shutterstock 1052245034Nearly every licensed medical professional has some level of malpractice insurance that they are required to carry. However, personal training does not necessarily fall into this category. Find out what types of coverage are best for protecting you and your business.

General Liability vs. Professional Liability

Personal trainers are not considered licensed medical professionals and therefore are not required to carry malpractice insurance to cover themselves or anyone who might be working with them. So, if malpractice insurance is not required, what coverage is best for a personal trainer to carry?

If you are a recently certified personal trainer, you will want to protect yourself against any potential lawsuits. When you are working as an employee of a gym or training center, you will most likely be covered under their plan. But, when you work independently, purchasing insurance coverage is essential. This type of coverage is called liability insurance, and there are two different types that you should consider for you and your business.

  • General Liability- this insures you against a third party (client) claim like personal injury, bodily injury, and property damage. An example of what this insurance would cover would be “a client slips and falls on spilled water in the area where you are training.” If they sustain an injury as a result of this, you can be held liable for their injury. Your general liability insurance would provide coverage for such claims against you.
  • Professional Liability- this type of insurance is also known as errors and omissions insurance. This insurance covers against lawsuits involving negligence related to professional services or advice. As a personal trainer, you might not only offer information on exercises but also on nutrition. An example of this would be “if you suggested that a client add berries to their morning meal as a source of antioxidants. Your client tries this and has an allergic reaction.” As a result of your advice and the reaction the client experienced, you may be sued for medical costs and more. Your professional liability insurance would cover this claim.

As a personal trainer, you or anyone working with you is expected to be professional and responsible at all times. However, anything can happen during a training session with a client. Accidents happen even under the best, and safest conditions, and clients do not always divulge all information that may be pertinent to the management of their health. This is why both forms of liability insurance are available to certified personal trainers.

Personal training insurance requirements

To obtain these types of insurance, most insurance providers will require that you provide proof that you are a certified personal trainer. This certification provides the insurance carrier with the peace of mind that you have received proper instruction/education and that you are not a high risk to insure. Many insurance companies provide coverage on the same day that you apply. They also offer various levels of coverage. It is best to always “shop around” when looking for an insurance policy that best fits your needs and your budget.

Best personal training insurance

When shopping for liability insurance, there are literally hundreds of companies that offer both general and professional liability policies for certified personal trainers. One of the most important things to look for when selecting an insurer is their rating. It is best to choose a company that has an “A” rating or higher (A+, A++, etc.).

Various rating agencies look at insurance companies and evaluate their performance against other companies in the industry. Some of these companies include A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. According to the Insurance Information Institute, these agencies independently evaluate the financial strength of commercial insurance companies. Each uses its own formulas to derive a rating, but all use a standardized letter and + or – symbol to list the rating.

Some of the most popular insurance companies for general and professional liability insurance coverage include the following:

  • Nationwide– Their site states that all of their programs include “protection against bodily injury and property damage claims that arise from operations, premises, products, completed operations, advertising or personal injury.” They also offer other programs to cover professional liability. Each of their plans includes a zero deductible for all liability claims. They require that you contact a representative for a quote.
  • Geico– This insurer offers both general and professional liability coverage. They state on their site that they often recommend that clients have both to protect them and their business. This site provides information about coverage under these plans and who should carry this insurance (including personal trainers).
  • ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)- ACSM partners with an insurance company called Forrest T. Jones. They offer ACSM-certified fitness professionals a general and professional liability insurance program that provides comprehensive nationwide coverage. Some of the liability program highlights are listed on their site, but they require that you contact Forrest T. Jones for additional information.
  • State Farm– offers a broad range of insurance policies for businesses and professionals. They offer packages and state that their professional liability coverage is available in $1 million increments. Quotes are available by contacting a representative.
  • ACE (American Council on Exercise)- offers personal trainer educational programs, assistance with certification, and insurance coverage for ACE certified group fitness instructors, health coaches, personal trainers, group fitness instructors, and medical exercise specialists. The policy rates are listed on their site and are based on policy terms and levels of coverage.

Regardless of the company, type of policy, or level of protection that you choose, it is important that you protect yourself against potential liability claims. To get the best insurance for your personal training business, you should look for an insurance company that services small businesses and offers specialized packages for personal trainers. If an insurance provider does not understand the scope of your business, they may not be qualified to recommend appropriate coverage.

Tracy Everhart

Master of Science (M.S.), Complementary Alternative Medicine| American College of Healthcare Sciences

Master of Science (M.S.), Nursing| Yale University

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Microbiology| Hampshire College

October 2019

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