What is Occurrence-Form Coverage and is it Really Necessary for Personal Trainers?

Occurrence form coverage is something we’ve touched on a lot in our ongoing blog series but if you’re new to Insure Fitness (welcome!) or just exploring your personal trainer insurance options, you may have never come across this term. So why is occurrence form so vital for today’s trainers? We’ll deep dive into this crucial policy provision that can mean the difference between full and complete coverage versus zero coverage for the exact same claim event.

What is Occurrence Form Coverage?

An insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance carrier. Your policy states all of the things that will be covered in the event of x, y, and z, all spelled out very specifically within the policy documents. Because a lot of companies tend to downplay the protections present in their policy and instead emphasize a “super low rate” or “save only if you buy right now”-approach, it’s easy to look past the nitty gritty details of the actual policy. 

Before you pull the trigger with any personal trainer insurance company, make sure you know exactly what your policy does and does not cover. Occurrence form coverage provisions are arguably one of the most important you’ll find in all of your insurance policy. This seemingly simple provision in the policy can literally mean being covered fully or not being covered at all for a claim event. 

Occurrence form coverage states that when your policy expires, you are still eligible to make claims under that policy so long as the claim event occurred when the policy was still in an active state. This seems like common sense but we’ll see where a lot of insurance companies will use an opposite approach to occurrence form policies with what’s known as a claims-made form. This form actually decreases the amount of risk on the insurance carrier and instead shifts that risk, i.e. having to pay for your own claim out of pocket, back onto the policyholder. 

Difference Between Occurrence Form and Claims-Made Coverage 

As we just looked at, occurrence form coverage gives you a little breathing room when it comes to filing a claim after your policy has expired. With occurrence form policies, your policy can expire and you still have time to file a claim for an event that occurred before the policy expired. Next, we’ll look more in depth at the opposite of occurrence form - claims-made. 

Claims-made coverage says that, in order for a claim to even be considered for coverage, the policyholder has to file the claim in a timely fashion - while the policy is still current and active. This may seem legitimate at first glance, I mean most services are only good for as long as your term. However, with personal trainer insurance, this type of coverage can be financially devastating. 

Claims-made coverage will typically provide no coverage whatsoever for a claim event that occurs after a policy has already expired. Even when you have a claim event that occurs while the policy is active, but you wait to file a claim and then your policy expires, with claims-made coverage, you typically would not be able to file for that claim. This is especially crucial as we near the timing of the expiration of your insurance. Unless you are deciding to stop providing services weeks, or even months, before your policy is set to expire, with a claims-made form on your policy you are risking significant exposure to risk. 

Benefits of Occurrence Form Coverage

Occurrence form coverage gives you the buffer that the real-world necessitates. Accidents and injuries come out of absolute nowhere, otherwise you could take steps to prevent them. That’s where personal trainer insurance comes in. When an accident occurs, you have coverage to protect your livelihood. 

Benefits of occurrence form coverage provisions in your insurance policy include:

  • Provides a safeguard for services provided near policy expiration.
  • Gives more time after a claim event for you to file your claim.
  • Provides more coverage by covering claim events, even if your policy has expired.
  • Is the industry-preferred choice for solid personal trainer insurance programs.

Occurrence form coverage in your policy will vary depending on the amount of time you have to still file a claim after the policy expires for it to still be considered. Typically you’ll have a year or more after expiration to still file a claim for a claim event that occurred during your policy term.

Examples of Occurrence Form vs. Claims-Made Coverage

Now that we’ve got a pretty good idea about what occurrence form coverage is and what it can do for your career, let’s look at an example of how this provision can really prove it’s usefulness.

Consider the Following All-Too-Plausible Example: a personal trainer is providing a lot of sessions over the winter holiday. In fact, clients have one-on-one sessions booked all the way to New Year’s Eve. The personal trainer has insurance but the policy is set to expire on December 31st at 11:59pm. The policy also has a claims-made provision. The personal trainer has a great session with all of their clients, including the very last one on December 31st. A few weeks into January, the client they had on December 31st lets them know that they were severely injured in their class because of one of the workouts they were instructed to do. Because of their injury, they have doctors visits, rehab, and will miss a significant amount of work. With their medical costs soaring, the client tells the trainer they have no choice but to file suit to help them recover. When the personal trainer calls his insurance company to file a claim, they’re told they can’t file any more claims since the policy has already expired. The personal trainer is then left having to pay all of the costs of the lawsuit completely out of their own pocket.

Pretty bleak, right? Well, that’s exactly what happens with a claims-made policy unless you jump through some very specific hoops and purchase additional policy provisions like a “tail”. With occurrence form, this event would be covered under the terms of the policy even though the policy had already expired because the claim event occurred before the expiration date. 

How to Make Sure Your Insurance Uses Occurrence Form

As you’re looking over all your options for personal trainer insurance, it is critical to make sure that your policy is using occurrence form coverage. Insure Fitness uses this type of coverage with all of our personal trainer insurance policies because we feel you shouldn’t lose coverage for an event that occurs during your policy term, just because the real-world delayed you in filing a claim before the policy expires. There’s simply too many variables with personal training and physical fitness. Some injuries take awhile to materialize or sometimes clients simply wait to inform you. Whatever the case, with claims-made coverage, this wait could mean you have to shoulder the entire burden of a claim’s cost yourself. 

If you aren’t sure whether a given company uses claims-made or occurrence form with their policies, just ask. Any insurance company worth their weight will take the time to walk you through the entire policy with a fully-licensed insurance agent. 

Great Coverage, Low Rates & Fantastic Benefits

Personal trainer insurance should cover your career for the long-haul with the appropriate protections for the modern world. That’s exactly what we strive for at Insure Fitness and it’s part of the reason our insurance program is rated so highly by personal trainers. To make sure you get the best return for the dollars you’re spending to get coverage, always look at the C-R-B: coverage, rate, and benefits.

Coverage is everything we’ve covered here. You need great coverage that’s actually useful in order to protect you and your career from an unfortunate event. 

Rates shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when comparing personal trainer insurance programs, but it should definitely be a factor. Low, annual rates with no hidden fees make our program a great value.

Benefits programs should be included with your insurance policy to help you maximize the value of the policy. We include a boatload of additional member benefits to help members get the best bang for their buck.

Get Full Insurance Coverage Online with Insure Fitness in a Few Minutes

At Insure Fitness Group, we have designed our entire program to be easy to use, easy to access, and easy to navigate. Our state-of-the-art member portal makes it seamless to apply, check out, and have full access to all of your important policy documents, all in one place. You can fill out our application in a few minutes and check out entirely online. 

If you still have questions about occurrence form coverage or any of the other provisions of our robust program made just for personal trainers, please reach out. You can talk to our fully-licensed agents about the entire policy and make sure you have answers to any questions you may have. 

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