General/Professional liability insurance for fitness instructors and personal trainers providing individual or small group instruction.
Best-in-Industry Fitness Instructor / Personal Trainer Insurance Program
- Get instant quote and enroll online 24/7 and print your proof of coverage documents and certificates for facility owners
- Liability limits options range from $500,000 to $5,000,000 each occurrence limit
- Broadening endorsement adds important coverage for Professional Liability and legal defense for sex abuse / molestation
- No certification or membership is required in order to qualify
- One- and two-year coverage options available
- Rates as low as $179 for a $1,000,000 limit of protection
Please click here for current limits of liability and annual premiums.
Instructors must be at least 18 years old, U.S. based, and provide individual or small group instruction including personal training, aerobic, Pilates cardio kickboxing, fitness boot camp dance, yoga, and other common forms of fitness instruction.
Instructors under age 18; sports skills (see separate program); coaching organized, competitive athletic teams; certified athletic trainers; and employee of school, college, or university. Coverage is not provided for ownership or operation of a fitness facility (see separate program). For a complete list of exclusions, see plan description.
Most Common Liability Exposures Faced by Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers and How to Avoid Liability
- Failure to Warn of Risks of Participation: In many states, a fitness instructor does not need to be proven negligent to lose a lawsuit. In some cases, it’s enough for an injured client to merely allege that he/she wasn’t warned of a risk and did not give consent to be subjected to those risks. A well-drafted waiver/release agreement should include adequate risk warning language.
- Negligent Review of Medical History and Assessment: Personal trainers should conduct a thorough medical history and review each client’s needs and goals before designing an appropriate exercise or fitness program. Trainers should take into account not only the age of the client, but also the medical history, including any injuries and medical conditions. In certain situation where clients may be at moderate to high risk, the fitness instructor should require physician consent and clearance. This is especially true if the client has a history of heart disease. An initial screening and assessment can help to establish the current fitness levels of the client. Personal trainers should be careful not to allow their clients to perform overly rigorous exercises before they are ready or after returning from injury.
- Negligent Supervision: Fitness instructors should not allow clients to perform unsupervised exercises where they can injured due to inattention resulting from use of smart phones, tablets, or reading. Instructors should exert close supervision over individual clients and small groups by being in close proximity and able to recognize and protect clients against hazards.
- Negligent Instruction: Personal trainers and fitness instructors should be able to prove that they have had adequate training via certification from a recognized and respected source. Fitness instructors should provide clear instructions and reinforcement on the proper form to use while performing exercises and using machines and equipment. Fitness trainers should document in client files that such instruction was provided. Trainers should be careful to gradually lead their clients to higher fitness goals instead of pushing them too hard. It is important to recognize the difference between exercise-induced soreness vs actual strain. A good fitness instructor should modify the plan to help the client work through minor injuries.
- Facilities Hazards: Personal trainers using such facilities owned by others still have a responsibility to monitor such facilities to protect their clients against unsafe conditions and defective equipment. Common causes of client injury include slip-and-fall accidents on wet areas, improperly maintained equipment and other hazards.
- Equipment Hazards: The most common type of equipment-related mishaps are treadmill falls, exercise ball falls, elastic stretch band hits to face, dropping free weights on feet, and pinches between metal weights or plates.
- Waiver/Release Agreement: The client services agreement should include a waiver/release agreement to excuse the fitness instructor from ordinary negligence in the event of an injury. Waiver/release agreements often result in an immediate lawsuit dismissal in the adult context if the waiver/release agreement has been intelligently drafted and avoids many of the common pitfalls. In addition, these agreements should also include an explicit risk warning of the possibility of permanent disability and death. For more information on well-drafted waiver/release agreements, see Are Waiver Release Agreements Worth the Paper They Are Written On?
- Contractual Assumption of Risk of Facility Owner: Personal trainers should be aware of any independent contractor agreements they sign with health clubs or facility owners. These agreements often include heavy-handed indemnification/hold harmless provisions that require the personal trainer to assume the liability that would ordinarily belong to the facility, even if the facility is 100% negligent. Such an outcome would be unfair to the fitness instructor and negotiations should be attempted to modify any unfavorable provisions. This contractual assumption of liability is often covered by the contractual liability coverage under a General Liability policy.
- Failure to Preserve Evidence Immediately After Injury: After a client injury occurs, personal trainers must move quickly to document applicable evidence by completing an incident report form and taking photos where applicable. The exact type of exercise that was being performed, including any machine or equipment settings and the exact cause of any malfunction should be documented.
- Failure to Maintain Detailed Client Records: In addition to the initial medical history and assessment, personal trainers should maintain records of the initial workout and any subsequent changes. This includes all observations, instructions, warnings, limitations, progress notes, and injury information. The client service contract should also be maintained, including the all important waiver/release form.
- Sale of Herbal and Dietary Supplements: Many personal trainers offer nutritional advice and sell dietary supplements, which can be risky if special training has not been received in these areas. Only registered dietitians should recommend or supply supplements. Fitness instructors who sell supplements face a product liability risk. Many liability insurance carriers specifically exclude the sale of supplements from coverage.
The Need For High Quality/High Limit Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer Insurance
The goal of fitness instructors and personal trainers is to assist their clients in reaching individual fitness goals. It’s a personally gratifying profession, but one that carries risks. Fitness professionals know the importance of balancing goals with safety. General Liability insurance for personal trainers provides the balance needed for growing a business while protecting business and personal assets against devastating lawsuits.
Your clients turn to you for expert advice on health and fitness. Unfortunately, if a client believes the fitness program or exercises you recommend resulted in an injury, they can sue. Such lawsuits have increased in recent years, with the result too often being substantial financial settlements.
All fitness coaches and personal trainers are at risk for allegations of misconduct and negligence – sometimes when you might least expect it. Accidents and injuries can quickly spiral into liability claims that can cost many thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend, even if the suit is found to be without merit. Personal Trainer insurance covers your legal costs and any resulting settlements or judgments. It only takes one liability claim to derail your business and career and cripple you financially.
What too many personal trainers and fitness professionals know is that the liability coverage provided by the gyms, health clubs, YMCA s, etc. that employ them almost never provides sufficient personal insurance protection. A fitness instructor working as independent contractor in a facility he/she doesn’t own or aren’t named as the primary leaseholder needs Fitness Instructor insurance. Personal Trainer insurance offers all the necessary protection for employed, self-employed, full-time or part-time fitness professionals.
Personal trainers and fitness instructors can follow all the above mentioned risk management precautions and still be sued and personally wiped out in a lawsuit. That is why it is absolutely essential to carry high-limit, high-quality General Liability insurance.
Not All Fitness Instructor Liability Policies Are Created Equal
High-limit General Liability coverage protects against lawsuits alleging bodily injury, property damage, personal injury (slander, libel, and invasion of privacy), and advertising injury (misleading claims about quality of competitor services). However, the following coverage enhancements should be considered:
- Professional Liability: Unlike General Liability ,which covers lawsuits primarily alleging bodily injury or property damage, Professional Liability covers other types of lawsuits arising out of the delivery of your personal trainer services. Examples include claims alleging pure economic damages from not reaching fitness goals, loss of a scholarship, loss of a modeling contract, or loss of a professional sports opportunity.
- Abuse/Molestation: Because of locker room situations and the close proximity of the supervising trainer to the client, personal trainers are sometimes targets for allegations of inappropriate comments, inappropriate touching, and inappropriate sexual relationships. For that reason, it may be prudent to have coverage to defend against allegations. Our policy form offers a $100,000 Abuse, Molestation, Harassment or Sexual Conduct Defense Cost Reimbursement benefit.