Are You and Your Pole & Aerial Studio Properly Insured?
Insurance For Pole & Aerial Studios
In order to protect yourself, your staff, and your business, you need to have the right insurance coverage. Many pole and aerial studio owners and/or instructors have mistakenly obtained the wrong insurance coverage. If you have insurance for general fitness, yoga, pilates, etc., you are most likely NOT going to be covered by your policy if a student in six inch stilettos inverts and falls on their head.
Q: What kinds of insurance do I need?
A: You will need liability insurance, fire and theft (whether you own or rent), umbrella insurance, and possibly workman’s compensation ( if you have salaried employees). We live in a society where people are quick to sue and take advantage so be sure that you, your instructors, and your landlord understand who is responsible for the safety and well being of your student body and staff. Also, be sure to secure an insurance binder from your insurer for the specific dates when you will be rehearsing or performing off site. This way, students and instructors are insured under the policy when they’re doing performances offsite.
In addition, equipment needs to be insured. You need proper liability for students while they are the in classroom as well as coming and going from the building (these will be separate policies). There are many insurance companies that specifically give policies for liability for studios based on the number of students and style of dance taught.
Some major companies are worth checking out for complete overall coverage. You cannot afford to be underinsured.
Q: Is a printed or signed disclaimer necessary and can it protect me?
A: You may print a disclaimer in your brochure or request a signed disclaimer for general classes at your studio. However, it will not protect you from any form of negligence by yourself or an employee. It simply informs the students that there is a certain amount of risk in their activity. A disclaimer is absolutely necessary when taking students on a trip or in any kind of transportation vehicle that you are responsible for. This disclaimer helps parents and students to understand the natural risk of travel. However, it still will not protect YOU from any personal form of negligence. Do not assume that a disclaimer is in any way shape or form ultimately protecting you from responsibility.
Q: What will my rates be based on?
A: Generally, your rates will be based on the number students enrolled at your studio, your geographic location and what types of dance/fitness you offer. You will also have to pay more if you offer aerial classes or anything similar.
Q: Can I or one of my teachers be held personally liable for an injury?
A: Absolutely, which is why it is equally important that you and your staff carry their own personal umbrella policy – you can get that through just about any insurance company. This is not just for people teaching dance or fitness; in general you can be sued if you hit someone in a car beyond what is typical coverage.
You need to thoroughly investigate your possibilities if you have a contracted teacher, guest artists, etc. You can still be held responsible when they are teaching at your studio. Find out what your other risks are. Do not be caught by surprise or assume that your instructors understand the limits of your responsibility over theirs. Are your employees salaried or independent?
Q: I don’t know a lot about insurance. What can I do?
A: Get yourself a GREAT insurance agent. However, be mindful of the fact they often do not know the particulars of liability and risk for dance studios’ needs. Be sure you do your own due diligence to search the web and call companies that deal with dance insurance, speak to colleagues and thoroughly evaluate your own risks before you purchase insurance. Find someone who can shop around for rates for you and will work for you and be your ally. If you have a local Chamber of Commerce, you may request a list of reputable agents. Remember, you are the customer and purchasing insurance is an important product to get right.