risk, requiring fitness professionals to ensure that they are not only properly qualified, but also adequately insured in the event of a claim. Insufficient or complete lack of insurance could result in claims of tens of thousands or even millions of pounds made against you.
How does this affect fitness instructors working in a gym or health club environment?
Employed trainers and instructors may be covered by their employer’s insurance – however, we recommend checking with your employer as this is not always the case. As a self-employed contractor, you will probably pay rent in return for access to the facilities and the responsibility for insurance lies with you.
Am I insured when giving advice to my clients?
Fitness professionals are often called upon to give advice to their clients, for example, in the areas of nutrition and dietary requirements. Providing such advice falls within the parameters of your qualifications. Insurance is important to cover you against any ill-effects suffered by the client following your advice, such as a dietary suggestion resulting in a severe allergic reaction.
What waivers and medical forms do I need to consider?
While insurance does provide an essential legal safety net, fitness professionals must also take steps to minimise the risk of a claim being made against them. Clients should always be made aware of the risks of exercise and given the opportunity to decide for themselves if they wish to participate by signing a waiver and agreeing to informed consent.
What are the requirements for personal trainers and gym instructors?
Instructors or Personal trainers should minimise medical risks by ensuring that all clients complete a screening form prior to exercise – in the form of a Pre-Activity Readiness Questionnaire or PAR-Q form. Instructors should also verbally pre-screen participants before each and every training session to make sure nothing has changed since the original PAR-Q was completed.
What should I look for in a policy?
As insurance policies can vary significantly, it is vital to read the small print to ensure that the cover provided is right for you. Details to consider include:
- Liability – What is the financial amount for which you are covered in the event of a claim?
- Exclusions – Are you covered to train outside of the gym or health club environment?
- Excess – Will you have to make a contribution towards a claim?
It is also important to note that insurance generally only covers you for activities for which you are qualified. As a qualified fitness professional, if you taught a studio class outside of your area of training and someone was injured, you may be found liable since you were technically instructing participants in an area for which you were not certified.
Where can I find a policy that suits my needs?
FitPro provides flexible insurance protection designed specifically to meet the needs of fitness instructors whether operating in a gym, studio, leisure facility, home or outdoors.