As a hairdresser you want to focus on giving your clients a look that makes them beam—the last thing you want to think of is insurance. But accidents can happen, putting you and your business at risk if you don't have the right coverage in place.
By sorting your insurance now, you can focus on building a loyal customer base and growing your business. Here's what you need to know about hairdresser insurance to help you choose the right cover to protect you and your business financially.
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What Insurance Does a Hairdresser Need?
Hairdressers can face a number of risks that can be mitigated by insurance. First, there are four types of liability insurance to learn about, which can protect against injury or damage claims made by clients, employees (if you have any) or other third parties. In addition, there are many other types of insurance that a self employed or mobile hairdresser might need, from equipment cover to legal expenses cover.
Hairdresser Liability Insurance
Whether you run a hairdressing business or are a self employed hairdresser, there are four basic business insurance liability coverages that you need to learn about. They each cover defence costs (e.g., expert opinions and legal fees) if a claim is made against you, as well as compensation payments if you're found liable.
- Public liability insurance: Covers claims made by clients or other members of the public who are accidentally injured or their property damaged due to your negligence.
- Product liability insurance: Covers claims made by clients or other members of the public who are accidentally injured or their property damaged due to products you have supplied.
- Treatment liability insurance: Covers treatments you've carried out or treatment advice you've given.
- Employers' liability insurance: Covers claims made by employees who fall ill or are injured due to their work for you.
Here is some more detail about these four core elements of hairdresser insurance coverage, including some examples for each:
Public Liability Insurance for Hairdressers
Since they have in-person exposure to their clients, hairdressers ideally hold public liability insurance. This protects you financially against claims by third parties (e.g., clients) who are accidentally injured or their property damaged due to you or your business.
If you're sued, public liability insurance can pay for legal defence costs (even if a claim is frivolous) and compensation payments if you're found liable for the injury or damage. Public liability is commonly available in the UK with limits of £1 million, £2 million, £5 million or £10 million.
- Public Liability Example (bodily injury): A client trips on a loose electric cord and falls, breaking their hip. They sue you for damages and lost wages while they're off work due to the injury.
- Public Liability Example (property damage): You spill a bottle of hair dye on a client's expensive suede shoes. The client sues you for the cost to replace them.
Product Liability Insurance for Hairdressers
Product liability insurance covers claims of injury or damage as a result of products you have supplied.
- Product Liability Example (bodily injury): A client buys a bottle of hairspray from you. They claim that they sprayed product into their eyes because the bottle had a faulty nozzle and attempt to sue you for damages.
- Product Liability Example (property damage injury): After working for hours on a bride's hair ahead of their pre-wedding photos, you sold her a bottle of hairspray for any needed touch ups. She claimed that the spray caused her dress to discolour, and sued you.
Treatment Liability Insurance for Hairdressers
Treatment liability cover can protect you against claims for injury or damage caused by your services. Liability for professional activities isn't covered by public liability insurance, which is why hairdressers also need treatment liability cover. You'll only be covered for treatments that you are qualified to carry out (e.g., through certification on a college course—see the Gov careers site or NHBF websites for more information on training to be a hairdresser).
Depending on the insurer you may be asked what specific kinds of treatments you offer. Be sure that you declare everything you do so that you're fully covered—including beauty and nail treatments if your business extends to those services as well. Treatment liability cover for a hairdresser commonly includes:
- Wash, cut, dry and style hair
- Wash, cut, dry and style wigs or hairpieces
- Tint, dye and bleach hair
- Permanent wave or other treatment
- Attach hair extensions
- Treatment Cover Example: You accidentally cut a client during their haircut, and they sue you for damages.
Employers' Liability Insurance for Hairdressers
Employers' Liability insurance is compulsory if you hire nearly anyone, from an officer manager to an assistant to a team of hairdressers. What does it cover? If an employee falls ill or is injured due to their work for you, employers' liability insurance covers legal defence costs and any required settlement payments if you're found liable.
- Employers' Liability Example: An employee claims they suffered from a back injury because the chair you provided doesn't function properly, and they sue you for damages.
Other Insurance for Hairdressers
You may need other types of business insurance as well, depending on the risks you face. Here are some of the additional business insurances a hairdresser might want to protect their business:
- Tools/Equipment Insurance: This covers accidental damage, loss or theft of valuable tools and equipment, such as hairdryers, scissors, clippers, etc.
- Stock Insurance: If you keep stock of hairspray, gel, mousse or other products to sell to your clients, stock cover can protect these goods in the case of accidental damage, loss or theft.
- Business Use Car Insurance: If you use your personal car to visit multiple work locations or visit clients at their homes, be sure to contact your insurer as you'll need business use coverage (e.g., a mobile hairdressing business).
- Personal Accident Insurance: If you're injured at work, personal accident insurance can pay a weekly benefit (or fixed amount for more serious injures) to help you stay on top of household bills while you're off work.
- Legal Expenses Insurance: If you are worried about issues such as contract disputes, debt recovery, HMRC tax enquiries, etc. then you might want legal expenses business insurance, which can provide professional legal advice and pay for some of your associated financial losses.
Ultimately the insurance you need is specific to the type of hairdressing business you run. For example, a freelancer or mobile hairdressing business has different insurance needs from a fixed-premises business. Let's look at what insurance you need depending on the type of hairdressing business you run.
Mobile Hairdressing Insurance
A mobile hairdresser brings the salon to the customer, usually going to a client's home to cut, colour and style as needed. Mobile hairdressers can perform regular maintenance cuts and colours, as well as styling hair for special occasions like weddings.
Mobile hairdressers ideally have public liability insurance, product liability insurance and treatment liability insurance. Plus keep in mind that you're likely to need to declare (and pay for) business use car insurance, since you'll be driving between multiple work locations. If you have anyone working for you, even on a part-time or temporary basis, you're likely to need employers' liability insurance. In addition you might want equipment cover (with special coverage away from home), stock insurance, personal accident cover, legal expenses cover, etc.
Self-Employed Hairdresser Insurance
Insurance priorities for a self-employed hairdresser are getting the right liability cover in place. If you rent a chair in a salon, you're probably working as a self-employed, freelance hairdresser. A self-employed hairdresser needs similar insurance to a mobile hairdresser, except they might not need away-from-work equipment cover or business use car insurance—that will largely depend on whether you work at one location or you drive between multiple work locations.
Yes, student hairdressers should also have insurance—being new to the business they could be more prone to having an accident or making a mistake due to lack of experience. Some companies offer cheap student hairdresser insurance, since you're likely to be under the supervision of a professional. Check the terms of your policy carefully, however, to make sure you comply. You may need to follow certain rules such as always working under supervision, only carrying out services for which you've been trained and deemed competent, telling clients that you are training and charging a discounted rate.
There are many types of business insurance that a mobile or self-employed hairdresser would ideally have—especially liability coverages such as public liability, product liability and treatment cover. However, the only insurance a mobile or self-employed hairdresser would be required to hold by law are the correct vehicle insurance (especially critical for mobile hairdressers or freelancers who work at multiple locations) and employers' liability insurance if you hire someone.
Hairdressers primarily need insurance to protect their finances and their careers against claims made against them. Claims can by made by clients, employees or even other third parties for injury or damage. In addition they might want cover for stock, equipment or to protect against other perils like contract disputes or HRMC investigations.
The cost of hair stylist insurance is around £56 a year, which would include public/product liability and treatment cover for a self-employed hairdresser. Adding additional coverages such as cover for stock, tools, legal expenses, personal accidents, etc. would increase the cost of your business insurance, which you can learn about here. If you hire anyone, employers' liability insurance would cost roughly £60 to £200 per hire (click here for more details). Ultimately, the cost of business insurance depends on the type of cover, coverage limits, previous claims history and other factors.
For the most comprehensive cover you'll need both types of liability cover, because public liability and treatment insurance cover different risks. For example, public liability would cover your liability for accidents such as a client slipping and falling; treatment liability insurance would cover your professional services, for example a client suffering an injury as a result of your service.
Hairdresser Employment Statistics
According to the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the average pay for a full-time hairdresser in the UK is £17,609 a year. Here are some statistics on hairdressing employment in the UK:
|Hairdresser Employment Statistics UK|
|Number of Hairdressing and Barber Jobs||19,000|
|UK Average pay (full time)||£17,609|
|UK Average pay (part time)||£9,307|
|UK Average Pay for Hairdressing and Barbers||£12,552|
|UK Average Pay for Hairdressing and beauty salon managers and proprietors||£22,682|