How do you go about choosing insurance for a gym? When you’re opening a new fitness business, it’s important to make sure you’re fully protected. Get started choosing the right gym insurance for your new fitness club with this run down of what to consider.
Opening and running a gym business is an incredibly rewarding, yet complex, task. There are lots of moving parts that make up a successful fitness club. The right equipment. The right gym staff. The right software. Gym insurance is another key element that every successful fitness business prioritises.
The right insurance will give you peace of mind that you, your facilities, your staff, and your members are always protected. When choosing insurance for a gym you need to consider the coverage you need, your budget, and which provider offers the best option for you.
It’s an important choice for gym owner. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve created this guide. It includes everything you need to know in your gym insurance search.
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Choosing the right gym insurance is a smart decision. So is choosing the right gym management software. Our experts are here to give you the support and advice you need to make the smartest business decisions for your fitness club.
What insurance is needed for a gym?
What insurance do I need for a gym? That’s a common question for new gym owners (and experienced ones too!).
Buying any type of business insurance can be complex. And that’s true for gyms, health, and fitness clubs too. The exact policies needed will depend on a whole range of factors.
Do you need coverage as an employer? Special insurance for your equipment? Indemnity insurance? Liability insurance? Do you need a combination of two or more of these policies to protect yourself and your members?
We examine all the different kinds of insurance you need to consider for your gym business later in this article. As a rule of thumb, you will need public liability insurance at the very least. Public liability insurance will cover your fitness business for unfortunate events. For example, if a member sprains an ankle on your treadmill, or someone trips over a towel in your changing rooms.
And there’s more to gym insurance than just protecting you from any member mishaps or accidents. In fact, having the right insurance is essential for any fitness club.
Why is insurance essential for gyms and fitness clubs?
Insurance is a vital investment for all businesses. Insurance protects businesses from risks to staff, customers, and property alike. And the fitness industry can be higher risk than many others.
That’s not because gyms are unsafe. It’s because going to a gym or fitness club has an inherent level of risk you don’t always find elsewhere.
Exercise always carries the risk of injury. Commercial gym equipment can be expensive to replace if it becomes damaged. And the pools, showers and changing rooms found in many gyms will have wet floors. This presents a slipping hazard.
Protecting yourself and your valuable business assets from all the risks that come with the day-to-day running of your gym is crucial. And that makes investing in gym insurance essential.
Insurance protects you from events ranging from trips and falls to fire and floods. It protects you (and your team) from legal action. And can cover any legal costs if a member experiences an injury because of your business.
All that protection. All that peace of mind. Gym insurance is priceless for the ongoing success of your fitness business.
What types of insurance for a gym are available?
When opening a new gym business, or reviewing insurance options for an established one, you need to understand what type of cover you may need. So, you can decide which policies you’ll need.
Here are the key types of insurance to consider:
Public liability insurance
Public liability insurance for a gym is essential. In fact, if you work with members, customers or clients as any business, public liability cover is a sensible investment. And that’s why it’s a legal requirement that you have public liability cover.
This policy covers any legal costs that arise for allegations of injury or property damage. For example, if a member slips and sustains an injury because of a wet floor by your water cooler, your insurance is there to cover possible legal costs.
Professional indemnity cover
Public indemnity covers you in cases where a member trips, slips, or otherwise injures themselves in an accident. Yet, what if a member hurts themselves doing an exercise and claims you offered them poor advice?
In a case like this, you need professional indemnity insurance for your gym. This policy covers you against claims that you (or a member of your team) acted unprofessionally. It will typically cover:
- Failure to deliver services
- Copyright issues
- Personal injury
- And more
Professional indemnity insurance covers most legal costs and expenses needed to defend your people.
Setting up a gym can be costly. Think of all the commercial gym equipment you’ve invested in. All the stock and other supplies. All the computers and laptops you use for day-to-day admin. All your access control hardware.
If your club had property stolen or damaged, how would you replace, or repair, affected items? What if flooding or fire damaged the contents of your gym, how would you get back up and running as fast as possible?
With a gym contents insurance policy, you’d be able to recoup the costs of replacing damaged or stolen items. So, you’d be back in business as quickly as possible with less stress.
You can also invest in specialist gym equipment insurance. This is usually provided by an insurer or the manufacturer. Equipment insurance helps you to replace or repair damaged equipment without incurring extra expense.
At some point, your gym equipment could sustain damage, even if it’s always used as intended. Nothing lasts forever. So, making sure you’ll get a pay out if something happens is well worth the up-front costs of a policy.
Buildings or commercial property insurance
Contents and equipment insurance cover what’s inside your gym. Whereas buildings insurance covers the structure itself.
Structural damage to your gym or fitness club can be one of the most expensive types of damage to repair. And that means many gyms who own their own premises place a high value on buildings insurance.
If you rent a commercial business space, the building will usually be insured by your landlord or letting company. So, buildings insurance is not always necessary for a fitness club or gym.
Business interruption insurance
The policies we’ve covered so far will protect you against expenses to fix a problem that impacts your gym.
Yet, what if something happened to your club and you couldn’t open until everything was fixed or replaced? Contents and equipment insurance will cover repairs and replacements. What about loss of earnings?
This is where business interruption insurance comes in. A business interruption policy will cover your lost income. And that means you can still pay your staff and suppliers while you get your business up and running again.
Employers liability insurance
We’ve mentioned cover for if something happens to your members, or your equipment. Yet what about if something happens to a member of your team?
If a staff member experienced an injury at work, you could be liable for expenses. And face a costly legal settlement.
If the worst happened to a team member, employers liability insurance would cover costs.
Much like public liability insurance, this kind of policy is a must have for any gym. It’s a legal requirement. UK employers must have the right kind of cover from an authorised insurer.
Fidelity insurance protects your gym against theft by an employee, partner, or contractor.
Nobody likes to think that the people that they’ve worked so hard to recruit, or chosen to partner with, may steal from them. This sort of crime is commonplace. So, choosing a fidelity insurance policy could be a very smart business decision.
Directors and officers insurance
If there’s an allegation of mismanagement in the running of your business, this can put directors or officers at risk.
Every director or officer in a company has professional duties and responsibilities to follow. So, they are liable and answerable to employees, stakeholders, members, regulatory bodies, government organisations (like HM Revenue and Customs), and others.
Directors and officers insurance protects directors and officers within your company. It can give you financial support to cover legal costs of defending an allegation. Plus, any settlement charges.
How much does gym insurance cost in the UK?
The precise cost of gym insurance for your business will depend on the type of cover you choose and your specific business. For example, a larger gym may need a more expensive set of policies than a small boutique gym.
On average UK businesses spend Employers’ liability insurance typically comes in at between £60 to £300 per employee each year.
For gyms, Simply Business calculates that as of March 2023, gyms can expect to pay:
- £33.53 per month (£298.07 per year) for a small family gym with 1 employee, 2-3 years in business and no saunas/steam rooms. That offers £1 million in public liability cover, £10 million in employers’ liability cover, and £7,500 in contents and buildings equipment cover
- £56.99 per month (£506.61 per year) for a medium-size gym with 4 employees, 5+ years in business and a sauna and Turkish bath facilities. That offers £2 million in public liability cover, £10 million in employers’ liability cover, and £20,000 in contents and business equipment cover
Gym insurance is an important investment
The costs are worth paying. Gym insurance is there to cover you against the unknown, so you can get back to running your business as usual fast.
Insurance is an investment in the unexpected. And whether you are dealing with a member accident or damage caused by fire or flooding, the right gym insurance could pay for itself.
If you need to make a claim on your insurance, you’ll usually need to pay an excess. Choosing a policy with a higher excess to pay can decrease the overall insurance cost in some circumstances.
Consider how much you would be willing to pay as an excess in various scenarios. For example, if you need to make a claim worth £5,000 against your public liability insurance and have an excess of £2,500, the maximum pay out would be £2,500.
How to choose gym insurance
When choosing business insurance, you need to adopt a strategic mindset. Think carefully about business needs now and in the future. As well as potential events in the future, to identify exactly insurance coverage what your gym needs.
1: Review your business needs
Before you choose your gym insurance policies, you need to work out which ones best match the exact needs of your business. Split the policies into must haves, nice to haves, and not needed.
Your must haves will include the basics like public liability cover. And, if you employ staff, you’ll need employer liability cover. At the very least your insurance should include these policies. If you’ve invested heavily in equipment, then contents insurance and/or equipment cover may be a must have.
Next are the policies you could do without if your financial situation demanded it. Things like fidelity cover, or professional indemnity. They’re policies you may well need in the future but think you can survive without for the time being.
Finally, there are policies you just don’t need. If you rent a building and the landlord has buildings insurance, you won’t need an additional policy. If you run a fitness studio and your equipment is limited to a set of foam mats, then specialist equipment cover is unlikely to be needed.
Analyse the way you work, and the potential risks to your fitness club. Then, with a wish list of policies in hand, start looking at insurers who can provide what you need.
2: Contact the right suppliers
There are specialist insurers and brokers who work closely with the fitness industry. While you can look at more general insurers, putting at least one of these experts on your shortlist before you start comparing deals can be wise:
- Insure4Sport is a specialist gym insurance provider that provides dedicated cover for gym operators, fitness instructors, and personal trainers. Their gym cover is designed to protect you and your staff, with tailored policies that include everything you need
- SportsCover Direct also offers tailored packages to gyms and health & fitness clubs. Their specialist policy includes public, professional, and employers’ liability cover. And can also be tailored to include buildings and contents cover, or a business interruption policy
- Towergate Insurance offers a tailored cover package built for gyms, fitness clubs, studios, and yoga clubs. Their property insurance policy covers all your sports and gym equipment, weights, stock, and office and kitchen equipment, along with employers’ liability cover to make sure you’re protected
- Simply Business offers cover from just £4.46 per month which can be tailored to include everything from liability cover to office equipment insurance and even buildings cover. So, you’ll have all the gym insurance you could possibly need
3: Compare the deals
Having spoken to the specialists, and some general insurers, you’ll have a set of coverage options at different prices. The temptation here is to go for the cheapest option, but it’s key to focus on value, not cost.
Always make sure to compare the following:
- The value of cover
- Scenarios insured for
- Any excesses you’d pay when making a claim
- Average settlement time
- Ease of making a claim
- Access to phone or webchat support
The right cover for you might not be the cheapest. Yet, it may help resolve any challenges that impact your business faster.
It’s your decision. So, take the time to weigh up the pros and cons, the value and the costs, before settling on the provider who offers the right cover for your gym or fitness club.
When to update a gym insurance policy
With cover in place, you’ll need to remember to take the time to review and update your policy if you:
- Move location – you’ll need to notify your insurer of a change of address anyway, so take the opportunity to make sure your cover is right for your new location, especially if it’s bigger or has a new set of facilities
- Bring on new staff – employer liability cover is usually priced per employee. So, bringing on new team members will mean your policy needs to be updated. This works in reverse too. If you let a few people go, you may be able to reduce your monthly payments
- Make significant changes to your business – if you make changes to your business, whether that’s investing in new equipment, adding new classes, changing your opening hours, switching to unmanned access control, or offering new services, then it makes sense to review your policies and make sure you’re still covered
If you haven’t reviewed or updated your policies for two years or more, it might also be worth setting aside a little time to make sure you’ve still got the right policy at the right price. After all, you never know which deals are out there.
The wrap up…
Choosing the right insurance for a gym is essential to your success.
Take the time to work out what cover you need. Identify potential risks to your gym and select the policies to protect you from those risks. Compare costs and coverage from different insurance providers. Make an informed choice on gym insurance to protect your business.
And like all fitness business ideas, choosing the right insurance policy for your gym is one of those little decisions that leads to huge results for your business.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 21 August 2023
Last updated: 14 November 2023