Unlike many other types of business owners, hair stylists and barbers often work as independent contractors. In other cases, they travel to private clients to render their services. Whether you own a salon or spa, or you rent your chair, you may need hair salon or barber insurance. Sometimes called esthetician insurance, salon insurance protects your business from claims arising from personal injuries and other types of liability. Here’s what you need to know if you’re in the salon business.
What Is Hair Salon and Barber Insurance?
While the average person may not immediately understand why a hair stylist or barber would need salon liability insurance, there are plenty of reasons why stylists should protect themselves and their business. Generally, a stylist’s liability falls into two main areas: claims resulting from a dissatisfied client, and claims that stem from an accident or injury that takes place in a salon.
Claims That Involve a Dissatisfied Client
Most people take great pride in their appearance. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” For better or worse, it’s human nature to judge an individual based on looks. People rely on stylists to help them put their best foot — or in this case — hair or face forward. While it may sound a little far-fetched to imagine someone suing their hair stylist or barber over a bad cut or a botched colour job, it’s not as rare as you might think. While most people will simply shrug off a bad cut and perhaps don a hat for a while, clients who suffer serious injuries due to harsh chemicals or scalp lacerations may turn to the justice system for help. In 2015, six women in Texas filed a lawsuit against a salon owner who made his own hair products after they claimed the products caused significant hair loss. Because hair salons often work with strong chemicals, burns and even eye injuries are possible if a stylist makes a mistake, or a customer suffers an allergic or adverse reaction. In most cases, these types of claims straddle the line between a client who is simply unhappy and a client who has sustained a real injury. This is why it’s important for salon owners to have a business owner’s policy that includes malpractice insurance for cosmetologists.
Claims That Involve Accidents and Injuries in the Salon
Many hair stylists and barbers own a salon, which means they own a complicated business. Like any other entrepreneur, they manage a lot of moving parts. From accounting and human resources issues to customer service and inventory management, they must oversee a wide range of issues — any of which can lead to potential liability or an insurance claim. Simply put, if you own any type of business, including a salon business, you need a business owner’s policy. At My Insurance Broker, we can help you find a commercial general liability policy tailor made for your salon, spa or barber business.
Slips and Falls
For example, what happens if a client walks into your salon and slips and falls in a puddle of slush? Most salons and barber shops have smooth, durable flooring that is easy to clean and sweep free of hair. Unfortunately, this type of hard flooring can also cause serious injuries in a slip and fall accident.
Burns and Other Injuries
A bad experience at a salon can negatively impact a person’s appearance — but it can also take a toll on their health. In the UK in 2010, a bride-to-be suffered serious chemical burns that caused her to go temporarily blind and experience pain so severe doctors in the emergency room gave her morphine as they drained fluid from her scalp. Clients can also suffer serious infections, especially in cases involving tattoos and piercings. A CBS News report states: “Hepatitis, staph infections and even the superbug known as MRSA have been tied to tattoos.” In one case, investigators found that dozens of people developed a skin infection caused by tattoo artists mixing black ink with water in an effort to lighten it. The report stated that even distilled water, as well as water treated with witch hazel or alcohol to cut down on the bacteria risk, can still cause infection.
Car Accidents Involving Employees
Or what about a salon employee who travels to a client’s home to style an updo for a wedding? What happens if the stylist is involved in a car accident while driving from the salon to the client’s house? In many cases, workers’ compensation insurance will cover the stylist’s lost wages and any out-of-pocket medical bills, but there are instances in which it’s the salon owner’s responsibility to compensate the stylist for his or her injuries.
Many salons also perform intimate services, such as waxing and massages. In 2017, more than 180 former clients filed lawsuits against a popular massage chain, alleging the chain’s massage therapists had engaged in sexual assaults. Without esthetician insurance, a salon or spa owner may be forced to close their doors.
Salon professionals can also suffer serious occupational injuries. In recent years, researchers have linked the harsh chemicals used in nail salons to debilitating respiratory illnesses in manicurists and pedicurists, who work with about 20 different types of solvents and chemicals known to cause laboured breathing, shortness of breath and burning in the throat and lungs. A 2006 study found that estheticians “who worked with artificial nails were about three times as likely to get asthma on the job as someone not in the industry.” A New York Times report also detailed numerous reproductive problems among female manicurists, including a high rate of miscarriages and developmental disorders in their children.
Disaster and Theft
Whether your salon is located in a storefront, or you work as a stylist out of your home, extreme weather, a fire or a busted pipe can put you out of work for weeks — and maybe even permanently. If your equipment is damaged, or the lights go out due to a fire or flood, you’ll have to shut your doors until you repair the salon and purchase new tools. This can cost you your clients, your reputation and perhaps even your business. Likewise, theft and vandalism can hurt your business and cost you money. Additionally, data theft and other cyber crimes can take down your computer network and even compromise clients’ private data. Because most commercial general liability policies exclude coverage for computer-related claims, it’s a good idea to add cyber insurance to your salon insurance policy.
Who Needs Barber or Salon Insurance?
If you provide any kind of personal service in the beauty industry, you need salon insurance. Salon professionals can include barbers, estheticians, massage therapists, tattoo artists, manicurists and pedicurists, hair stylists, makeup artists and piercing professionals.
3 Things to Consider Before You Purchase Salon Insurance
Before you even take on your first client, it’s important to protect your business with salon liability insurance. Buying any kind of business insurance can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you’re not in this alone. Here are three things to keep in mind.
How an Insurance Broker Can Help?
An experienced insurance broker can help you determine what kind of coverage you need. Even better, a broker can offer you options from multiple insurance companies, so you can find the best coverage at a price that fits your budget. Unlike an agent, who works for the insurance company, a broker works for you. At My Insurance Broker, we partner with 28 top insurance companies in Canada. We’ll give you choices, so you know you’re getting the best protection for your salon business.
Are You a Salon Owner or an Independent Contractor?
Do you own a salon with an employee or two — or several? Are you a salon-trepreneur who uses her car to provide mobile beauty services? The answers to these questions will determine what kind of salon liability insurance is best for your business. For example, if you have employees who use their cars for work, or you’re an independent contractor who uses your car to travel to clients’ homes, you may want to think about commercial auto insurance.
Cheaper ≠ Better
Price is definitely a factor when it comes to choosing a policy, but it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. You worked hard to get licensed, and you worked even harder to start your own business. Isn’t it worth protecting? This is where having an insurance broker on your side is an invaluable asset. Our brokers will work with you to evaluate policies, explain your options and help you choose coverage that is both affordable and worth the investment.
Call My Insurance Broker to Discuss Your Salon Insurance Policy
Protect your salon, spa or barber shop with salon insurance that will keep you in business, even if disaster strikes. Call My Insurance Broker today at 1 (855) 482-5001 to get your free salon insurance quote. You can also get in touch with us online.