Massage Therapists will need professional massage liability insurance to cover themselves when they are giving massages. There are many different options available and doing your research will help you find the policy that is best for you. Some states also require massage therapists to have insurance. (Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. )
You may be just starting out and thinking that the cheapest insurance is all that you can afford. You have to really consider all the risks and see if it will really be the cheapest for you. Cheap usually means less coverage.
Here are some things you will want to find out about the various policies:
- Will they cover you no matter where you work – from your office, place of employment, from the client’s home, or from a business location or on location for chair massage or sports event?
- Will it cover you if you are employed or are and Independent contractor and what if you switch status during the year?
- Will they cover the type of massage you do?
- Will they cover things like hot stone massage, any massage tools you use or any special gadgets you are planning on using during the massage? (Cupping, T-bars, Tens, Electric Stim, Ultrasound – which some of these are also a scope of practice issue to.)
- Will it cover breach of privacy issues like if your computer gets stolen with client info on it and you will have to pay for ID protection for all of your clients – will you be covered if someone sues you because their ID was stolen?
- Will it cover legal defense if something happens?
- Will it cover you for the oils and lotions you use or any aromatherapy products that may cause allergies or problems for clients?
- Will it cover you if your table breaks with a client on it?
- Will it cover you if someone falls off the table during a session or when they are getting up or down off of the table?
- Will it cover you for sexual assault charges if a client comes after you – no matter if you are guilty or not?
- What if a client puts their iPhone on the table and forgets it and you scoop it up unknowingly and put it in the washer – will you be covered?
What it all means – massage liability insurance for everyone.
Professional Liability is malpractice insurance. This is what will cover you if a client decides to sue you for something related to the massage session. The client could say that you hurt them more or that the hot rocks burned them…this is what will cover you. This is also why it is so important to write chart notes for every session – so you can show what condition the client was when they arrived, what you actually did and how they felt leaving. They could try to say that you hurt something when in fact they came in with having that pain or injury.
The professional liability insurance may also cover things like :
- Products Liability – covers oils, lotions etc.
- Personal Injury Liability –
- Good Samaritan Liability
- Malplacement Liability
- Fire & Water Legal Liability
General Liability refers to slip and fall accidents that may occur in your office.
Individual vs shared Aggregate is really the most important part you will need to understand. Individual aggregate means you will be covered for that amount to that amount and treated separately as compared to a shared/group aggregate which means that you share that amount with everyone who is insured. That means if five people get sued for something and the allowed amount is paid out reaching the aggregate limit, you are out of luck if you are not one of the five.
Occurrence vs Claims Made is also important. Occurrence means you had coverage when the accident or the incident happened so if you cancel your insurance later and someone makes a claim against you after you canceled the policy, you are covered.
Compare Massage Liability Insurance
There are many charts already that compare the various insurances. The thing you have to remember is that there are two main massage associations that offer insurance as a membership benefit. You are getting much more than insurance so you can’t just compare them based on dollar amounts.
Comparison chart from www.massage-exam.com
Do you want Liability Insurance or a Professional Association?
A professional association can provide much more than just liability insurance. If you decide on an association that provides liability insurance, it is important to understand what an association can do or not do for you.
Many offer additional benefits like CE classes that are free or low cost.
Getting your liability insurance through a professional association should get you even more benefits and ideally, they should be advocates for the massage profession on state and national issues.
AMTA is the non-profit professional association that has been the leader in advocacy in the massage profession, having state chapters that have Government relations committees that work to deal with licensing and legislation issues. They hire lobbyists to do that and also sometimes lawyers. (AMTA-WA used to even have a pair of lawyers who were on retainer to help with questions and issues.) Over the years, AMTA has withdrawn some of their support for chapters and what were once called Units. They used to have a chapter fee that was added on to the membership fee and given to each chapter to fund legislative issues and the running of the chapter. The chapters still do get a small fee when someone joins from each state, but it does not compare to what it used to be.
ABMP is a For Profit, professional association owned by 6 or 8 different people. They will sometimes step up in states to work on local legislation, massage board issues and other things, but they do not have specific local chapters that do that.