You take pride in your work and the upmost care of your clients and workspace, but no matter how meticulous and careful you are, accidents happen. Whether the fault lies with you or your client when things go awry, the responsible party is you. Here, we quizzed insurance pros to find out scenarios that could put you in financial jeopardy and how coverage can be your saving grace.
Scenario #1: A Client Sprains Her Ankle When Dismounting Your Table - Whether you’ve signed a lease or rented a space in a shop, when it comes to customers slipping, tripping or falling on your premises on the way to, during or after their treatments, you’re on the hook, says Natalea Platt, an Insurtec customer service representative. Don’t have a general (premise) liability policy? Expect to pay up. That means, your client’s medical bills, time off of work, pain and suffering, disability, and legal fees. “When a client has an injury while under the care of the professional, that professional is responsible for all costs associated with rectifying the injury,” explains Heather Alves, director of Insurance Plus.
Scenario #2: A Client Suffers an Allergic Reaction to Adhesive - You’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s and only use your tried-and-true adhesive so, natch, you think you’re in the clear. Think again. “When you offer services you can be responsible for any adverse reaction a customer has to the treatment you’ve given them,” explains Platt. “You can still be held liable for damages even if you had your customer sign a waiver/release form.” Products liability coverage will safeguard your assets from these types of claims. “[It can also] cover you if you sell customers a product and they have a reaction,” adds Platt.
Scenario #3: A Loose Eyelash Extension Scratches a Client’s Eye - Damaging a client’s eye during treatment can have serious repercussions. Not only can you severely wound your client, you can also hurt your pocketbook. “Without insurance, [expenses] come 100 percent out of your pocket,” explains Alves. “By carrying professional liability insurance, you can transfer this risk of nancial loss to your insurance provider and no longer have to carry the emotional stress of guring out how you’re going to pay a claim or defend yourself during the investigation period.” Missing work to attend court and taking time to gather evidence and find lawyers can put a damper on your business. “[You’ll also get] the peace of mind of being able to continue working and servicing your clients while your insurance carrier puts the full force of its efforts into your case,” adds Alves. Covered under your employer? Don’t be fooled into thinking this will put you in the safe zone. “Even if you’re covered under your employer’s policy, a client can still file a claim against you as a professional in addition to your employer,” says Alves, stressing that professional liability insurance will provide the protection you need.
Scenario #4: Your Tools Are Stolen - You’ve spent your hard-earned cash on the tools of your craft, so it’s a no-brainer that you should insure your prized possessions in case a thief loots your stash. “Stolen equipment coverage is necessary for independent contractors who travel with their supplies or are renting a space,” says Alves. “Many companies renting spaces to professionals have general liability for the building, but that coverage may not extend to the private suites the professionals are renting.”
Scenario #5: Burning a Client During an Eyebrow Wax - While it may be obvious there will be financial consequences if you seriously burn a client, even if the client leaves on good terms with only a slight injury it could catch up to you. “Coverage is important because while the professional may believe she’s made amends with the client during the service, the industry doesn’t have a statute of limitations for claims—and [these claims] can be honored by courts at a later date,” warns Alves. “Minor or major, everyone is entitled to le a claim, and the professional needs to make sure she’s protected.”
—by Molly Church