Attorney at Law and Professional Personal Trainer
If you are like most coaches I know, you have probably asked yourself — How much do I really need to pay for insurance to cover my Liability?
Individual policies run between $79/year on the low end to $250/yr for comprehensive policies there are lots of options. Here are some of the options you should consider.
Per Occurrence Insurance
This is how much coverage you have for a single injury or event. Here’s an example of damages you could face from a severe injury:
- Direct Medical Damages (it doesn’t matter whether client has their own insurance generally) 500K-1.2 Million
- Pain and Suffering 1.5 Million to 5 Million
- Lost wages: 50K-400K
It doesn’t have to be your fault for a client to sue. Yes, a client will have a burden of proof to win, but they can still sue if they think you are at fault.
If your insurance policy only covers you for a million dollars per incident, a single claim could bankrupt your career. Better to increase your coverage to 3-4 million to protect you in the event you are sued.
This is how much the insurance will pay for the year. Often that’s 1.5 times the single event coverage, so if you get a second charge in the same year, you can plan on some if not most of your coverage not applying.
This is how much you pay out of pocket if something terrible happens (e.g. someone sues you for malpractice.)
Where to Purchase Insurance
Once some of these basic tenants of purchasing a policy are determined, you’ll need to find someone to actually sell you a policy. You largely have three options:
- Associations (like Ideafit or CrossFit)
- Brokers, e.g. Insurance Canopy
- Carriers, e.g. Philadelphia (A++), Great American (A+), Markel (A). Ratings are supplied by AMBest rating:
Going through a broker like, Insurance Canopy, is the best way to go. You get the same insurance coverage (that’s provided by insurer/carrier) with better access to information and generally better service. Brokers get a discount when they sell policies from carriers. You get the same or even better pricing, with superior client service. Associations are generally companies that work hard to build large audiences of followers, and then leverage that audience to sell services. This could be online workouts, supplements, or in some cases insurance. Associations rarely have the knowledge base in terms of insurance policies that brokers have. Associations have an important place in the fitness world, I would just look elsewhere when purchasing insurance.
Important Caveats to Look for in your next Personal Training Insurance Policy
- Some policies have a shared limit. Shared limits split insurance coverage across multiple insured. If everyone in your group has a claim, there may be no money left to provide you coverage. In effect, the insurance company is gambling with your coverage. This may reduce prices (if they pass the savings on to you), but it also raises risks.
- Are legal defense fees included? Defense fees can go into the hundreds of thousands very quickly. You’ll want to make sure your contract provides you with defense counsel to protect your interest.
Example: Carrier shall have the right and duty to defend the Insured against any “suit” seeking those damages. However, Carrier will have no duty to defend the Insured against any “suit” seeking damages for “bodily injury” or “property damage” to which this insurance does not apply. We may, at our discretion, investigate any “occurrence” and settle any claim or “suit” that may result.
Be sure to review how insurance benefits are calculated and whether these example damages are included.
E.g. if you are sued for X are your protected? X could be damages like:
- Bodily injury to the client and facility damages
- Missed work
- What clauses are in place in contract to protect the coach against lawsuits to changes in lifestyle such as wheel chair refinement or loss of the ability play professional football
- Medical bills how is it calculated
- Insurance’s duty to defend the trainer and cover legal fees for defense.
Scope of Insurance Coverage
Be sure you consider when and where the policy will create coverage:
- This policy will cover you at the gym
- Online Training
- At client’s homes
- At your home
- At government properties
- In Parks
- In group class settings, etc.
- Children minimum age
- Cycling or mountain biking (other than stationary)
- Law Enforcement, public safety, or Military training programs
- Medical, therapy, or health care services
- Certified Athletic Trainers affiliated with organized sports or athletic team(s)
- Water fitness trainers
- Martial arts or physical contact training
- Pole dancing, pole fitness, and exotic exercise
This article does not create an attorney client relationship, and should not be construed as legal advice. It’s always a good idea to hire an attorney to help you review complicated agreements like insurance binders. Also, should you actually hurt someone, having an attorney on retainer can provide you quick access to advice on what to do.