What is physiotherapy insurance?
Physiotherapy insurance is business insurance that includes cover suited to physiotherapists.
If you carry around expensive equipment, you can get this covered for storage and transit. You can also add business cover for your car or van if you use that to go see clients. Crucially, as physiotherapists work closely with clients in ways that can affect their health, having professional indemnity insurance is extremely important – this protects you in case a client takes action against you for negligence (whether you were really in the wrong or not).
What insurance does a physiotherapist need?
The most important type of insurance for physiotherapists is professional indemnity insurance (also known as professional malpractice insurance). Getting this type of insurance doesn’t mean you doubt your abilities as a physiotherapist; you can be the best and most professional physio in the world, but accidents and mishaps can always happen. Even if something happens that isn’t your fault, your client can take action against you if they were harmed by it.
Similarly, public liability insurance protects you in case a member of the public is injured or their property is damaged in a way relating to your business that isn’t part of a treatment (for example, someone trips over a bit of equipment left on the floor or you drop something in a client’s house and cause damage).
Lastly, you’d want to get cover for your equipment, particularly if it’s portable.
Depending on the type of physiotherapy business you run, you might also want to consider things like legal expenses cover, personal accident cover and van insurance.
More information on all of these cover types can be found further down the page.
Why do physiotherapists need insurance?
Physiotherapists perform highly skilled and delicate work with clients. Whichever kind of physiotherapy you offer, your actions have a direct effect on your clients’ health. Even if you are extremely knowledgeable and professional, you are still human and mistakes and accidents can happen. Having cover in place that includes malpractice insurance protects you against what can be a financially devastating claim against you by a client.
If you’re a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, then you benefit from its professional liability insurance (PLI) scheme. This includes medical malpractice insurance and public liability insurance. If this applies to you, make sure you understand what is included in your policy and whether you need any additional cover.
Physiotherapist insurance can also cover your equipment, premises and transportation against damage, loss and theft.
What does physiotherapy insurance cover?
Specifications will vary by insurer and depend on the type of policy you choose to suit your needs, but physiotherapist insurance cover can include the following:
- Professional indemnity insurance. Malpractice insurance is extremely important to physiotherapists. Your treatment sessions have a direct effect on your clients’ health and, while the majority of the time your actions will improve their wellbeing, accidents can happen, which can lead to action against you. These type of claims can run to millions of pounds, so protecting yourself is paramount.
- Public liability insurance. Whether you have your own premises or not, public liability cover protects you in case a member of the public is injured or their property is damaged and your business is legally liable. For example, if someone trips over some of your equipment or is injured in your treatment space.
- Equipment insurance. As a physiotherapist, you are likely to have some equipment you use in your treatment sessions. This type of cover protects these items against damage, loss and theft. If you offer mobile sessions, you’d want to take out a policy that covers your equipment while in transit and away from your premises.
- Employers’ liability insurance. If you employ staff, you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance, to protect both your employees and yourself against legal action. If your staff are freelancers, this might not apply to you, but it’s best to check with your insurance company to make sure.
Other types of cover you might wish to take out include:
- Van cover. If you offer mobile treatment sessions, you might choose to drive a van to your appointments. If this is the case, van insurance is for you. This type of policy often includes cover for equipment, as well as other benefits found in regular car insurance. It’s important to note that most car insurance policies don’t include business use, so it’s worth checking the details of your policy if you use your car for work.
- Legal expenses. While liability compensation payouts can run into millions of pounds, other costs involved in a court case can also be a serious burden. Legal expenses cover can help you in case action is taken against you.
- Personal accident. Your clients’ health isn’t the only thing that matters, your wellbeing does too. This type of insurance covers you in case you are injured and cannot work.
- Contents insurance. If you have your own premises where you offer treatment, business contents insurance can help you replace things like fixtures and fittings if they are damaged by an insured incident, as well as your equipment and employees’ personal belongings, if they’re damaged, lost or stolen. If you offer treatments in your home, note that your home insurance is unlikely to cover you for this. You can find out more in our guide to working from home insurance.
How much cover do I need?
It’s likely all physiotherapists will need high levels of professional indemnity insurance. Beyond that, the cover you need will depend on things like:
- Whether you own or rent your equipment
- Whether you travel or drive to see clients
- If you have your own studio or premises
- If you employ staff
Common claims examples
- Human error. No matter how trained and skilled you are, we are all human and can sometimes make mistakes. If you accidentally harm a client and they take action against you, having professional indemnity insurance in place can help you with legal costs and any compensation payments you might have to pay. This is particularly important if you treat athletes for sports injuries, as any further damage can potentially mean they lose out on a lot of money in income.
- Trip hazards. Many physiotherapists use various bits of equipment, like weights and fitness balls. If a client or member of the public trips over any of these items, public liability cover can help you with legal expenses and compensation payments in case action is taken against you.
- Flood damage. If you have your own treatment room or studio and it is damaged by a flood, having business contents insurance should cover the damage and help you get back to treating clients as soon as possible. Note that if your treatment room is in your house, your standard buildings and contents insurance is unlikely to cover damage to items relating to your business.
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