Here is an excellent article explaining why PDC requires its members to be covered by both professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
What insurance do dance teachers need?
Arranging dance teacher insurance can be a minefield. Almost all dance teachers need liability insurance in order to hire a premises or to cover them in case something goes wrong during a session, but getting your head around the different types of cover available isn't easy.
For the vast majority of dance teachers, there are two insurance covers in particular which should be considered – professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. Which one do you need?
Let’s take an example; a student falls and hurts themselves whilst in a class being run by you, they hold you responsible and threaten to sue you. Which policy would respond to protect you? Well, it could be either or both!
Professional indemnity insurance for dance teachers
Professional indemnity insurance provides cover against allegations of professional negligence. This means that if you were to give advice or instruction to a student, and they were injured or lost money (such as fees they paid you) as a result of it, you would be covered.
If, in the above example, the student fell and injured themselves because they had performed a move badly and they allege that you had not properly explained how to do it then that would be a professional indemnity claim. In today’s litigious society claims like these are becoming increasingly common.
A further example would be if you were tutoring students in order for them to gain acceptance into stage school. Let’s assume that after weeks of training, the student is unsuccessful at their entrance audition and is not accepted into the school. The parents are aggrieved that they have spent a significant sum of money on their child’s development with no gain from it. They threaten to sue you to claim back the money they have paid for your services. More and more claims like this are being brought against teaching professionals.
Public liability insurance for dance teachers
Public liability insurance provides cover against injury or damage caused to a third party.
Going back to our original example, let’s say a mat slipped during a routine because the floor was slippy. The student falls and lands heavily on their wrist, spraining it and being unable to work for several days. They threaten to sue you for not ensuring the matt was secured properly before the class began. Another example could be if you were carrying out a dance fitness class involving weights. A student trips over a weight that has been left lying around and hurts their knee.
These injuries have not resulted from your professional negligence but from your failure to maintain a safe environment – therefore the professional indemnity policy would not apply but the public liability policy would.
If you hire the premises, then you might be able to pass the claim on to the landlord, but you would still have to respond to the claim made against you. Even if it’s not your fault and you haven’t been negligent, if a claim is made against you then you are almost certain to incur legal costs. If you don’t have the right policy then those costs will have to come out of your own pocket.
It can be difficult at times to decide whether a claim would fall under a public liability policy or a professional indemnity policy. The last thing you want to be doing when someone makes a claim against you is to be arguing with insurers as to who is covering what, so it makes sense that you insure both public liability and professional liability with the same insurer, preferably under the same policy. That way any ‘dispute’ as to whether it’s a public liability or professional liability claim is purely an internal matter for the insurer.
Liability claims are very common (‘public’ and ‘professional’), in no small part due to the ‘no win, no fee’ culture – so for most dance teachers, both covers provide essential protection.
Other dance teacher insurance
If you have employees, employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement. It covers you against claims that could arise from staff illnesses or injuries that are a result of working for you.
If you own your own studio, consider arranging buildings and contents insurance in case a flood, fire or other disaster were to happen and you couldn’t use your studio any more.
Limits of cover
The limit of cover is the maximum amount your policy will pay out in the event of a claim. When choosing a limit, it is important not to under-insure. It’s worth considering the size of your business and the costs involved with a ‘worst case scenario’ when choosing limits of cover.
How to minimise risks
By fully and clearly explaining dance routines, keeping a studio tidy and giving equipment a quick check before a lesson, you can help to minimise the chances of an incident occurring and a claim being brought against you.
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