Finding a coach is already an important step for a client looking to get in shape and exercise in a safe way.
And it's great... but sometimes sports training or in-home coaching doesn't always go according to plan. For the clients or the coaches themselves. In particular, we are talking about getting injured as accidents do happen.
In these cases, what happens next? Will there be legal action? Can the coach be held liable?
If yes, what personal trainer insurance should you take to prevent such incidents that can potentially be so detrimental to your job and way of living?
Superprof answers all your questions here.
Why a Personal Trainer Absolutely Needs Insurance
Sports coaching, personal training, fitness coaching... When we talk about it, we immediately think of something fun, don't we? Maybe working with enthusiastic and motivated clients at in-home training sessions while running your fitness business. Or strength and cardio training at the park, in a natural environment, with clean air. Maybe even jogging on the beach, why not?!
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After all, personal training can be all of these things, it's true.
But everything is not all sun and roses when you're an in-home personal trainer. While being able to make a living with your passion, by being active, being your own boss, and helping others, is a cause for celebration, it is also imperative to take precautions!
Such as getting personal trainer's insurance for example! As well as by making sure to get professional training for this type of job. Or to equip yourself with solid, modern equipment that meets the expectations of customers.
In short, simple sports skills are not enough to become a fitness professional!
And why is that? To answer this question completely, it seems necessary to go back to the very definition of the profession of "personal trainer". Which, from a legal point of view still doesn't exist. However, in general terms, a sports coach is obviously a "personal trainer", a "fitness coach" or a "physical trainer". In short, someone who fully knows sports and physical activity. But above all, it is the term "coach" that matters most in the definition.
This is why we also talk about an "individual fitness coach". A personal trainer often works in sessions with the same individual and they are often personalized. They take all of their coaching knowledge and know-how and apply it to each session: motivation at all times, behaviours adapted to the personality of the client, nutrition, health and wellness advice, management of sensitive cases (obesity, overweight, stress of daily life, physical health) and dips in moral (lack of self-confidence, lack of purpose, etc.).
With each client, a personal trainer is helping them all along the way, for months even, and during the whole session. Whether it's for: losing weight or building muscle, gaining weight, endurance and physical fitness through cardio, flexibility with pilates, yoga or zumba, getting in shape, toning, motivating, keeping in shape... Total trust is given to the personal trainer, and they are entrusted with a lot of responsibility. They are sometimes even perceived as a top athlete, which also allows them to find students for their fitness sessions of course.
The coach, once creating a business agreement with the client, is, therefore, committing to a method and especially results. It is for this reason that a customer may want to hold the physical trainer liable for damage suffered during physical exercise and take them to court with a lawsuit.
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Why Do I Need to Protect Myself?
As you maybe have already understood, protection is part of the very nature of the profession of a personal trainer, you are often there to help protect others from injury and to teach them the proper and safe methods of physical exercise.
When a sports teacher approaches new students to boost their business and add to their clientele, being the good marketer they are, they will need to brag about their services: their ability to achieve this or that result, a unique method, suitable and safe equipment, no risk of injury, references, training... the list is long!
Afterwards, however, things may not go as well. In which way? Just imagine that following your advice, a student goes beyond their limits, over motivated by your encouragement, and ends up getting hurt. Of course, the personal trainer becomes responsible and can have legal liability.
Even more so when you have an agreement or contract with this person and financial compensation has been agreed upon with your services.
This job involves a certain letting go on the part of the student, who then fully trust his teacher. During an intensive training course to lose weight, or a program of steady training exercises for bodybuilding (pecs, arms, shoulders), the customer is in a situation of being vulnerable in following the instructions given. Imagine if heaven-forbid, he could no longer work or run his business following an injury that you could have avoided or that you caused yourself...
It is quite possible that the client would hold the personal trainer liable in a court of law. Hence the need to prevent beforehand this kind of unfortunate and unexpected circumstance, by buying one or more essential insurance options available to you as a personal trainer.
Foresight is undeniably one of the great qualities of a personal trainer...
What are the Different Types of Insurance to Get?
Faced with these dangers of the job of a fitness coach, many insurance companies offer to protect you and will give you an insurance quote online. You can also get a quote by calling an insurance agency and talk to an insurance broker or insurance agent. Among the options:
Each company offers at least 3 different types of insurance policies available to you as a personal trainer. They offer the chance to make sure your company or small business and sports activities are performed safely and smartly, whether they be for: weight loss, weight and muscle gain, cardio fitness, learning a new sport, toning (abs, buttocks, glutes, thighs, stretching, running etc.
First, there is "Public liability insurance" or general liability insurance. This does not directly concern the fitness instructor and client performing the physical activities themselves, but can cover you against an incident or property damage caused to a third party. For example, if someone other than your client trips over a mat you have placed on the ground. Or if you or a client break a window when putting away your sports equipment. This type of insurance is especially helpful if you do your sessions in a fitness club or gym, as it covers you and the client if you damage any property while you are there.
Next, there is the highly important and essential option of "Professional liability insurance" or professional indemnity insurance. This is the one that will ensure and cover the personal trainer if, during a physical exercise, a sports program, or during bodybuilding (for example), the client is injured. This also covers any and all advice you give to the client that they may implement during their own time. If they are injured following any advice you have given in a professional capacity, the insurance would take care of any bodily injuries. Note that the law does not require the coach to contract this insurance, but by now you can hopefully see that it is incredibly useful to protect yourself and your business against mistakes, accidents and costly losses.
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There is also "Equipment cover insurance" which covers any damages incurred to the expensive equipment you use with your clients in your professional classes or individual sessions.
Finally, of course, the physical trainer is never immune from injuring themselves during a session. To cover the expenses occasioned by this type of accident, a complementary health insurance seems inevitable. "Personal accident insurance" and covers you for any injuries you might have while performing your personal training activities.
We never want or expect injuries to happen, but like with most things, it is best to be prepared!
Does a Sports Educator Need Insurance Too?
On the Superprof website and among UK sports coaches in general, we find all kinds of teachers and coaches, from vastly different backgrounds and schooling who train and coach sports and physical activities.
Among them, there is the Physical Education Teacher, or gym teacher, who practices in a middle or upper (secondary) school. These days, many of them no longer hesitate to find a supplementary salary by doing in-home sports coaching. It is indeed very practical.
But do they need to be insured for this after school activity as well?
As civil servants, they are insured in the establishment where they practice throughout the week. This means that outside the school or college where they work, yes, it is necessary for them to take liability insurance that will cover them in the event of bodily injury to their clients.
Every coach or trainer, even yoga or pilates instructors, who are giving private lessons with clients and getting paid to do so, would be wise to get liability insurance. Because this is a professional activity carried out in your own name. This day and age, why would anyone take a chance at finding themselves in court, losing their small business or even worse!?
Do the same thing for yourself as you would for your clients, practice sports in a safe way by insuring yourself.
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