What insurance do I need for my beautician business?

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Beauty has more obvious risks than some other professions: straightener burns, allergic reactions to various creams, slips on tile floor spillages. That’s why you need beautician insurance.

Policies can cover a wide range of specialisms, including:

  • Hairdresser
  • Barber
  • Make-up artist
  • Nail technician
  • Manicurist/pedicurist

The individual treatments that are insured can be even more diverse and very much dependent on the policy.

Here is a rundown of the cover that you need by law, what is recommended and which restrictions you need to be wary of.

What insurance is legally required by beauticians?

If you have any employees at all, even an apprentice who’s working with you for a few weeks, you absolutely need employers’ liability insurance.

“Employers’ liability – even for volunteers and students – is a legal requirement as they can become ill or injured and take legal action against you,” says Jemma Holloway of Direct Line for Business.

“Or it could be for a spray tan treatment where they’re not told how to wear the mask properly and become unwell.”

You could face a hefty fine without this insurance, so make sure you have it in place.

What other insurance would be useful for my beauty business?

Public liability insurance covers you for any damage you do to a member of the public or their property. Holloway points to spilling wax on somebody’s clothes as an example. It could also be a case of staining the carpet in a client’s home if you’re a mobile beautician.

Some restrictions lie within public liability insurance. “Check which treatments you’re covered for – lip fillers and botox are often exempt,” says Holloway.

That’s where your supplementary cover comes in. Beauty treatment liability cover is for injury or illness caused by a treatment rather than by you. It could be burning, scarring or an allergic reaction.

Treatment liability covers legal defence fees if you get sued and compensation if you are found to be liable and need to pay up for damages. You’ll need it for riskier procedures including body wraps, ear piercing and hot stone massage – if you want to offer these services, do check they’re on your policy before you sign anything. Treatment liability should also be considered for lower-risk treatments such as ear hair flaming, face masks and dry and wet shaves.

Common exclusions on this cover include:

  • Botox
  • Hair removal
  • Medical procedures
  • Electrolysis

Similarly, product liability insurance covers you for a product you use on a client – or one that you supply to them – which turns out to be faulty or cause damage to their property.

Your next priority should be your stock. How would your business cope without certain pieces of kit? Think about your GHD straighteners, nail lamp, nail polishes or anything of value. Even if you only rent equipment, you’ll still need insurance in case of incidents like floods or fire. You may need add-ons for moving equipment around if you’re a mobile beautician too.

Covid-19 brought the lesser-known business interruption insurance to light as firms across the country were forced to close. Holloway explains what it is:

“Business interruption insurance is great for any small business. It covers loss of income that you experience when you can’t work but it’s important not to confuse it with personal injury cover. For example, it’ll come in handy if your property floods and you have financial losses because you can’t operate.”

As always, read the terms and conditions carefully. In a widespread incident such as the pandemic, it may be more difficult to secure a pay-out. Read more in Small firms win pay-outs in Covid business interruption insurance ruling

You’ve also got more standard optional extras like personal accident cover (covering you or an employee for an accidental bodily injury) or legal expenses (cover for certain legal action that may be taken against you). If you want to pass on your wisdom, some insurers also offer teacher training insurance. On the other side, there is student insurance which can cover you while you learn your craft.

What restrictions might I come across?

Longer-term treatments like body piercing, permanent make-up treatments and sunbeds may not be included in your policy, so watch out for that. Holloway points out that hair dying might not be covered either.

‘Body piercing, permanent make-up treatments and sunbeds may not be included’

For treatments like these, check which insurers include them as standard and which ones can add them on as an extra.

How do I find a policy that’s right for me?

Like other types of business, your beautician insurance can be tailored to you.

“Insurers are moving away from package policies,” says Holloway. “Businesses can choose how much cover they need.”

It’s always worth scouring the small print to make sure that you’re certain what is and what isn’t covered in your policy. If anything is unclear, ring up your insurer.

Renée Thornley runs The Beautiful Pretty in south east London and is a member of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC). She talks about finding the right policy and the changing nature of insurance.

How was your experience of finding insurance that was suitable for La Belle Jolie?

I’ve only ever been with one insurer for the last 30 years, who has provided me with the specialist cover I need that makes me supported and safe. When I started out there was no internet so it was important to me that I went with the most reputable professional body you could find as it is also important to clients that you are represented by a body that carries the gravitas required for your business.

What restrictions did you come across when you were doing your research?

The only restrictions were in approaching non beauty-based insurers they weren’t prepared or able to cover you back then.

What extras did you need for the business? What about cover for pregnant and post-natal women?

When I started in the industry, pregnant woman or clients with specialist medical conditions were all covered under your treatment policy – there wasn’t any differentiation. We weren’t such a litigious society back then.

I also worked as a volunteer when I started out, providing treatments in palliative care where we were all feeling our way in the dark slightly. There were no specialist qualifications for cancer care. As long as you were working with oncologists, or with a doctors’ permission, you were covered.

What advice do you have for other beauticians looking for an insurance policy?

Never work without insurance and look for companies that specialise in your field, particularly in the present climate with legal companies making wild claims about the size of compensation payouts they can extract from salons.

Keep detailed records and always report and document anything suspicious to your insurer immediately. I was once the victim of a bogus claim and the calm, solid advice and support I received kept me sane. Once I had handed over my evidence file to my insurers, the other party dropped the claim immediately.

Your insurance policy is your safety net; there are criminals out there now who specialise in making fraudulent claims against salons, so don’t leave yourself open and vulnerable. You are prey to all manner of unpleasant situations and your insurance policy is your best friend.

Read more

How to market your small hair salon – Here, Rob Straathof looks at the ways in which to generate interest online in a local salon

Starting your own hairdressing salon business – Hairdressing tops other professions for happiness levels and as an industry that attracts 340 million client visits a year, you can see why. So get chopping with our guide and start making waves as a salon owner

Starting a beauty business: mobile vs salon – Salon Gold explores the pros and cons of starting a mobile beauty business vs starting up a salon on the high street


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