Group Fitness Instructor Liability Insurance

Many people rarely consider the need for professional group fitness instructor liability insurance. It makes sense, however, that in our litigious society precautions should be taken to ensure that those who choose to earn their living as a fitness instructor are protected against legal damages, whether the charges are warranted or not. Most insurance companies will cover actual fitness facilities as well as their employees up to a certain limit and under certain conditions; however it may be only the lowest coverage possible with certain exclusions and conditions. If you are an independent fitness instructor, or even working full time for a fitness facility, it is vital that you consider protecting yourself with a group fitness instructor liability insurance policy.

What is Group Fitness Instructor Liability Insurance?

Group fitness instructor liability insurance protects physical fitness instructors against damages incurred or legal actions brought about by claimants as a result of the instructor’s training duties.

Common reasons for litigation against instructors include:

o Muscle injuries

o Joint injuries

o Back injuries

o Broken bones

o Bruised bones

Most group fitness instructor liability insurance policies will cover the common causes or hazards that can occur during training and result in the losses mentioned above. Common claims include:

o Injury as a result of poor supervision

o Injury as a result of poor training technique and education

o Injury as a result of overtraining

o Injury as a result of lack of adequate stretching or cool down periods

People can also claim mental damages, stress, or humiliation. For this reason it is extremely important that your group fitness instructor liability insurance policy gives you the most specific and comprehensive coverage possible. Although certain endorsements (additional coverage) may add to the total premium that you pay each year, in the end it will be well worth it. Too many frivolous lawsuits are settled in favor of the plaintiff to warrant gambling with your coverage amounts and limits.

Limits of Coverage

As for the limits of coverage, most insurance companies will offer a basic policy with an aggregate limit of $500,000, $1,000,000 or $2,000,000. They may also have a per occurrence limit that is significantly less than the total policy limit. It is important to understand this distinction because if your policy limit is $1,000,000 but your per occurrence limit is only $100,000, this means you are responsible for paying any monies owed to the other party that exceed the $100,000 limit. For example, if the judgment against you is $150,000 and the per occurrence limit is $100,000, you will be responsible for paying the remaining $50,000 out of pocket. If you do not have the $50,000 in cash or savings immediately available for payment, wage garnishment and even asset liquidation can occur.

Conclusion

When considering a group fitness instructor liability insurance policy, remember that it is always best to be over insured and not need it than to be underinsured and end up with a large debt that you will have to end paying for the rest of your life.

Understanding Insurance: What Do You Get for Your Premium?

Buying an insurance policy doesn’t give you immediate gratification in the way that buying a TV, a washing machine or any other item you use on a daily basis does. In fact, we often hear clients say:

“I’ve never been in a car accident.” Or “I never get sick.” Or “My employees have never been hurt on the job… So what am I getting for my premium?”

That’s a great question. And the answer requires a shift in thinking, as well as a little history about insurance coverage and its original purpose.

What Am I Buying?

In a nutshell, insurance is an important but intangible product. It buys you protection and peace of mind.

A good insurance policy allows you to protect:

  • Valuable assets in which you’ve invested a great deal of money, such as your home, car, boat, motorcycle or jewelry
  • People you care about and would want to help should they be physically harmed: your children, spouse and employees

Insurance also gives you peace of mind, knowing that:

  • You’re not gambling with your financial security
  • If something bad happens, it won’t financially destroy your business or put your family into bankruptcy

While you may not be able to hold these things in your hand, they are of value.

How Does Insurance Work?

The concept of “risk” is the single most important thing to understand. Insurance involves the pooling of similar types of risk and the transfer of that risk to a central entity, such as an insurance company that agrees to cover the costs of future “losses.” Depending on the type of insurance, a loss could be an illness, a car accident, a workplace injury, a hailstorm, crop damage, a fire or other life events that could prove financially devastating to an individual, family or business.

Customers pay a predictable premium in exchange for protection against such catastrophic events. In fact the term “catastrophic” is another important insurance concept. Originally, insurance was developed as protection from catastrophic, overwhelming losses, rather than everyday expenses.

A Bit of History

The origins of insurance date back to the 3rd millennia B.C., when Chinese merchants travelling treacherous river rapids would redistribute their wares across many vessels to limit loss due to any single vessel capsizing. They were, in essence, spreading their risk, much like an insurance company spreads its risk across many policies.

Insurance in the 21st Century

So here’s what you need to know about shopping for an insurance policy today:

  • You’re buying protection-an intangible product that you hope you’ll never need, but will be tremendously thankful to have should something bad happen.
  • The most basic insurance policies cover catastrophic events only-not day-to-day expenses, but the big costs that could wipe you out financially.
  • There are literally hundreds of insurance options available today, to fit every budget. Basic plans are a godsend to folks on a budget, while those who have the means may want to purchase a far more inclusive policy. The choices in between are almost limitless.
  • Your agent should be able to both simplify the complexities of insurance while presenting you with a number of options tailored to your needs and budget.

Perhaps the most important lesson about insurance: Don’t go without it. Financial catastrophes usually come hand-in-hand with emotional trauma. The last thing you need is to be worried about money at a time when you should be tending to your loved ones or employees.

If you don’t have an insurance agent, search online for someone local. Talk to several agents and pick one who doesn’t “push products” but, rather, listens to your needs and tailors a plan specifically for you. Developing a one-on-one relationship with an agent now is something you’ll be thankful for if, down the road, you, your family or your business should experience a catastrophe.