What is Treatment Liability Insurance?

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Treatment liability insurance is important because it protects against injury or damage claims in relation to the professional services offered by salons, wellness therapists, hairdressers, barbers, masseuses, beauticians, etc. These types of liability claims are not covered by public liability insurance, so treatment liability insurance fills a critical gap in insurance coverages for these professions.

While it's not required by UK law, treatment liability insurance can protect you if you're sued. Below we explain what it is, what types of claims are covered and who needs to buy treatment liability insurance.

What is Treatment Liability Insurance?

Treatment liability insurance typically protects against customer claims of injury, illness or property damage due your services or advice. Specifically, treatment liability insurance provides financial protection by covering legal defence fees if you're sued, as well as as compensation payments if you're found liable. Treatment liability insurance covers:

  • Legal fees to defend claims of injury, illness or property damage due your services or advice
  • Compensation payments you're required to pay for damages

So, treatment liability insurance can protect your business financially from having to pay legal defence costs and compensation if you're sued by a client—but what types of circumstances does this apply to? Here are some examples of situations that could be covered by a treatment liability policy:

Examples

  • You accidentally burn a client's forehead with straightening tongs, leaving a scar.
  • The process of bleaching a client's hair leaves their hair severely damaged, requiring it to be cut very short.
  • The glue used to attach fake nails is too strong and tears a client's natural nails.
  • A barber accidentally cuts a client during a shave.
  • You accidentally spill red nail polish on a client's white carpet during a home visit.

Do I Need Treatment Liability Insurance?

If you perform any of the services listed below, you ideally should hold treatment liability insurance—it's a popular type of business insurance for those working in beauty and wellness. Coverage for a treatment liability policy will vary by insurer and according to your profession (e.g., barber, hairdresser, nail technician, manicurist, makeup artist, beautician, massage therapist, etc.), but here is a list of commonly covered services:

  • Apply cosmetics
  • Apply facial masks
  • Aromatherapy
  • Body sugar
  • Curl, perm, tint and extend eyelashes
  • Ear hair flaming
  • Face massage
  • Facial steam treatments
  • Hair extensions
  • Hair removal preparations
  • Manicure and pedicure
  • Nose hair waxing
  • Paint face and body (e.g., henna)
  • Permanent waves
  • Plucking, shape, thread and tint eyebrows
  • Special hair treatments
  • Tint, dye, bleach hair
  • Trim and shape beards and eyebrows
  • Wash, cut, style and dye hair
  • Wash, cut, style and dye wigs or hairpieces
  • Wet and dry shave

In addition, you may be able to obtain treatment liability coverage for more riskier services such as the following list—but you may be required to pay an extra premium. It will all depend on the insurer.

  • Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acid skin treatments
  • Apply tanning products (e.g., by airbrush)
  • Biosthetics
  • Body wraps
  • Candle massage
  • Cranio-sacral therapies
  • Ear piercing (gun and stud)
  • Electrolysis (hair removal)
  • Facial (e.g., ionisation, electro-mechanical, ultra-sound and infra-red)
  • Hopi candles
  • Hot stone massage
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Nose piercing (gun and stud)
  • Paraffin wax
  • Sunbeds and solaria
  • Trichloroacetic acid skin treatments

What Types of Claims does Treatment Liability Insurance Cover?

While coverage will vary depending on your insurer, treatment liability insurance can protect you and your business from having to pay thousands or more in legal costs and compensation payments in certain types of situations. Below we explain some coverages you might get on a plan—but be sure to check your policy wording to fully understand what is covered on a policy before you buy.

1. Malpractice, Negligence or Breach of Duty

Bodily injury, mental injury, illness, disease or death of a client caused by a negligent act, error or omission by you when carrying out your business activities (e.g., giving incorrect advice or making a mistake such as using the wrong product or technique).

Example: You combine the wrong products, resulting in a chemical burn on your client's skin.

2. Dishonesty

When a director, employee, self-employed freelancer, subcontractor or outsourcer contracted to you and supervised by you is involved in a theft from the client.

Example: A freelancer you employed was caught on CCTV after stealing money from a client on a home visit.

Libel or slander

Producing material about other companies or individuals that causes damage or offence.

Example: You publish derogatory comments in your online blog, which is read by thousands of beauty enthusiasts, about a new product you tested.

Breach of confidentiality

Sharing confidential or commercially sensitive information without consent.

Example: You accidentally email private information about one client's wellness to another client.

Common Exclusions

Exclusions on treatment liability insurance policies will vary from insurer to insurer. We've read policy wordings for a number of offerings in the UK market at found some examples of exclusions on treatment liability policies, listed below. And if you haven't paid the extra premium for riskier types of services such as those mentioned above, they would also be excluded from your treatment liability cover.

  • Botox
  • Dermal fillers
  • Hair removal
  • Chiropractor laser
  • Physiotherapy
  • Invasive osteopath procedures
  • Medical procedures
  • Electrolysis

FAQs

In the UK, treatment liability insurance typically covers salons and beauty and wellness professionals such as nail technicians, beauty therapists, hairdressers, barbers, massage therapists, facialists, etc.

If you carry out the types of services typically covered by a treatment liability insurance policy, ideally you have this cover in place to protect against lawsuits from your customers related to these services.

No, treatment liability covers injury and damage claims related to the professional services you provide while public liability insurance covers third party claims due to accidental injury or damage not related to your professional services.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

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