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What our Nerds say about therapist insurance

Working as a therapist involves delicate conversations and a huge amount of responsibility towards your clients. Given the sensitivity of your profession, if things were to go wrong, you could end up with a costly claim made against your business.

That is why you may want to consider therapist insurance. It is a term used to describe a collection of business insurance policies designed to cover the legal fees and compensation costs if such a claim were made.

Therapist insurance will mean different things to different businesses. If you are registered as a sole trader and work from your own home, you will have different needs to someone who runs their own therapists’ office with multiple employees.

What is therapist insurance?

As a therapist, you are there to support your clients with their mental wellbeing. It is a complicated and important relationship that can involve a level of influence over the lives of others.

With that comes both responsibility and risk. If something were to go wrong, you and your business may end up facing a costly claim.

That is why therapist insurance usually has professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance at its core.

Professional indemnity insurance for therapists is there to cover times where a client claims you have been negligent in your treatment, breached your professional duty of care, or have given them bad advice.

» COMPARE: Professional indemnity insurance

Public liability insurance, on the other hand, is designed for times where a third party, including your clients, suffers an injury or has their property damaged in the course of your business activities.

» COMPARE: Public liability insurance

Alongside those policies, you may also want to consider business equipment insurance, to cover the cost of replacing your laptop, computer, or other essential equipment if they are lost, stolen or accidentally damaged.

Cyber insurance, meanwhile, can cover the associated costs of events such as hacking, malware attacks, and other data breaches. This includes data recovery, and the fees related to a breach of privacy claim if you were to lose sensitive and confidential information.

If you run your own therapists’ office, you may want to look into business buildings and contents insurance, to protect your commercial building and the fixtures and fittings inside.

Similarly, if your business premise were to become unusable, for example due to a flood or fire, business interruption insurance could help with your lost income.

And, if you have any non-family member employees based in the UK, you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance worth at least £5 million.

» COMPARE: Business insurance with NerdWallet

Do therapists need business insurance?

Legally, the one form of business insurance you must have as a therapist is employers’ liability insurance. And that is only if you employ any non-family members based in the UK.

It is there to cover the costs if an employee gets injured, or falls ill, during your business activities. For example, if they trip over your laptop cable and hit their head, causing a concussion.

However, as a therapist, there are other forms of insurance that may be required by your professional body. For example, both the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) state that their members must have professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.

And it’s not hard to imagine a situation where you would be relieved to have these policies in place.

Say a client feels your services have had a negative impact on their mental health. If they make a claim against you and your business, professional indemnity insurance could cover any legal fees and compensation costs. It may even apply if a client who previously expressed that they were happy with their treatment later claimed your therapy had exacerbated their anxiety or grief, for example.

As for public liability insurance, even the safest environment can be full of unseen hazards. A spilt coffee could ruin a client’s handbag, while a recently cleaned floor could cause someone to slip and injure themselves. You may even accidentally scratch your client’s car on your way to a home visit. In each incident, public liability insurance would cover the costs of a claim made against your business.

What does therapist insurance cover?

Just as therapist businesses come in many shapes and sizes – from sole traders to those running their own small clinics – so too does therapist insurance.

However, you can typically expect your package to cover a combination of the following policies:

  • professional indemnity insurance
  • public liability insurance
  • business equipment insurance

Depending on the specifics of your business, you may also want to consider:

  • business buildings and contents insurance
  • cyber insurance
  • employers’ liability insurance

What isn’t usually included in therapist insurance?

What is and isn't included in your therapist insurance package is largely down to what you do and don’t choose to pay for.

So if you fail to include cyber insurance, and sensitive client information is stolen after you clicked a phishing link, you will be left to pay any associated costs – including legal fees and compensation if a client makes a claim against you – out of your own pocket.

Another type of insurance to consider that is unlikely to be included in your therapist insurance, is business car insurance. If you drive to multiple locations for work, then you will likely need class 1 business car insurance to make sure you are properly insured on the road.

How much does therapist insurance cost?

The cost of therapist insurance will vary depending on the needs of your business. In general, the following may affect the price of your premium:

  • how many policies you choose to take out
  • the level of cover you want from each policy
  • how many employees you have
  • the years of experience you have as a therapist
  • whether you are a sole trader or a limited company

How to choose the best therapist insurance package

Therapist insurance isn’t one size fits all. It can be altered to accommodate a freelance therapist working at home, a therapists’ office with multiple employees, and everything in between.

You should evaluate the exact needs of your business, and what you want to be covered for, to make sure you don’t end up with a bunch of policies you will never use.

Then, once you have an idea of what you are after, you can look to get a therapist insurance quote.

» COMPARE: Therapist insurance

Therapist Insurance FAQs

What types of insurance do therapists need?

If you employ anyone as part of your therapy business that is based in the UK, and isn’t a family member, then you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance.

Some professional bodies, such as BACP and UKCP, will also require you to take out professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance as a condition of your membership.

You may also want to consider other more select insurance policies such as business equipment insurance, cyber insurance, and business buildings and contents insurance to cover your business for a wider range of scenarios.

» MORE: Do I need business insurance?

Why is public liability insurance important to a therapist?

As a therapist, you are regularly in contact with members of the public, specifically your clients. This means that there is a risk they could get injured, or have their property damaged, during your business activities.

Public liability insurance is there to pay for the compensation costs and legal fees if this were to happen.

Is professional indemnity insurance a requirement for therapists?

While it is not a legal requirement for therapists, some professional bodies, such as BACP and UKCP, state you must have professional indemnity insurance to be a member.

About the author

Connor Campbell
Connor is a writer and spokesperson for NerdWallet. Previously at Spreadex, his market commentary has been quoted in the likes of the BBC, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Reuters and The Independent. Read more
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