Everyone begins working in the fitness industry for different reasons. Maybe you want to help people reach their fitness goals, recover from sports injuries, or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Having a personal trainer liability waiver can be a small, yet important step to building your business, no matter what your motivation is.
In this article, we'll review what a liability waiver is, what personal trainer liability insurance is, and why having the two can help set your personal training business up for success.
A personal trainer liability waiver is a legal document that typically outlines your relationship with your clients, their expectation of you, and generally states that if anything goes wrong, you won't be held liable because your client understands the risks.
Some accredited personal trainer certification programs may review waivers with you at some point in your personal trainer education program. You also can check them out for yourself — there are several boilerplate waivers available online for download or reference.
Not all states allow liability waivers so it’s a good idea to check based on your business and location. Additionally, to be sure that all of the legal language is up-to-date and current, you should consider talking with a lawyer to review the waiver that you decide to use.
There are two ways you can deliver your liability waiver to clients. You can either print it out and have them review and sign it in person, or you can have an electronic copy they can agree to and sign.
Whichever way you decide to present your clients with the waiver, it's typically a good idea to make a copy to keep for your records.
Having a personal trainer liability waiver may seem like commonplace to you, but what about personal trainer liability insurance? If you haven’t considered small business insurance, it may seem unnecessary.
But think of the other insurance coverages you likely have: car insurance, health insurance, homeowners insurance, and more. Your business deserves protection too!
Here's why: Even though you've taken the time to study human anatomy to understand your clients' bodies, you can't predict what their minds will lead them to do. There's a good chance that a client may misunderstand directions and get hurt, or inadvertently use a piece of equipment incorrectly and damage property.
Even if you take all the necessary steps to prevent accidents from happening, a client could still sue you to help cover the costs of medical bills or property repair or replacement.
That brings us back to personal trainer liability insurance. It’s actually a bundle of different types of business insurance policies you can purchase separately, each of which can help protect you and your business from expensive claims and lawsuits, depending on the policy.
Let’s review two of the most common types of business insurance policies.
General liability insurance is coverage that could help with events like third-party accidents, property damage, bodily injury, or more. To get an idea of how you could use a general liability policy, let's look at an example.
You're at a local gym, taking a break between clients. When you aren't looking, your next client trips over the dumbbells you laid out and prepared for their session. Your client breaks their wrist and sues you for their medical bills and also for the cost of the sessions they bought and haven't yet used. Because they're hurt, they can't schedule sessions anytime soon.
This isn't something you could have predicted! But it happened.
Without general liability insurance coverage, you could face paying your client's medical bills and refunding their training sessions out-of-pocket. Especially if you're starting out in your personal trainer business, those fees could put you in unexpected debt.
With a general liability policy, though, you could be covered for your client's medical bills and the requested session fees, up to your policy's limit.
The good news is that our general liability policies start for as low as $19.58*, meaning that for less than the typical price of some training equipment, you could protect your business from potential claims made.
But what about other situations? Say a client were to sue you for negligence or maybe another personal trainer sues you for copyright infringement. In cases like those, you could be protected by professional liability insurance.
This type of coverage acts a bit differently than general liability insurance, because it helps protect your business from different types of risks.
A professional liability insurance policy could help to protect your business from paying for expensive claims and lawsuits resulting from things like acts of negligence, copyright infringement, libel or slander, or more.
Let's review an example to see how professional liability insurance could come into play for a personal trainer.
You've been training a client for a few sessions and during one training session, you encourage them to push themselves. After all, this is the type of training your client told you they preferred. Unfortunately, your client passes out while training and gets injured.
Your client was dehydrated, but they blame you for their passing out, claiming you were negligent in pushing them beyond their comfort levels. They want a refund for the session and for you to reimburse them for their medical bills.
Without a professional liability policy, you may be required to pay their medical expenses and refund the cost of the training session out-of-pocket. While it may not be a lot of money, when you're building a personal trainer business, every little bit helps.
With professional liability insurance though, you could be covered for the cost of the session reimbursement, medical bills, and lawyer fees, up to your policy's limit.
Fortunately, the process of getting personal trainer liability insurance is easy. In less than 10 minutes, you can see your coverage options. Click here to use our free quote comparison tool to see what policies may be available for your business.
Now that you've learned a bit more about what a liability waiver is and how personal trainer insurance could help you, let's talk about how combining the two could benefit your business.
It's likely that your potential clients won't know you have personal trainer insurance, unless you advertise it on your website or promotional materials. But if you're giving them a waiver to sign before training with them, then showing you're insured is a great way to show you're serious about possible risks.
Making the potential risks clear to clients can protect you, sure, but it also shows them just how serious you are about your business. When you run your business professionally, you can attract new clients and retain the ones you have, especially if you're competing against other businesses that aren't doing their due diligence.
For many personal trainers beginning their journeys as business owners, the goal is to build a client list and help those people make meaningful strides while hitting their goals. But while you pay attention to their training plans to protect their goals and interests, it helps to protect your own, too.
Combining your personal trainer insurance with a personal trainer liability waiver can help give your business extra protection from potential risks, so you can focus on what it is you do best.
To learn more about other ways to protect your business as it grows, check out Simply U, our blog for business owners.
* Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January-December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
I’ve told stories since I learned to talk and written since I could hold a pen. As a small business owner myself - I'm a freelance writer and yoga teacher - I love contributing to the entrepreneurship community in different ways (including writing for Simply Business!). When I’m not drafting articles for SB, I can be found on my yoga mat, perusing an indie bookstore, and writing (with my cat nearby of course).
Allison writes on a number of topics such as small business leadership, business structures, and employee training.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.