Insurance is a MUST for practitioners and coaches alike, no matter how big or small your business is. It should be counted as one of the primary to-do’s as you are setting up your new practice and be in place before you begin seeing clients.
There are many factors that should be considered when choosing an insurance plan for your online business. Every health or coaching business and owner are unique and insurance plans are NOT a one-size-fits-all option.
It is important to understand that plans for online and remote workers often have different stipulations than plans that are set up for clinical or in-person consultations.
If you are an existing practitioner or coach who sees clients in a clinical setting and you already have insurance in place, you can’t assume that your current plan covers you for online consultations, especially if you are working with clients who are outside of your province/state or country.
You should inform your company of your intent to move online.
Here are some general things that you should consider when choosing an insurance company/policy. Always speak to your insurance company and your lawyer to ensure that your own specific needs and requirements are taken into account.
Where do you live and where do the majority of your clients live?
Laws and regulations regarding professional designations, giving health advice, and professional/general liability vary from country to country and even between states and provinces.
Some insurance companies will have a limit on the amount of business income you can generate outside of your home state/province or country.
Be wary of wrongly interpreting clauses that state “international coverage”. This coverage is generally designed to protect you while you are working with clients/ patients who are not living in the same country as you, but it often does not extend to you leaving your country of origin and practicing while traveling or (for example) leading a seminar at a conference.
Therefore, if you are looking to leave the winter behind and work from your laptop on a tropical beach for 6 months a year, do your due diligence and don’t assume you are covered.
What is your professional designation?
Professional/general liability is most often limited to the scope of practice that you are licensed/registered/certified for.
For instance, if you are a personal trainer or yoga teacher who wants to add a nutrition or supplement component to your program you would need to ensure that you produce any additional certifications that your insurance company may require as proof of expertise. Most companies would then cover these supplemental modalities under an extension within your main policy.
Another example might be if you are a Naturopathic dr or nurse who offers IV treatments. This may be something that you can have added on as an extension to a base insurance policy but would not otherwise be covered.
Likewise, those with professional designations such as doctor, nurse, chiropractor, dietician, physiotherapist, etc would need to check with both their regulatory boards and their insurance companies if they wanted to incorporate an element into their online program that was not squarely within their scope of practice.
It goes without saying that when it comes to things like therapy, diagnoses, and health claims regarding cures or healing, you need to be cognisant of what your designation, legal practice limitations, insurance company, and additional laws of your country, state, or province permit.
Type of Insurance Required
What types of insurance should you invest in?
Professional liability / Errors & Omissions insurance provides protection for any loss sustained because of the rendering or failure to render professional services
Some of the things that you may want to ensure are included in your insurance policy are:
- Miscellaneous malpractice
- Legal expenses
- General commercial liability ( for any office space/commercial location)
- Product sales (such as supplements)
- Cyber Security & Privacy Liability
- Extensions for things like meal prep/ food demos and additional modalities as needed, such as hypnotherapy, yoga/pilates, meditation, mindfulness, etc.
How much liability insurance is recommended?
Liability insurance generally ranges from $1,000,000- $5,000,000 depending on your individual needs and risks.
To know which level is right for you and what additional inclusions you might need for your own unique situation, speak to your lawyer or insurance broker.
Where should you start?
If you don’t know where to start in terms of understanding what insurance you need for your business or which company to go with, start by asking your membership alliance or regulatory board.
They are most likely connected to one or more insurance companies and you may also receive a discount on your policy if you decide to go with a company they recommend. Your regulatory boards usually have specific requirements concerning the amount or type of insurance you must carry. They would also have access to legal resources or be able to recommend legal resources that could help you with your decision.
If you are not a part of an alliance or regulatory board ask those who are in your profession and who are in the same geographic area for suggestions.
This should help you narrow down your options before contacting specific companies.
What information will an insurance company require from me?
Insurance companies will ask for information and proof of the following types of information to help them assess what type of policy and coverage you require.
- Training, Education, and Experience
- Professional memberships/regulatory boards
- Annual and Projected Revenue
- All Services Provided
It is important to take the time to thoroughly research your insurance options to make sure that you find the best solution for your individual business needs.
Insurance is something that everyone hopes they will never have to use but if you do you want to make sure that it’s got everything you require to protect you, your clients, and your business assets.