As a massage therapist, you are literally giving "hands-on" treatment to clients to help relieve them of stress, facilitate healing and provide them with an overall sense of wellness. The service you provide is priceless, yet there are risks involved. In order to minimise any risks to you and your professional practice, you need to be armed with the right insurance coverage. What insurance products does a massage therapist need?
There are five basic types of insurance a massage therapist needs in order to be fully protected:
1. Malpractice Insurance
A type of professional liability insurance, malpractice insurance protects your massage business from a potential lawsuit that a client may file against you due to negligence or malpractice, which resulted in their injury or loss of property. Whether the client sustained an injury while receiving treatment in your work premises, for which they must seek ongoing medical treatment, or brought an unwarranted lawsuit against your company, malpractice insurance will protect you from dire financial consequences as a result of such claim.
2. Public Liability Insurance
Sometimes, not even the sincerest apology can soften the heart of a person in pain and distress, and they could end up suing you for failure to prevent the accident from happening in your business premises. Let's say you've just mopped the floor of your clinic when a client slips and sustains a fracture, which requires an expensive medical procedure. Your public liability insurance will help cover the medical expenses you owe the client or any settlement reached in court.
3. Products Liability Insurance
This type of insurance protects you in the event that any products sold by you for therapeutic use fail and cause bodily injury or property damage. Note, however, that it does not cover products produced, sold or distributed outside of the confines of your therapeutic consultation. For example if you create a special massage oil blend and use it in therapy and/or sell it directly to your clients, you are covered by your product liability insurance. However, you are not covered if the product is sold or distributed by a third-party entity.
4. Professional Indemnity Insurance
If you run your own massage practice, your risk of facing negligence claims is higher, no matter how diligent you may be in delivering your service. At some point, a client from the past will present you with a lawsuit that alleges your massage treatment has worsened their condition and financial situation, as they had to quit their job to receive ongoing treatment. Your professional indemnity insurance will cover the complainant's medical expenses as well as other damages the court orders you to pay.
5. Commercial Property Insurance
Here's another important insurance product to consider if you have your own massage business since your day-to-day operations rely heavily on a lot of equipment, such as massage tables, towels, creams and oils, storage units, cash registers and computer units, among others. Should a fire break out, or a natural calamity strikes, and topple your clinic and all of its contents, your commercial property insurance policy will take effect and help you recover your loss.
Check the Fine Print
Most insurance companies offer their clients bundled insurance, which combines two or more insurance products. It will cost you less than an individual policy as companies set their bundled products at discount prices. However, don't be too quick in closing the deal just because the price is attractive.
Make sure to read the fine print carefully before affixing your signature to the document. In fact, why not ask a lot of questions first before deciding which insurance provider to go for? In doing so, you'll know exactly what type of coverage your massage business needs. Consider asking the following:
- Does the insurance company offer legal protection for charges of sexual misconduct? If so, for how much? Remember, spurious claims of sexual misconduct are often made, so don't overlook this.
- Do they offer legal protection in the event you should have to appear before a disciplinary board?
- Does the insurance company cover your massage therapy modality?
- What is the upper limit of the company's public and products liability insurance? Some insurance companies give you a choice, usually $5 million or $10 million.
- If you teach massage therapy to students, does the policy offer student coverage?
Because your massage therapist insurance only covers you as a practitioner, you may need additional business insurance if you are wholesaling or retailing related or other products. Check with your insurance company and see if this can be provided as part of your package.
Get competitive quotes from reputable insurance companies and you will find that it is far more reasonably priced than you might imagine. Consider using a massage therapy insurance company recommended by the Massage & Myotherapy Australia (MMA). The cost of insurance premiums vary from state to state, so check with a practitioner insurance company in your area and find out what the rates are for the area where you will be practising therapeutic massage.