Nail businesses and technicians certainly need business insurance, but what kind? Are you a freelancer, a mobile nail technician, a home-based nail technician? While public/product liability and treatment cover are probably the most common coverages, you may need additional business insurance coverages as well. Here's what you need to know about nail insurance to help you choose the right cover.
- What kind of insurance does a nail technician need?
- Insurance for mobile and home-based nail businesses
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What Kind of Insurance Does a Nail Technician Need?
While insurance requirements vary by situation, there are four basic business insurance coverages that any manicurist or pedicurist might need:
- Public liability insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Treatment cover
- Employers' liability insurance
For starters, public liability and product liability insurance (often sold together) can protect against third parties such as clients who suffer injury or property damage due to your business. You might also need treatment cover, which provides liability cover for treatments you've carried out or treatment advice you've given. Finally, if you hire anyone to work for you, even temporary or part-time workers, you're required by law to have employers' liability insurance.
Here is some more detail about these four core elements of nail insurance coverage:
Public/Product Liability Insurance for Nail Technicians
Public Liability insurance is critical for any business with exposure to members of the public—such as nail techs. This type of business insurance protects you financially against claims from clients or other members of the public who are injured or their property damaged due to your negligence. Public liability and product liability (which covers claims of accidental injury, illness or damage from a product you provided) are frequently rolled into the same policy.
If you're sued, public liability insurance can pay for legal defence costs (whether or not a claim is justified) and compensation payments if you're found liable. Public liability is commonly available with limits of £1 million, £2 million, £5 million or £10 million in the UK marketplace.
- Public Liability Example (bodily injury): A client slips on product you accidentally spilled and suffers a concussion. They are unable to work for a month while they recover and sue you for lost wages.
- Public Liability Example (property damage): You spill a bottle of red nail polish on a client's pastel sofa. They client sues you for the cost to replace the sofa.
Treatment Cover for Nail Techs
Treatment liability insurance can protect you against claims for illness, injury or damage caused by your treatments. Typically there is a requirement that you are only covered for treatments that you are qualified to carry out (for instance, through a college course—see the Gov careers site or LBTA websites for more information on getting qualified).
Treatment cover for a nail tech can include:
- Applying nail extensions and nail coatings (e.g., varnish and coatings cured with UV, such as gel)
- Applying nail art
- Cutting and shaping nails
- Treatment Cover Example: A client suffers a nail infection after their manicure and they sue you, claiming you are responsible because your tools were not cleaned properly.
Employers' Liability Insurance for Nail Techs
Employers' Liability insurance is compulsory if you hire anyone, from an assistant to a team of nail technicians. Employers' Liability insurance covers legal defence costs and any required settlement payments if an employee falls ill or is injured due to their work for you.
- Employers' Liability Example: An employee claims they suffered from overexposure to chemicals due to poor training. They sue you for damages.
Other Insurance for Nail Businesses
You may need other types of business insurance as well depending on the risks you face. Here are some additional business insurances a nail tech might need to protect their business:
- Tools/Equipment Insurance: To cover accidental damage, loss or theft of valuable tools and equipment, such as clippers, polish, tables, trays, nail files, exfoliators, tool boxes, files, UV lamps, etc., tools and equipment cover is useful.
- Stock Insurance: If you keep stock of nail polish, moisturizers, files or other products to sell to your clients, stock cover can protect these goods in the case of accidental damage, loss or theft.
- Vehicle Insurance: A mobile or freelance nail tech that travels between multiple work locations should declare business use on your car insurance; you're not likely to need a commercial business insurance policy policy however. Check with your insurer to see what they'll cover and if you need to change the type of use on your policy.
- Commercial Property Insurance: If you own your business premises, you'll want to look into commercial building insurance to protect the structure against events such as fire or flood. But whether your rent or own your business space, most nail businesses will want some form of commercial property insurance, for instance contents insurance. Think about what specific coverage you need, as add ons can be purchased for business equipment, stock, etc.
- 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 pay for your living expenses while you're off work recovering.
- Legal Expenses Insurance: If you want professional guidance and help paying financial losses due to situations such as contract disputes, debt recovery, HMRC tax enquiries, etc. then you might want to consider a legal expenses business insurance policy.
- Business Interruption Insurance: While it won't usually help with business shutdowns due to situations like COVID-19, business interruption insurance can help cover lost revenues if your business is temporarily shut down due to physical damage situations like flood or fire.
Type of Nail Business
Ultimately the insurance you need is specific to the type of nail business you run. For example, a freelance or mobile nail business has different insurance needs from a fixed-premises nail business—whether you run a bricks-and-mortar nail salon or a home-based business. If you're just becoming a nail tech, there's lot's to learn. Here's a quick recap of common insurances for different types of nail businesses:
Mobile Nail Technician Insurance
A mobile nail tech or nail salon business should probably have public liability and product liability insurance, treatment cover, equipment cover (with special coverage away from home), business use on your car insurance and, if they have any employees, employers' liability insurance.
Home-Based Nail Technician Insurance
A home-based nail salon business should probably have public liability and product liability insurance, treatment cover, equipment cover (for business equipment like laptops and nail salon equipment) and, if they have any employees, employers' liability insurance. Plus, a home-based nail business must declare this business use to their home insurance and mortgage provider. Failing to do so could invalidate your home insurance or the terms of your mortgage.
Nail Salon Insurance
A bricks-and-mortar nail (and beauty) salon would need public liability and product liability insurance, treatment cover, equipment cover and, if they have any employees, employers' liability insurance. Plus, a fixed-premises nail salon business would need suitable commercial property insurance (for the building, if you own it, and for the contents whether you rent or own).
Commercial property insurance can cover your business equipment and salon equipment, stock, tools, and furniture against loss (e.g., from fire or flood) or theft.
Gel Nail Technician Insurance
A gel nail technician would need the coverages mentioned above—just make sure that you have suitable certifications to prove you are properly trained to, for instance by taking a professional nail technician course for gel or acrylic nails.
In addition all of these types of nail businesses might want legal expenses cover, personal accident cover, business interruption, etc. as mentioned above.
Yes, student nails techs should have insurance, especially since they are new to the business and could be more prone to making mistakes due to lack of experience. Some companies offer low-cost student nail tech insurance, making it more affordable for those just starting out. Check the terms of your cover carefully, however, because you may need to follow certain rules such as being supervised, only carrying out treatments or therapies for which you've been trained and deemed competent, you notify clients that you are training and you charge a discounted rate.
The only insurances a nail tech is likely to need by law are employers' liability insurance and the correct vehicle insurance. But there are many other types of business insurance that a nail tech should consider, such as public and product liability, treatment cover, equipment and stock cover, etc.
Nail technicians face certain risks that can put you and your business at risk. Insurance can help protect you financially against injury or illness to employees (employers' liability insurance), injury or damage to third parties (public and product liability), treatments that cause injury or damage (treatment cover)
Nail technician insurance costs vary but start from around £40 a year for basic public/product liability and treatment cover for a sole trader. This makes nail tech insurance pretty cheap compared to what you can earn. Adding basic tools and stock cover would roughly double your insurance costs. Buying employers' liability insurance if you hire anyone would cost roughly £60 to £200 per person (click here for more details). Legal expenses and personal accident can be found for as little as £65 to £80 or so a year. The cost of other types 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 if a client slips and falls while treatment insurance would cover your liability if a client suffers an injury or illness like an infection or reaction as a result of treatment.