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According to recent data from UK active, a non-profit organisation serving the UK’s fitness industry, one in seven people in the UK now have a gym membership – and many of them will avail of the services of a coach or personal trainer at some stage.
So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that there are now 62,000 fitness instructors working in the UK, more than 13,000 of which are registered personal trainers.
A little more surprising, though, is just how many of those PTs, instructors and coaches fail to take out suitable sports insurance before they begin working with their clients.
With data from the British Medical Journal indicating that more than 1 million people sustain sports and exercise-related injuries in the UK each year, the risk of a liability claim against a personal trainer or sports coach is a very real one.
Fortunately, public liability insurance for PTs and coaches isn’t too expensive – and if you use an unbiased price comparison site like CompareNI.com to compare quotes you could find a suitable policy at a competitive price.
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Sports Insurance: a rough-and-ready insurance guide
Is it true I can be sued if my client suffers an injury during a personal training session?
Yes, it is a possibility.
As a trained fitness professional you have a responsibility to ensure your clients remain safe and well as they work through the fitness regime you’ve put together for them, so if they do sustain an injury or become unwell they could argue that you are liable.
Of course, your client may not win the case, particularly if you performed a thorough risk assessment beforehand and kept the client’s age, state of health and physical abilities front-and-centre when putting together a training programme for them.
But even if you did all the right things, took all necessary precautions and were in no way at fault, a public liability suit would still be a very stressful experience, but it just might help to put your mind at ease if you knew that you had appropriate sports insurance in place.
Do gyms require self-employed PTs to have sports insurance?
It depends on the particular gym, but many do insist that all self-employed personal trainers and fitness instructors operating out of their facilities have an appropriate amount of public liability insurance in place.
How much public liability cover does a personal trainer need?
The minimum amount of cover is usually £1,000,000, but whether or not you should opt for more (£2,000,000 or £5,000,000 of public liability cover, for instance), will depend on a range of factors, such as how many clients you have, where you’re based and the types of clients you specialise in working with.
Do martial arts instructors need to take out sports insurance too?
If you’re a self-employed martial arts instructor it definitely would be advisable to take out a suitable public liability insurance policy, because if one of your students sustains an injury during a class you could be personally liable if they decide to sue.
Of course, if you’re employed as a full-time martial arts instructor then the gym or dojo that employs you will almost certainly have suitable liability insurance in place, in which case you probably won’t need to take out your own sports insurance policy.
If I’m a sports masseuse do I need to take out sports massage insurance?
It probably goes without saying that clients are usually less likely to sustain an injury during a massage that they are during a training session or workout, but there is still a small risk that you might face a liability claim at some point.
So if you’re a self-employed sports masseuse it is worth considering a sports massage insurance policy, because otherwise you could be personally liable if someone does file a public liability claim against you.
Does sports insurance cover sports equipment too?
Most sports insurance policies won’t cover the loss or damage of sports equipment as standard, but insurance companies will usually allow you to add sports equipment cover to your policy as an optional extra.