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Do online personal trainers need insurance?

25/09/2023

do online personal trainers need insurance when they work remotely

Isn’t technology great?

Now clients can tap their details into an app or website – and in a matter of minutes, they'll be paired up with their very own virtual fitness guru. (That's you, by the way.)

And with the online fitness market growing by 33% every year, it’s no wonder so many personal trainers are drawn to working virtually.

You can build your business at your own pace, using pre-recorded videos and Zoom meetings to motivate your clients.

And because you're not travelling to training sessions, or renting out gym space, you reduce some of your overheads. Like the cost of personal trainer insurance.

But wait...is that true? Do online personal trainers need insurance any more or less than their upfront-and-personal counterparts?

Do online personal trainers need insurance?

It’s tempting to think because you communicate with your clients virtually, your level of responsibility is reduced compared to other personal trainers. 

But regardless of whether you coach online or in-person, or do a bit of both (as 62% of PTs do), the duty of care you have towards your client's physical and mental well-being is pretty much the same.

It's just the way you choose to deliver your services is slightly different.

 Ask yourself:

  • Is my client paying me?
  • Have they signed a contract?
  • Have they outlined their fitness goals?
  • Have they told me about pre-existing health conditions and injuries?
  • Am I tracking and reviewing their progress regularly?
  • Am I running remote exercise sessions?
  • Am I offering fitness, nutrition or wellness advice?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then you'll need insurance the same way any other personal trainer would.

Though, admittedly, if all you do is online training, some risks will be reduced. We’ll talk more about that later.

From blame to claim

Back to your duty of care, though. Loosely defined, it’s your responsibility to not cause damage to others that could reasonably be foreseen or avoided.

In other words, if something goes wrong, either because of an accident or a mistake you’ve made, you could be accused of malpractice and sued.

Which is why malpractice insurance is so important. It covers allegations you’ve inflicted physical or mental injury on someone, or caused them a financial loss, through your work.

A client that's claiming you’ve taught them the wrong technique, forcing them to put pressure on a pre-existing injury. Or that you're responsible for them putting their back out after you told them to pick up a heavy weight during an online training session.

What other insurance do online PTs need?

Malpractice insurance is often sold under the banner of ‘treatment and liability’, which also includes public liability insurance.

Public liability insurance covers accidental property damage or bodily injuries caused by you. It’s less useful if all you do is train online. But crucial if you work away from home or do something else on the side (like run fitness classes or boot camps).

A client knocking their veneers out after getting tangled up in your skipping rope, or you sloshing the contents of your water bottle over someone’s phone, takes more than a simple “sorry” to fix.

It’s also useful if you sell any products through your online PT business that might trigger a complaint. A slippy exercise mat, for example, or a protein bar that disagrees with someone’s stomach.

Either way, both malpractice and public liability insurance provide the legal muscle needed to defend you – and pick up the tab for any compensation if you’re found liable.

Top tech protection

Now you’ve covered your business activities, it’s time to protect the very thing that makes your business tick. Your tech.

Without it, you can’t run live-streamed sessions, set up Zoom meetings, or upload videos to your social media. In other words, you can’t do your job properly. And it won’t take long for your clients to cotton on and demand their money back.

Portable equipment insurance protects your phone, camera, laptop, speakers, kettlebells, and anything else you take out and about with you. Studio insurance covers the furniture and fitness equipment you keep in your workout space.

Both types of insurance cover items that would cost lots to repair or replace if they're stolen or damaged by a fire or flood.

Assuming your equipment’s already covered by your home insurance policy won’t cut the mustard, either. Even if your yoga studio happens to be one-half of your living room, it's still your workspace. And so it needs protecting.

Offline personal trainer?

Last but not least, there's cyber insurance. Because any amount of time spent offline could be damaging to your reputation as an online trainer.

Unfortunately, a cyber-attack or data breach takes time to fix. And though most clients are sympathetic, their patience can drain away quickly if they find out you've put their personal data at risk.

Cyber insurance will lend you the PR expertise needed to communicate cyber incidents to your clients, as well as the technical assistance needed to stop an attack, retrieve your data, and mend your systems. It’ll compensate you for lost business and provide you with temporary equipment so you can get back to business. Fast.

Read more about cyber insurance and what it covers.

No sweat

There’s lots to be said for direct and honest communication. Unfortunately, when you’re doing it via emails or Zoom calls, sometimes that message becomes muddled or lost.

With the right technology and the solid back-up of insurance, you can help your clients without feeling burnt by claims.

Sculpt your perfect personal trainer insurance package online. Or call us on 0345 222 5391 if you need help.

Image under licence from istock

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