For personal trainers and fitness instructors, preparation is key. Coming up with new exercises and routines to keep your clients motivated and on track to achieve their fitness goals can be extremely time-consuming, but this dedication can yield enormous gains.
What some personal trainers may not realize is how important another type of preparation can be: for those dedicated to the health and safety of their clients, obtaining the right insurance coverage is an absolute must.
Do I really need personal trainer insurance?
Before we dig in, you may be asking yourself, “Do I even need personal trainer insurance?” The answer is most likely yes, and here’s why.
By its nature, personal training carries risk. Clients can get injured during a session. Their property can get damaged by a rogue barbell. Or, they may get sick while preparing one of the meals recommended by your diet plan.
Unless you are a personal trainer employed by a gym — and their insurance provides coverage for your personal training as an employee — you are not covered in case one of these accidents occurs.
That means a client can bring a claim against you. If you’re found responsible, you could be liable for their medical bills, the cost of repairing their property, and other damages. Even if you successfully defend the claim, you’ll still have to pay your own attorney’s fees, and you’ll likely have to miss work to attend hearings and meetings related to the case.
Mistakes happen, sometimes through no fault of your own. When they do, you want to ensure you’re protected with solid business liability insurance.
So, whether you’re a contractor of a gym, train a few clients on the side, or operate your own personal training business, you want personal trainer liability insurance. It will give you peace of mind, and in some cases, it may be required. For example, if you rent space to train your clients, it’s common for business owners to request to see your Proof of Insurance and be listed as an Additional Insured (more on this in #7).
Now that that’s answered, let’s review the seven essential questions you need to ask when purchasing insurance for your personal training business.
1. What type of insurance do I need as a personal trainer?
At a minimum, personal trainers need at least general liability and professional liability insurance. General liability insurance is designed to provide protection from the financial consequences of accidents that occur on the job that result in bodily injury or property damage.
For personal trainers, these types of accidents are all too common: for example, a client may trip over weights that have been left out from an earlier training session, lose balance and fall off a treadmill, or use a weight machine in which the pin has not been properly inserted and causes an injury. In each of these cases, you as the personal trainer may be liable for any resulting injuries.
General liability also provides coverage for claims of third-party property damage. That property could be owned by your client, a fellow trainer exercising at the gym, or a complete stranger. If something gets damaged or broken as a result of your work, they could sue you. Finally, general liability provides protection against claims of personal and advertising injury, such as copyright infringement against one of your competitors.
General liability is considered table-stakes insurance for any kind of business, but personal trainers also need professional liability coverage.
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, provides protection against claims of negligence. A client may bring a negligence suit against you if you failed to give them a health questionnaire, and then guided them through a workout that exacerbated an underlying health condition. If you use a machine unsafely and your client gets injured, they could also blame their injury on your negligence.
Many personal trainers have clients sign a waiver so they don’t hold you at fault. Here’s the thing: however ironclad you think your waiver is, it doesn’t preclude clients from attempting to bring a lawsuit against you. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, you will need to hire an attorney to defend yourself against the claim. The cost of defending a lawsuit alone can put some trainers out of business. That’s why both general liability and professional liability policies include defense costs in their coverage.
2. Will my insurance policy cover me wherever I train?
You can take your business liability coverage with you wherever you work. If your business includes in-home training sessions, boot camp in a public park, or training clients at a different gym, you’ll be glad you have a policy to cover you.
Even if the facility you train at has a liability insurance policy in place, this policy likely only covers employees, not fitness professionals who train clients on the gym’s premises. An individual policy designed to protect you specifically provides coverage for your defense costs or the injured’s medical damages should an accident occur.
3. What types of occurrences will I need coverage for?
Once you’ve decided to enroll in a personal trainer liability insurance policy, it’s important that you understand exactly what activities are included in your coverage.
For example, if nutrition guidance and coaching are a key part of your client sessions, make sure you select a policy that covers these aspects of your personal training business as well. Moreover, confirm that the types of physical exercises you perform with your client, whether they’re traditional weight lifting and strength exercises or pilates and boxing, are covered. If an activity is excluded under your policy, you will not be covered if something goes wrong.
If you are not sure whether a certain insurance policy is a fit for your needs, you may be able to obtain a sample policy to review before you purchase.
4. What coverage duration will suit my needs?
Until recently, the only insurance coverage available to fitness professionals was the standard annual policy. This “one-size-fits-all” option does not really fit the needs of many self-employed personal trainers with varying schedules and client loads.
By contrast, the short-term insurance policies arranged by Thimble can be purchased by the hour, the day, the week, the month, and all the way up to a year. That means you can purchase coverage for a single one-hour session for as little as $5, or get coverage for a two-week training stint with a new client—whatever your individual needs, we offer tailored coverage options to fit your timeline. Best of all, our Personal Trainer Insurance bundles general liability and professional liability coverage in one policy.
5. What are the coverage limits?
Coverage limits help you understand the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a claim. A per-claim or occurrence limit is the maximum the insurer will pay for any single claim, while the aggregate limit of liability is the maximum amount the insurer will pay over the policy’s term. Most policies will have a standard limit that’s included with each policy, although you can usually opt to pay more to increase your coverage. For example, Thimble’s Personal Trainer Insurance provides coverage limits of $1 million and $2 million.
6. How much does Personal Trainer Insurance cost?
The cost of business insurance depends on several things, including the type of work you do, where you live, and the length and amount of coverage you select. At Thimble, we offer flexible coverage options for personal trainers that allow you to purchase affordable coverage by the hour, day, week, or month.
On average, general liability insurance for personal trainers costs $5 per hour to $22 per month. If you opt to package professional liability with general liability, your costs will range from $10 per hour to $59 per month. If you’ve purchased equipment for your personal training business, you can purchase Business Equipment Protection insurance for as low as $6 per month.
7. Who will need to receive proof of insurance?
If you are training clients in a space that you do not own, chances are that the owner of the facility will require that you provide proof of insurance. With Thimble, it couldn’t be easier to add Additional Insureds and share the Certificate of Insurance for your insurance policy.
When adding a new Additional Insured to your policy, you can easily modify the “Description of Operations” and “Certificate Holder” fields of your ACORD certificate and share the document straight from the app via email. Even the most stringent gym owners will be impressed by how quickly you provide them with certified documentation that meets their specifications.
Business insurance is the right move
With Personal Trainer Insurance from Thimble, you can keep your clients — and your business — moving and improving. At Thimble, we set out to make business insurance simple, flexible, and affordable. Take the first step to protect your business now. Tell us your zip code, a few details about your business, and you’ll have your free quote in 60 seconds.