It’s time to have a frank discussion about personal trainer insurance. While a lawsuit used to be a last resort means of resolving a conflict, it has become much more frequent for service industries such as personal fitness coaches. Unfortunately, it is not only possible that you may face a lawsuit due to an error or omission, it is probable.
With the likelihood of facing a professional liability lawsuit, protecting yourself and your financial resources is more important than ever. E&O insurance is an essential part of any personal trainer’s profession. But what exactly is errors and omissions insurance, and why is it needed? We’ll explore and explain the ins and outs of errors and omissions and how a single incident could be disastrous if you are not properly protected.
Warm Up: What are Errors and Omissions?
Errors and omissions in personal training are both under the larger umbrella of professional liabilities. These are incidents that may occur as a direct result of your profession. Every profession is unique and has its own set of potential risks and hazards. Professional liabilities for personal trainers are mostly physical injuries, bodily harm, or the inherent risks that clients may encounter while undergoing physical activities. While you would never intentionally cause harm to your clients, an error or act of negligence could bring that about.
Within the category of professional liability, there are a few distinct branches or types of liabilities. While there could be countless particular reasons a client may file a lawsuit, we’ll focus on two areas of emphasis.
In every profession, particular risks may be involved. For a financial advisor, the risk might be that their client loses money on an investment. For personal trainers, the clients’ risks are more physical. Of course, general liability is always possible, like a slip or fall, but errors and omissions are different. If you make a mistake in your fitness instruction, it could have significant consequences for your clients.
With an error in personal fitness, the trainer has made a mistake either in their instruction or the physical exercises they have their clients perform. These types of errors on the trainer’s part could lead to the client’s overexertion, strain, bodily injury, or harm. Because personal fitness instructors work with clients and perform intense physical activity, the consequences of an error could be physically dangerous.
A few examples of an error that a physical fitness instructor may make are pushing a client too hard or adding more weight to a machine than a client can handle. If you make an error while your client is under your instruction, it could leave you liable for a lawsuit.
If errors are the active form of making a mistake, negligence is the passive form of professional liability. Negligence is failing to act responsibly with your clients and allowing them to be in a potentially hazardous situation. Though it is not actively doing something in error, neglecting to perform a necessary task could be just as dangerous. Let’s say, for example, that you neglect to perform a safety inspection of your equipment. This could put your clients at unnecessary risk of injury or physical harm.
As a personal fitness instructor, a significant part of your responsibility is to protect your clients through diligence and care. If you neglect that responsibility or take it lightly, you are putting your clients at risk.
There are two main types of negligence; acts of omission and acts of commission. Each of these liabilities could lead to a client’s injury or a professional liability lawsuit.
Acts of Omission
While you may naturally think of 100 ways you could make an error as a personal trainer, did you know that not doing something can also be a liability issue? Omissions are when you do not do something that you should do to keep your clients safe. There is a number of things that you may forget or neglect to do while working with a client. Essentially, liability omissions occur when you fail to act responsibly for your client.
As a personal trainer, you must care for your clients. This means that the students under your instruction are your responsibility. When you neglect to take the proper safety measures, you are breaching that duty of care by acting irresponsibly. Your clients rely on you to give physical fitness advice, monitor their progress, and keep them safe while under your training. If you fail to fulfill these responsibilities, it could lead to injury or physical harm.
Some common examples of an omission in personal training are:
- Failing to perform a safety inspection
- Neglecting to spot your client while lifting free weights
- Failing to calibrate a machine
- Not properly sanitizing equipment
Acts of Commission
Another form of negligence is placing your client in a situation you know to be hazardous to their health. In these situations, you are aware that your trainee may be in a potentially harmful situation, but you proceed anyway. Ignoring the potential risk you are placing on your client would be a particularly flagrant act for any personal trainer. Not only is it a violation of your duty of care, it willfully puts your client in harm’s way. Although you may never think you would be in this situation, it can happen easily. An act of commission could be as simple as trying to “push through” with a client to lift a heavier weight knowing they have had a shoulder injury.
While there may not be any malicious intent in your instruction, an act of commission could still happen. It’s important to be mindfully aware of your client’s particular needs and health before engaging in personal training. While you want to push your clients to achieve their fitness goals, know their limits and individual needs.
A few common examples of liability acts of commission might be:
Ignoring a medical condition: If you are aware that a client has a medical condition that would prevent them from engaging in rigorous physical activity, ignoring that knowledge could inflame the medical condition.
Using unsafe equipment: If you know that a machine has been having some issues and you proceed to use it in your training, it could lead to a malfunction or injury.
Getting Pumped: What is Errors and Omissions Insurance for Personal Trainers?
Now that you have an overview of errors and omissions, let’s talk about what errors and omissions insurance for personal trainers is and can do. Errors and omissions insurance for personal trainers is designed to help protect fitness professionals from catastrophic loss in a professional liability lawsuit.
Falling under the larger category of professional liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance for fitness instructors helps protect against loss from a liability lawsuit.
Professional Liability Insurance for Personal Trainers
Professional liability insurance would kick in to keep your finances secure if you make an error in your physical training and cause an injury to a client. Think of a personal trainer insurance policy as a safety net for a tightrope walker. While the performer may not fall, she will be grateful to have a security measure in place if she does.
IFG includes professional liability coverage in our personal trainer insurance that helps protect against errors and negligence claims. With this coverage as your safety net, you can proceed with confidence in your career and training. We cover fitness professionals in a wide range of working environments and situations. Our coverage incorporates protection for professional liability, product liability, and general liability claims.
Tailored Coverage for Personal Trainers
IFG provides the best comprehensive personal trainer insurance in the industry. We offer a full suite of coverage that is designed just for personal trainers. We know the particular risks, liabilities, errors, and omissions that professional fitness coaching may involve. That’s why we have tailored our insurance to be the exact coverage that a personal trainer needs.
If you find yourself facing a liability lawsuit from an error or act of omission, having the protection of personal trainer insurance can relieve you of the financial burden such a lawsuit can cause. It is far better to be prepared for a liability claim than to be caught off guard and unprotected. Our personal fitness instructor insurance will cover up to $2 million per occurrence with an annual aggregate of $3 million.
Everyone can make a mistake or forget to do something. With errors and omission insurance for personal trainers, you don’t have to sweat the financial strain of a liability lawsuit.
Final Sprint: Protecting Yourself with Personal Trainer Insurance
The truth is, keeping your clients safe while under your training takes a lot of mindful engagement. In every training session, you need to actively consider your instruction and actions for each client’s needs. Keeping yourself safe from a liability lawsuit takes personal training insurance. For just $179 per year, you get the comprehensive errors and omissions insurance that is included in IFG’s fitness professional policy.
Don’t wait until something goes wrong to think about insurance. Get personal trainer insurance today and secure peace of mind for tomorrow.