You may figure you know how to properly and carefully teach your students to do the Jackknife or perform Reformer exercises. So far teaching has gone smoothly and your students have never complained about your methods. This leads you to believe Pilates instructors probably get sued because they really aren’t very good at what they are doing. Those are the Pilates teachers that need liability insurance. However, you might be surprised by what types of accidents can happen and result in a civil lawsuit against you. Mishaps occur every day!
The list of risks is endless. Below are a few examples of risks you may never have even thought about previously:
- Equipment that is not properly installed, maintained, or subject to routine inspections
- Equipment that does not have current safety features like non-skid surfaces
- Equipment that is too close to mirrors or windows and doesn’t have proper lighting
- Not properly storing portable equipment such as Fitness Circles and Pilates balls when not in use
- Not posting instructions and warning signs for all apparatuses like reformers, trap tables, wall units, ladder barrels and stability chairs
- Not instructing and supervising students using equipment and performing exercises
- Not following proper pre-screening for any health conditions or medical concerns
- Not knowing the most current industry standard and guidelines
These are just some examples, and not all might be relatable to your business.
Okay, maybe you don’t have Pilates equipment in your home studio. Maybe you only use the equipment at the health club. So how could you ever get into trouble for something that really isn’t in your control? Wouldn’t the fitness center be sued for problems with the equipment?
Well, there is an increasing amount of multiple party lawsuits pending in the fitness industry. Lawyers will sue anybody that can be potentially held responsible for the student’s injury. This often includes the Pilates instructor – YOU! If you have the proper liability insurance, you will be better able to deal with the litigation.
Remember, these types of unexpected occurrences happen every single day to Pilates instructors across the country. If it can happen to them, can’t it happen to you? Why are you different? If you were to receive court papers for a lawsuit, how will you handle what comes next?
What Does Pilates Liability Insurance Actually Do?
Any of the above risks can result in a potential lawsuit against you and your Pilates business. Perhaps the civil suit your client filed is frivolous, but you will still have to defend yourself in court and wait for the judge’s final decision. If you are not financially prepared for the legal fees and court costs, your business will suffer. By securing liability insurance, you will have the peace of mind knowing there are financial resources available should your Pilates business face litigation.
Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance will protect your Pilates business from claims of bodily injury, medical costs, and property damage. The coverage is useful for claims from individuals.
Professional liability insurance is also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance. E&O insurance is recommended if you provide professional services for a fee the same as accountants, lawyers, insurance agents, and real estate agents. This type of liability policy covers the business owner and all other employees.
The main purpose of professional (E&O) liability insurance is to safeguard your Pilates business against any claims for unintentional mistakes, inaccurate advice, violations of good faith, and general negligence.
For Pilates instructors, it is often recommended they purchase both types of liability policies. This is because Pilates instructors are providing a professional service for a fee, as well as dealing with the following situations which put them at risk for a lawsuit:
- use social media and/or advertise your Pilates business
- go to a student’s home to provide Pilates instruction
- sell Pilates accessories such as pads and fitness circles
- sell nutritional supplements
- invite students to your home studio
Find out more about Pilates liability insurance.
How Much Will A Liability Policy Actually Cover?
Remember, you can purchase liability insurance for a few dollars a day per employee. For such a small outlay in premium, you will get a large amount of coverage. Your coverage will include both an aggregate liability limit and a per occurrence liability limit. Most policies include limits that vary between $300,000 and $2,000,000.
Remember, you are responsible for any costs that surpass the liability limit on your policy. For example, if you are unlucky enough to lose a civil case for $1,000,000 and your policy limit is $500,000 then you will have to cover the remaining $500,000 that is due to the plaintiff.
Can Pilates Liability Insurance Help My Business Grow?
Pilates instructor liability insurance serves a purpose beyond simply offering protection if a civil lawsuit is filed against your business. If your business secures a liability policy, it will provide other advantages such as the following.
- A Certificate of Insurance (COI) is often required if you submit a business proposal to host Pilates classes for your local community center, school, or non-profit organization. The establishment that is interested in hiring you will want to be sure you are covered in case of any liability issues. If you don’t have liability insurance, you will most likely not be selected to teach the Pilates class. If you want to expand your opportunities, then liability insurance is a great investment.
- The premium for your liability insurance is actually a deductible business expense. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows businesses to deduct any money that is spent in the process of conducting your business or trade. Not only will you have the confidence in knowing liability insurance is in place, but the deduction will actually help your overall bottom line.
- You may feel extremely confident in your professional Pilates skills and believe no mistakes will be made so no need for liability insurance. However, if you have plans on growing your business and hiring additional Pilates instructors, doesn’t that increase your chances of an error being made? What if your new employee encourages an elderly person to do more than they are physically able to do resulting in a serious injury? Maybe you wouldn’t have given the elderly student that same advice, but it doesn’t matter what you would have done. It only matters what happened. If the instructor is your employee, then you will need to defend the allegations and possibly pay for damages.
What Happens If I Don’t Get Pilates Liability Insurance?
This is an excellent question! You can certainly continue on with your Pilates business without buying a liability policy. However, this is taking a huge risk in hopes that you will never make a mistake and never encounter an individual that is litigious. If even one incident occurs in the future and a judgement is made against you, what will you do to cover all those costs? Can your business afford to absorb such an expense? Or could one unfortunate accident result in losing your business?
Keep in mind, if you default on a judgement then your personal assets are subject to being seized. Any personal property or personal savings that you possess can be taken. Your income tax returns and any future income you earn will be garnished. Basically, you will not be able to escape a judgement that is owed.
This would be a rather unfortunate outcome when you consider the minimal cost of a Pilates liability policy. Premiums for liability insurance are usually about $500 to $1,000 per year for a single employee business. You can also look at it as $1.36 to $2.73 per day for liability coverage. As you add instructors to your business, you would anticipate your annual premium to double. Of course, the cost is understandable when you consider the increased risk of a mishap occurring since you’ve increased your staff.
By not purchasing a liability insurance plan, you may also be eliminating yourself from additional business opportunities. As we explained earlier, many Pilates studios and fitness centers will require you to have liability insurance to teach on their premises. It would be a shame if you receive a chance to guest teach at a fitness facility only to be told “never mind” because you don’t have liability insurance. Get a policy set-up immediately so you don’t lose out on growing your business or leave yourself open to future hassles. You will be so glad that you did!
To get a more specific quote for Pilates liability insurance, please click here.