The Need for Liability Insurance When Practicing Massage Therapy

Massage liability insurance is not only a best practice standard within the industry today, but rather a necessity. This article will discuss the reasons why you need massage therapy liability insurance, what types of insurance coverage you should get, where to find insurance providers and the questions you should be asking of the insurance company.

Why You Need Insurance When Practicing Massage?

In today’s litigious society one of the worst things that can happen to you is either a malpractice suit or a personal injury lawsuit targeted towards you personally or against your business.

One lawsuit could financially ruin you or your company. Furthermore, if not handled properly the litigation could ruin your reputation therefore ruining your career as well.

The reasons you need insurance include:

  • Mandatory for state board licensing requirements
  • Protection against malpractice suits
  • Protection against personal injury liability suits
  • Protect personal assets
  • Employer or school requirement
  • Protection of future career earnings
  • Peace of mind to you and your clients
  • Enhanced professional reputation
  • Low-cost protection for assets, personal liability, and malpractice liability

These are the major reasons why you should not continue a career in massage therapy without obtaining proper insurance coverage for you and/or your business.

This coverage should be started as soon as you start your training program unless otherwise advised by your particular college or educational training Institute. Some schools provide liability insurance while you attend their program.

Note: If you are going to start your business, speak to a CPA/Attorney about how to structure your business in a way that protects you personally from lawsuits brought on your business. The same is true if you are going to accept a contract position as a massage therapist. Contractors receive form 1099 at the end of the year instead of a W2 form that full time massage therapy employees receive. As a contractor, you are generally required to get your insurance. If you are employed full time, talk to your employer about insurance. Chances are the employer has a blanket insurance policy that covers you as their employee as well.

Do You Need Liability Insurance During Training?

Some schools may provide malpractice and/or personal liability insurance while you attend their training facilities. If this coverage is offered and included in the price of your training program it is a good start towards covering your earning potential.

Malpractice and personal liability insurance are the two most important insurance coverages that you will need the moment that you start a training program or employment with any company for massage therapy.

This goes for all professions that involve client/patient interaction, especially medical related professions like physicians.

Types of Liability Insurance Coverage

Massage therapy liability insurance is a broad term that could cover many different types of insurance you may consider during your career in massage therapy. Essentially there are three main types of insurance that you will need to have. These include professional liability, general liability, and business property liability insurances. These are essential to protect yourself and your business.

Professional liability insurance – includes insurance to cover you personally and professionally against malpractice suits that aim to target the basis of your career. These suits will call into question whether you are an effective massage therapist and able to perform professionally. Without proper insurance this could be a career killer.

General liability insurance – this insurance protects you and your business against general litigation including slip and fall type accidents, premises and operations, and product liability coverage. Be sure that your insurer includes product liability for the oils and products that you will be using on your clients. This insurance usually covers theft or vandalism to your property.

Other Insurance Options – there are many types of insurance to protect you and your business besides the two mentioned above.

  • Property Insurance – if you own the building that you are in, you will want to insure its full replacement cost and not the market value or purchase price.
  • Business income – this insurance will replace a portion of the income from the business for up to 12 months depending on coverage due to a variety of reasons. Flood or earthquake insurance may also be necessary for this protection.
  • Business auto – you will need this especially if you intend to be a traveling massage therapist working within other people’s homes.
  • Workers compensation/Disability – if you plan on having employees you will need workers compensation insurance or disability insurance for yourself should you be an independent contractor.
  • Employee dishonesty – protects you and your business from theft of money by an employee.
  • Employment practices liability – if you plan on owning your own business and hiring employees this will protect you from violations of state and federal employment laws.

These other insurance options are available depending on the complexity of your independent practice or whether you plan to start a business and on what scale the business operates.

Note: Seek a CPA / Attorney as you progress in your career, particularly if and when you start a business. The investment in professional advice is well worth your time and money.

Insurance Resources

The type of insurance you get will depend on your specific individual needs and whether you are an independent contractor or an owner of the massage therapy or spa business. Liability insurance can be purchased through a variety of sources.

National Insurance Companies

You can obtain insurance coverage through most large insurance companies such as State Farm, Allstate or National Life. However these companies may not provide specific malpractice insurance for massage therapists. Should you choose your own insurance company be sure that all your insurance coverage needs are met.

Association Insurance Providers

The alternate to using a specific insurance company is to use a massage therapy industry association’s insurance coverage provided through membership with the Association. A list of associations and their insurance offerings can be found here.

Common Insurance Questions

What is an Adequate Amount of Insurance?

Standard coverage for massage therapists should include a minimum of $2 million per occurrence and up to $6 million coverage annually for malpractice and professional liability insurance.

The policy should also include up to $2 million general liability insurance and $2 million product liability insurance. Lastly, ensure whether ‘claims made’ or ‘occurrence’ insurance is right for your specific situation.

Who is the Best Insurance Provider?

The best insurance provider will depend on your personal needs. The best provider could be your current insurance provider but more often than not it will be insurance provided through an industry association.

The reason why industry Association insurance coverage is better is because it is all encompassing and provides more coverage in more areas than the standard policy from a national provider.

Even with the cost of membership to these associations the added benefits and insurance coverage will more than make up for the added cost.

What If You Don’t Have Insurance?

Folly! Probably one of the biggest mistakes you could make in your career. It would take only one slip and fall or malpractice suit to cause financial and career disaster that would be catastrophic and possibly even unrecoverable from. Furthermore most states require insurance for licensing. You can’t play if you don’t pay!

Summary

Liability insurance is a necessity that you cannot forgo if you want to practice as a massage therapist. It is also not the only insurance coverage that you might want to consider during the course of your career depending whether you are an independent contractor or a business owner with employees.

The most important thing for you at this point is to understand the need for insurance, the various types of insurance, and then reflect carefully on your personal situation to determine the type and amount of insurance coverage you need. This process is called self-assessment.

Once you have self-assessed your specific situation and individual needs, you will most often get the best insurance coverage through an industry association. But that said, it is best to compare it to other national insurance providers such as the ones recommended above. Needless to say, assuming credibility and reputation are similar across the board, go with the one that provides the best coverage at the most economical rates.


Want to Multitask? Watch this article in video format or simply play it in the background and listen to it while you work away

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Business - Other
3 comments on “The Need for Liability Insurance When Practicing Massage Therapy
  1. Tiffany says:

    Do you need a different type of liability insurance if you’re a mobile business?

  2. Life happens and while you can’t always avoid the outcome, you can get compensation. Lawyers have the experience and knowledge in dealing with the insurance companies and the courts. It allows you to recover and find some normalcy until the case gets settled. So it’s the best bet to hire an experienced attorney.

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