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Do Hairdressers Need More Than Basic Professional Indemnity Cover?

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Do you need malpractice insurance in addition to standard coverage? Could a client decide to stake a claim if something goes wrong during a procedure that may result in an injury of some kind? In this case, basic professional indemnity insurance may not be enough, and you may need to consider malpractice coverage instead. But what is the difference?

Getting the Maximum Cover

In the world of insurance, the devil may often be in the details. After all, there are many different "types" of insurance designed for specific situations, and you're not necessarily facing a one-type-fits-all solution whenever you require any business coverage.

Looking Beyond the Basics

As a hairdresser, you know that you need certain basic insurance policies in place before you can open your doors to customers or go on the road with your mobile operation. Public liability protection is the most critical type of coverage, which can protect you should another party be injured as part of their interaction with you.

Is Public Liability Insurance Enough?

Some people think this type of coverage can also cover issues with treatment, but this is not necessarily the case. Public liability insurance is there to help you deal with accidents, such as a slip and fall injury, when someone is in your salon. This type of insurance can also help should a customer trip over your treatment bag, which you may have inadvertently left on the floor when you visited their premises to offer a course of treatment.

Does Professional Indemnity Kick In?

But what about professional indemnity coverage? Doesn't this type of policy cover you if you make a mistake of some kind when administering the procedure? The short answer is — not necessarily. Professional indemnity cover is meant to provide you with some defence if you issue the wrong advice, which the customer follows to their detriment. For example, it's very commonplace in the financial services industry if a practitioner advises their client to make a particular investment, and they suffer a consequential loss. The client may be out of pocket, and the professional indemnity insurance may kick in.

Taking the Risk

As a therapist, your risk may be less well-defined, as, in certain circumstances, your actions could lead to actual bodily injury or mental anguish. In this case, you may face the risk of a malpractice suit and should consider insurance coverage specifically designed to cope with these situations.

Imagine what would happen if, on your recommendation, you bleached a customer's hair, and the process went seriously wrong. In this situation, it may trigger a major allergic reaction, which could lead to inflammation, swelling, pain, and a negative, visible outcome. The client may be less than happy with this scenario and may decide to pursue you for compensation instead.

Moving Beyond the Medical Field

But isn't malpractice something that is only found within the medical field? Certainly, it's very common for doctors and other practitioners to carry insurance in this situation, so they are protected in the event of a claim of medical negligence. Often, this can be due to misdiagnosis, a mistake during surgery or an incorrect treatment altogether. The practitioner may have violated a standard of care that is common in the industry. Alternatively, they may simply have been negligent, and as a direct result of this, the patient suffered the consequences. Remember, it's not simply sufficient to say that the outcome was "unfavourable", but the plaintiff may often have to prove the injury was caused by outright negligence.

Proving Malpractice

Still, it can be quite challenging to prove a case of medical malpractice and often very expensive to litigate. It may be necessary for the injured party to call in testimony from various medical experts and prove that they suffered significant damage due to the claimed negligence. They would need to pursue a case of sufficient size in order to cover the costs involved in processing it. In other words, they need to emphasise that the injury led to a loss of income, pain and suffering, hardship, ongoing bills or even disability.

Defending Your Position

As you can see, it's not always easy for a patient to bring forward or subsequently prove a case of "malpractice," but that does not mean that you should ignore the potential risks involved. If something does go wrong and a customer engages the services of a proactive attorney, then you may nevertheless receive a claim for compensation in the mail. You may need to defend your position as there will inevitably be some legal costs involved, and you should consider turning to your insurance company for support.

Extending Coverage

The good news is that therapists can get some malpractice insurance to augment their existing coverage and any public liability and professional indemnity policies already in place. You should discuss the matter with your insurance provider as soon as possible to see what they advise and learn about the malpractice insurance cost.

Maintaining Cover at All Times

Remember that you should maintain this type of cover over the long term, just in case. After all, you never know if an issue that relates to a treatment or therapy from the past may arise in the future. You need to have coverage in place at the time when the treatment was initially given and when a claim was put forward. So, if you do happen to change insurers at any point, ensure that the coverage is ongoing and will be retroactive.

Do You Need Malpractice Insurance for Your Therapist Business?

So, malpractice insurance is not something that is specific to the medical industry but could be an important consideration in your case. To learn more, discuss your needs with the experts at Salonsure, Australia's leading provider of hair and beauty insurance, and they'll let you know whether you have the most appropriate coverage. If need be, they will give you a quote for coverage and put your protection in place.


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