"I wonder if I need insurance?" is one of those passing thoughts many health coaches ponder at one point or another. But for most, it's easily kicked down the to-do list. After all, there's more exciting things to place your time and attention on—like how many lives you're going to change, and how good it will feel to earn a living doing what you love.
Understandable. But here's the deal: Kind of like having ink in the printer, an insurance policy to cover your health coaching business isn't a big deal until it's a really big deal.
So yes, insurance is certainly one of those things no one wants or plans to use. But if you need it? Having a policy in place before something unexpected happens can be the difference between deep breaths into one of those crinkly brown paper bags, and calmly punching your insurance agent's number into your phone, resting in the peace of mind that you—and your business—are protected.
Why health coaches need insurance
As a health coach, insurance is important whether you operate fully online by connecting with clients digitally, or if you have a physical office space where you meet clients in person. In both cases, there's material, immaterial, and financial value to your business. The material value of your business—office space, furniture, tech, and more—is the easiest to see. But there's also the immaterial value of the services you provide to your clients as a health coach. And of course, it's worth something—it's your livelihood and has an asset price.
Insurance is key to protect all of these assets from losses due to unexpected events. What kind of events? Everything from client data that gets leaked (yes, it happens) to accidents including falls and other injuries, a pipe bursting, and more. That way, you can get back to business changing lives and earning money with your health coaching business as quickly as possible, and spend less time trying to deal with unexpected challenges that arise. (Because if you're in the health coaching business long enough, a few of these kinds of challenges are likely to arise.)
Protecting your health coaching practice
Figuring out what type of liabilities you need to worry about as a health coach can be... overwhelming. For many health and wellness coaches, navigating a maze of legal jargon and paperwork doesn't sound like a fun way to spend an afternoon. So it's no wonder why many health coaches plan to "get around" to setting up an insurance plan—without ever really getting around to it.
The good news? Getting business insurance coverage as a health coach doesn't have to be overly complicated or time consuming. With a better understanding of the different types of liabilities (there's more than just general liability insurance), you can feel confident knowing that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure your health coaching business is secure.
As health coaching becomes an increasingly popular career choice, industry experts are creating insurance for health coaches tailored to your business. Some agencies offer health coach insurance packages that make it easy to get coverage that pertains specifically to the most common insurance claims health coaches might face.
There's also the option of putting together your own plan—which requires understanding the main categories of insurance products you should consider. Even if you end up getting a specialized health coaching insurance policy, it's a good idea to be familiar with the following types of coverage and policy terms to make sure your plan includes them.
- Professional liability insurance: Professional liability (sometimes called “malpractice”) is a risk that a health coach could face if their advice is incorrect or if a client suffers a negative outcome from their services. Health coaches should carry professional liability insurance to protect themselves from any potential legal or financial consequences.
- General liability insurance: General liability is similar to professional liability—with some important differences in terms of what types of risks each protects you from. According to The Hartford, "General liability covers physical risks, such as bodily injuries and property damage. Professional liability insurance covers more abstract risks, such as errors and omissions in the services your business provides.” For health coaches, the lines between these two different types of liability can be blurred, which is why it's important to explore both options to ensure your insurance policy provides adequate coverage.
- Product liability insurance: Product liability is the risk of a health coach being held responsible for harm caused by any products they recommend or sell. Health coaches should be aware of any potential risks associated with the products they recommend and ensure that they are providing accurate information.
- Personal liability insurance: Personal liability is the risk of a health coach being held responsible for any harm that they cause to another person. This could include physical injury, emotional distress, or other damages. Health coaches should be aware of their potential liability and take steps to mitigate it, such as maintaining professional boundaries and avoiding any activities with a high risk of injury.
- Cyber liability insurance: Cyber liability is the risk of a health coach being held responsible for any harm that is caused by a data breach or other cyber attack on their systems. In addition to insurance, coaches should take steps to ensure that their systems are secure, such as using strong passwords and regularly backing up their data.
The top insurance companies that cover health coaches
Choosing the best insurance policy for your health coaching business really comes down to the specific needs and attributes of your business. For example, if you're a virtual company without a physical office space, it might make sense to prioritize cyber liability insurance over general liability insurance.
Below, we've compiled a list of the top companies who offer insurance for health coaches, organized by the regions they serve. This will help kickstart your insurance search by providing some key details to narrow down your choices, but it's important to talk to a few companies offering policies to determine what's best for you.
- CM&F: This insurance company offers liability insurance tailored specifically for health coaches. Their Health Coach Liability Insurance policy "is designed to protect your assets, license and reputation," and covers many of the features outlined above.
- Alternative Balance: Alternative Balance offers coverage for over 750 types of industries, including fitness instructors, yoga instructors, nutritional consultants, life coaches, health & wellness coaches, massage therapists and many more. Liability insurance coverage starts at $239/yr and goes up to $269/yr, depending on how many hours you work per week.
- HPSO: This insurance company offers professional liability and license protection insurance for health coaches. Their policy covers defense costs, information privacy (HIPAA) fines and penalties, deposition representation, and more.
- Hiscox: Hiscox offers small business insurance that can provide general liability, professional liability, cyber security, and medical malpractice coverage for health coaches.
- GEICO: This insurance company's policy provides wellness and fitness professionals (which includes health coaches) professional liability insurance that covers defense counsel, HIPAA violation defense, wage loss/deposition expenses, and more.
- Zensurance: Zensurance offers a "Life Coach" policy that's designed to meet the needs of a variety of wellness professionals, including health coaches. Coverage options include professional, commercial general, commercial property, and cyber liability insurance.
- UK Coaching: This insurance company has a fitness insurance policy for health and wellness coaches that covers public and product liability, malpractice and professional indemnity, personal accident, and more.
A final tip: Get it in writing
As a health coach, having an insurance policy in place is an important first step toward protecting yourself and your business. The next step: Making sure your clients are aware of the important policies and FAQs as it relates to potential risks. One of the best ways to do this is by adding a section about your insurance coverage to your customer contract for new clients to review and sign. This is a simple way to help both you and your clients rest easy knowing that you are both protected.
Additionally, having information about your insurance policy in your customer agreement also helps provide your clients with an extra layer of security, trust, and assurance in your services. It shows them that you are professional and that you take your business seriously—providing an extra layer of "proof" that their safety, health, and well-being are your top priority.
In the same way an insurance policy takes the stress out of potential calamities in your business, a customer relationship management (CRM) tool eliminates the "grunt work" of running a coaching business. Designed specially for coaches, Practice allows you to safely store documents such as client intake forms, communicate directly with clients, manage payments, schedule sessions, and more. Start your free trial today.