If you run a health club, gym or fitness center, you already know that clients can potentially hurt themselves while getting into shape. Like most people in your position, you probably take the precaution of having them sign waivers absolving you of legal responsibility for injuries suffered on your premises. That’s great as far as it goes, but if you think it will cover all eventualities, you could be wrong.
The waiver or release has two major objectives: to excuse your venue of negligence and to stand as evidence that you’ve warned your clients that they are assuming the risk. However, the courts will only uphold that waiver or release if its wording meets all legal requirements without violating any laws or public policy. As the owners of some fitness centers have learned to their dismay, signed waivers will do nothing to defray the legal costs of having to defend yourself in court.
Furthermore, the most iron-clad signed waiver will not protect your fitness center against every injury that a client might suffer on your premises. The law can still hold you liable for physical damage caused by faulty equipment or the ill-advised instruction of an incompetent trainer. In cases like these, only insurance can help.
How Gym Insurance Protects You
As the owner of a fitness center, gym or health club, your appropriate blend of insurance coverages will depend on the type of services you offer, the scope of your facility and the size of your employee pool. If your venue is on the smaller side, a business owner’s policy may be sufficient. In general, however, the larger setting will benefit most from a combination of coverages that includes:
- General liability. This will protect you if a client should choose to sue you for personal injury or property damage.
- Product liability. Does your health club, gym or fitness center deal in dietary supplements or workout paraphernalia? Any fault in these products will put you at risk for having sold them.
- Employee practices liability. Every business faces the danger of having a worker raise accusations of poor practices, discrimination or sexual harassment. Is your fitness center covered against this very real possibility?
- Professional liability. The trainers and staff members at any fitness facility are acting in a professional capacity. If the advice of any one of them should result in injury or illness to one of your clients, your professional liability insurance will have your back.
- Property coverage. Fire, storm or vandalism are ever-present threats to any brick-and-mortar business venue, and property coverage insurance will protect your fitness center against resulting damage.
- Workers’ compensation. In the event of an employee’s work-related illness or injury, workers’ compensation will cover their medical costs and loss of cash flow.
- Equipment coverage. You can’t run a fitness center without a few machines, and if any of your equipment breaks down, insurance will have your back.
When Fitness Centers Need Additional Coverage
While the coverages listed above will serve the needs of a large percentage of fitness centers, the specific nature of the services offered at your location may call for more. If so, an experienced Insurance agent at All Kinds of Insurance will be able to set you straight.
Specialized types of insurance will often apply to fitness centers that offer training in boxing, martial arts and similar forms of exercise in addition to those whose clients often participate in outside events. If yours fits this description, you might want to consider:
- Accidental medical coverage and participant liability for protection against claims brought by contestants who suffer injury while taking part in a supervised or subsidized competition or tournament.
- Spectator liability to protect you against a spectator’s claim of injury or property damage that took place during one of your sponsored events.
- Supplemental liability coverage designed for fitness centers that offer swimming pools, tanning beds, rock-climbing walls, hot tubs, saunas and the like.
At All Kinds of Insurance, we have found that many owners of health clubs, gyms and fitness centers also appreciate the extra protection of a business umbrella policy that covers you against large claims when your other policies have reached their limits.
The proper insurance for your fitness center depends on many variables. The experts at All Kinds of Insurance understand that your venue is unique, and we will use our expertise to help you choose the best and most cost-effective mixture of coverages for you. Call us today at 702-534-4697.