Therapist insurance advice

Insurance for therapists and therapy practices

The rising popularity of alternative, complementary and holistic health treatment has led to more and more therapists setting up their own healthcare practices.

With society becoming increasingly litigious, it is imperative that you and your business are fully covered should somebody make a claim against you. In this article we’ll discuss the various types of insurance available.

Is therapist insurance compulsory?

No, it is not compulsory, however as a therapist you are advised to join a professional association or governing body for your modality and many of these organisations insist on members having insurance in place before they will accept your application.

Also, members of the public are becoming more informed on how to go about choosing a therapist and common advice is to check if insurance policies are in place before booking an appointment. Therefore, to run a successful and safe practice you are strongly advised to cover yourself for all events which may lead to a claim.

What types of insurance do I need for my therapy business?

You will be presented with a number of different insurance options when setting up your therapy practice to cover you for damages. These are typically termed: ‘Public Liability Insurance’, ‘Professional Indemnity Insurance’, ‘Medical Malpractice Insurance’ and ‘Employers Liability Insurance’.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance covers accidental bodily injury by you or your business and also covers any damage to third party property (i.e. causing damage to a client’s or member of the public’s possessions or property while you are practising). Your insurer should be made aware of the type of therapy practice you run as this can affect your premiums and policy terms. Therapists involved with physical manipulation such as Chiropractors and Massage Therapists would require this type of insurance.

Public liability insurance policies will generally not cover you for claims arising from advice.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional indemnity insurance covers claims arising from advice. Professional indemnity is for small businesses who provide specialist advice and policies provide cover for such events as unintentional breach of confidence. Psychotherapists and Counsellors would require this type of insurance.

Medical Malpractice Insurance

Medical malpractice insurance is a combination of both public liability and professional indemnity insurance and covers claims made for bodily injury, mental and psychological damage, physical procedures, advice, illness and disease or death of any patient whereby the insured person has been negligent in their treatment.

Many insurers offer this policy using the term ‘combined malpractice and professional liability insurance’.

Employers Liability Insurance

If you employ anyone for your business you must have employers liability insurance. Even if you’re employing someone on a one-off or temporary period this policy must be in place. Employers liability insurance covers the cost of compensation for injury or illness sustained to employees on or off the premises while on business. This policy will not cover claims made against you or a third party. For this cover you’ll require public liability insurance.

Employers liability insurance must be for a minimum of £5million and your certificate should be displayed where your employees can see it. If this insurance is not in place, the Health and Safety Executive can impose fines of up to £2,500 per day.

Other therapy insurance

Other insurances you should take into account include Business Premises Insurance, Contents and Fixings Insurance and Stock Insurance.

Business Premises Insurance – If you own rather than rent your practice premises then the building will require protection in the same way as your home. You will find this insurance is compulsory.

Contents and Fixings Insurance – For many therapists, renting a room within a building is the common way to set up a practice. While it is the owner of the premises who is responsible for the building insurance, this will not cover your fittings and furniture. Consider at what cost to replace everything in your rented space and then you’ll understand the need for this type of policy.

Stock Insurance – Some contents insurance policies may cover you for stock but you should check with your insurer. If stock is not covered you’ll require a separate policy to replace anything that is damaged or stolen.

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