Why Liability Insurance is Essential to the Yoga Community
Yoga, with its myriad health benefits, communal setting, and ancient roots, has become a mainstay in American culture; and the number of new practitioners continues to stretch.
As of 2016, more than 36 million Americans sought out the calming and curative benefits of yoga—a 50% increase over the previous four years. What’s more, more than a third of Americans said they’d like to try yoga in the next year. A discipline with more than 5,000 years of history appears to be at its height of popularity. Great news for your practice!
Unfortunately, as with any physical activity, more participants means more risk; and yoga-related injuries are on the rise. Whether it’s a beginning student who is pushing herself to gain added stretch in a downward dog position or an advanced practitioner who tries to hold a shoulder stand longer than he’s capable, injuries happen. Some may be as minor as a twisted ankle while others may result in torn cartilage, dislocations, and torn ligaments.
The truly frightening part? You could be held liable and required to pay damages. Whether the cause of an accident is a student’s poor conditioning, a momentary distraction, or simply bad fortune, the reason for a claim doesn’t always matter. A yoga instructor can be responsible for damages that can include medical care, hospital expenses, physical therapy, and loss of wages—an amount that can far exceed your income.
But a claim doesn’t have to disrupt your livelihood. There are two vital forms of insurance currently available for yoga instructors:
· General liability insurance, which covers claims such as bodily injury or property damage caused by negligence related to your business.
· Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, which covers claims alleging negligence in providing or failure to provide professional services.
Both coverages protect you from claims and lawsuits even if the charges are groundless. Today, more than ever, you have myriad reasons to carry liability insurance, even if a claim never materializes. Here are seven of them:
1. Broad coverage: Liability insurance for the yoga community includes coverage for professional and general liability claims—the two main sources of claims against a business—but it also includes coverage for other types of liability, like accidents arising from serving alcohol at an event or social gathering.
2. Protection against debilitating defense costs: If you’ve ever had to use the services of a lawyer, you know that legal fees for just a few hours of consultation can add up fast. Just think about how quickly legal fees to defend you might accumulate if you face a claim. They can be larger than a judgment, and could even bankrupt a business. Coverage for defense costs is part of your liability insurance.
3. An affordable option: In most cases, the cost of a liability policy is less than the price of a cup of coffee per day.
4. Freedom of movement: The insurance policy that many studios have typically doesn’t cover instructors who teach at different venues or just part-time. With an individual policy, you have protection no matter where you work or whom you teach—children, adults, or seniors. It doesn’t matter. You have complete flexibility.
5. Increased employment opportunity: Most studios require their instructors to have insurance. An individual liability policy can open doors and smooth the process of obtaining work at other studios.
6. Professionalism: Carrying insurance on your business—whether you operate your own studio or work for another—demonstrates a level of professionalism and shows that you accept the responsibilities of running a business. If an accident happens, you are prepared and financially able to accept responsibility.
7. Peace of mind: General and professional liability policies provide extensive coverage that follows you from location to location and protects you from both existing and emerging risks. This important barrier of coverage provides invaluable peace of mind that you’ll be covered in the event of an accident.
Yes, peace of mind. It’s at the core of your practice. Liability insurance can give you the confidence and support to practice your craft undeterred by risk as you spread the many benefits of yoga to a growing number of students.