Do you need to renew your professional insurance?

Dave Horton, Director of ABT, explains why remembering to renew your beauty or hair insurance is a must.

When you join an organisation like ABT, and take out annual beauty therapy or hair insurance, it can be easy to let your membership lapse after 12 months. With busy lives and hectic working days, it's just not something you think about. Besides, you've not experienced any serious complaints or claims against you this year, so you don't really need to renew, right? Wrong!  

Whether you're seeing one client a week or 50, you need insurance to protect yourself and your business. Yet time and again, professionals convince themselves it's a waste of money, an added expense that they can do without. However,  spending a few pounds a year could save you hundreds of thousands in the long-run.

Hairdresser colouring clients hair in salon
If you use proprietary products, such as skin care, nail products, shampoos, colours or styling products, in some incidences these can cause reactions on some clients, for which you are responsible.
As a beauty therapist, hairdresser, nail tech or complementary therapist, you are working within a professional field and being paid for your services, regardless of where you work, be that home, in the salon or spa, or mobile. You are responsible for your clients' wellbeing whilst you are treating them and whilst they are on your premises or you are working in their home.

Furthermore, if you use proprietary products, such as skin care, nail products, shampoos, colours or styling products, in some incidences these can cause reactions on some clients, for which you are also responsible.

Remember, even if you cause injury to a client or damage to their property accidently, you would still be liable. Imagine spilling your nail polish or hair colour all over a client's designer handbag; could you afford to replace it?

Maybe it is because life gets in the way, or insurance is viewed as boring or too complicated to understand, but a surprising and concerning number of professionals do not have insurance, leaving them open to personally paying out claims.

What you may not realise is that claims can often run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Regardless of the ethical and moral reasons that you should be insured, from a financial perspective insurance is a must.

What insurance do you need?

You should be covered for Public Liability, such as a client tripping and injuring themselves on your premises, Product Liability, which covers you against reactions to products, and Treatment Risk Liability / Medical Malpractice, which will cover you against clients reporting an injury caused by you whilst you carry out a treatment.

There are a number of insurance providers offering cover for those working in our sector, and I recommend using a company that is a specialist in hair and beauty and really understands what you do.

It's also important that you choose the right policy for you. Don't underestimate the amount of insurance cover you will need. For example, ABT's policies includes €6.5 million each of Professional Liability Insurance, Public Liability Insurance, Product Liability Insurance, and Medical Malpractice/Treatment Risk Insurance.

What's more, should you get a complaint made against you, you will have the guidance of an experienced team of industry experts behind you to support and advise you.

red nail polish spilt on carpet
If you cause damage to a client's property accidently, you would still be liable; could you afford to replace it?
Whichever insurance provider you choose to go with, before you commit to purchasing insurance, check the policy wording and small print to ensure:

  • The policy is ‘claims occurring' wording. In my opinion you should steer clear of ‘claims made' wordings for this industry, as they tend not to give you long term protection after you stop the policy.
  • The package includes Treatments Risk or Medical Malpractice Insurance as well as Professional Liability Insurance, Public Liability Insurance, and Product Liability Insurance.
  • You are aware of exclusions, claims excesses, patch test requirements, extra charges and endorsements.
  • You can add new treatments to the policy as your skills grow.
Taking out adequate insurance is a must. Not only does it give you financial protection, but also gives you the peace of mind that should the worst happen, you're not on your own.

Dave Horton is Director of ABT, the industry's leading membership and insurance provider representing over 18,000 professionals. For more information