How Yoga Instructors and Insurance Connect
Yoga instructors are fitness professionals who teach yoga, a type of exercise that combines body poses with stretching and breathing techniques to help clients improve their strength and flexibility. Yoga is known for its psychological benefits as well as increasing physical fitness, and many yoga students take classes for the opportunity to relax and focus on channeling positive energy. Yoga teachers must complete extensive training before starting to teach their own classes, and many double as personal trainers or teach other types of fitness classes as well.
Many yoga instructors are entrepreneurs who own their own studios, train clients in a gym or conduct personal sessions at their home. As business owners, they need insurance to protect themselves in the case of an accident, unhappy customer, or unexpected issues beyond their control. Yoga instructors must make the health and safety of their students a top priority.
The Risks Associated With Being a Yoga Instructor
Yoga instructors go through intense teacher trainings that can take months or even years, which is why customers trust them to lead them into new, challenging poses during class and push themselves to new physical limits. As a yoga teacher, it’s important to demonstrate knowledge of human anatomy, injury prevention, health, and fitness to build credibility with customers and show them you’re there to keep them safe during their practice.
Unfortunately, no matter how experienced or well-trained you are as a yoga instructor, you still face many risks in an industry where clients are frequently placing their health and safety in your hands. Yoga is exercise - and no matter how many modifications you recommend, a student could still get injured and sue.
As entrepreneurs and business owners, yoga instructors also face risks similar to those in other industries, from personal liability lawsuits to weather disasters that cause studio damage. Insurance is much less expensive than a lawyer, so it’s best to protect yourself from the get-go.
How to Mitigate Risks Through Insurance
Most yoga students will be eager to practice, grateful for your assistance, and interested in continuing to work with you and improving. However, as is the case in any business, some will be unhappy or have a negative experience. A student might not see the results your program promised soon enough, or they might experience an injury because they performed an exercise with poor form. In these cases, they could attempt to hold you liable for perceived damages. Additionally, unhappy clients could damage your reputation, another thing that could hurt your business. Negative online reviews or bad press could deter future potential clients from signing up for class.
So how does a yoga instructor protect themselves from these risks? It’s a good idea to invest in some common insurance policies that protect you in both predictable and rare scenarios:
General Liability Insurance
One type of insurance that yoga instructors should purchase is General Liability Insurance, considered essential for almost any business owner. General Liability Insurance will protect your yoga business if someone brings a personal injury claim (for example, they fell and injured themselves during class) or a property damage claim. Even if these incidents aren’t actually your fault, you could still be held liable for damages like medical expenses or replacing personal property.
Many businesses are required to purchase General Liability Insurance as a condition of their mortgage or other agreements. But even if you don’t own your own studio and instead teach at gyms and locations owned by a third party, you’ll likely be required to show proof of liability insurance before getting started.
Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance
Another popular policy for yoga instructors is E&O Insurance (also known as Professional Liability Insurance), which protects you if a client claims malpractice. For example, if a student feels that you’ve given them instructions that led to an injury or pushed them beyond their limits, they could sue. Even if you’re not ultimately found at fault, the legal costs of settling the case or court costs could bankrupt your yoga business. Fortunately, Professional Liability Insurance will cover the cost of a lawyer to fight malpractice suits.
If you employ others in your yoga business - perhaps you own a studio and have hired some additional instructors, cleaning staff, or a receptionist - you should also look into Workers Compensation Insurance to help protect your employees.
Most yoga instructors began their careers because they love the practice, they enjoy helping customers attain fitness goals, and they have a passion for teaching. However, as business owners, they need to ensure they are protected whether they’re teaching in their own studio, doing a guest appearance, or visiting clients’ homes. Comprehensive insurance coverage will allow you to focus on doing what you do best - teaching yoga - without having to worry about the financial risk of lawsuits.
What type of insurance does this industry need?
- This policy protects your business in case of third party claims, such as bodily injury or property damage. For example, the common "slip-and-fall" claim would be covered by your General Liability policy. General Liability insurance is often considered to be the core coverage, particularly for businesses that regularly physically interact with customers or sell physical goods. In addition, many businesses have a contract, like a loan or a lease, requiring that they have this coverage.
- This policy, common in the professional services industry, helps to protect your business if a client believes they've suffered a loss due to a mistake or error made in a professional capacity. Your business may have contracts with clients or partners that require Professional Liability coverage, provide a "warranty or guarantee," or have clauses that require you to "indemnify or hold harmless" your clients. If so, Professional Liability coverage is often recommended. This coverage is also commonly recommended for any businesses providing advice related to legal or financial matters.
- This policy protects the business's physical assets and is appropriate whether you own or lease your space. Keep in mind that this policy will only offer protection in the case of covered events. If you need protection for certain scenarios, such as floods or earthquakes, you may need additional coverage. If you have a mortgage or a lease, you may be required to have property insurance. Even if you are not, this is the best way to protect the building you are in and the business property you have in case of a natural disaster or some other accident.
- This policy, common in the professional services industry, helps to protect your business if a client believes they've suffered a loss due to an error or omission on your part. Your business may have contracts with clients or partners that require E&O coverage, provide a "warranty or guarantee," or have clauses that require you to "indemnify or hold harmless" your clients. If so, E&O coverage is often recommended. This coverage is also commonly recommended for any businesses providing advice related to legal or financial matters.
- Workers Compensation covers an employee's lost wages and the cost of resulting medical treatment if they suffer a work-related injury or disease. It also covers services needed to help the employee recover and return to work. Workers Compensation coverage is mandatory in most states. The number of employees after which it's required differs by state, but you will generally need coverage once you have employees.
- This insurance protects the business in the case of any incidents involving a vehicle that has been hired by the company to be used for business-related purposes. It also provides coverage in the case your business uses other vehicles which are not property of the business, such as having delivery drivers use their own vehicles. If your company hires vehicles or allows employees to use their own vehicles for business purposes, you will want to consider this insurance.