The life of a hairdresser can be golden, glamorous and fun. There's a certain gratification and satisfaction that a good hairdresser feels when a hair style is complete and a client is glowing with appreciation because of a job well done. However, although one can only hope that every client responds as enthusiastically, particularly when work is carried out to the 'gold standard', that is not always the case! We have a compensation culture in the UK, and just one successful claim (or even an unsuccessful one) can cause untold financial damage to a freelancer or salon owner.
The business side to a self-employed hairdresser or beauty salon owner is serious and involves a duty to care for the business, clients, staff and the public in general. That is why, just like other trades, a UK hairdresser needs insurance cover for things like the hair dye that accidentally stains a client's carpet, a product that causes an allergic reaction, equipment that fails, an employee sustaining an injury or illness whilst working -- the list goes on and on. Legal proceedings and the number of claims filed against hairdressers is not uncommon and continues to grow as more people find that taking a legal recourse could reap great financial benefits.
Hairdressers in the UK need insurance cover whether they run a mobile business, work out of their home, have their own salon or work for someone else as a freelancer. The amount of insurance will likely depend on factors including where your work is done, how many employees you have and how big your business is. Click here if you need more information about mobile hairdressers insurance.
Typical cover for UK hairdressers include:
Public Liability Insurance
Any third party or member of the general public can make a claim against you if they are injured or their property is damaged whilst having services provided by your business. Without Public Liability Insurance, if someone should slip and fall because of a water spill from a sink, for example, they can file a claim. If you are proven at fault, you will have to pay what could be an extraordinary amount of money in compensation and legal fees, which could put you right out of business. A Public Liability Insurance policy will likely cover legal expenses and financial damages due to damage to property or injury suffered by a third party or member of the general public, which was caused by your business.
Hairdressers who have clients, customers or visitors to their salon or work at customer's homes need to strongly consider and discuss Public Liability options. Usual cover amounts for small hairdressing businesses are at least £1 million to £5 million. Keep in mind that if you rent space in a salon, the owner may insist that you have Public Liability Insurance.
Employers' Liability Insurance
Any hairdresser operating a business out of a home or in a salon employing one or more additional staff including full-time, part-time, student or self-employed hairdressers, must have Employers' Liability Insurance. The only exemptions may be if the employees are close relatives, the business is not incorporated as limited, or if you are the only employee and own 50% or more of the business. If you think any of these exemptions may apply, you may well consider that it would be wise to still have the insurance, even if you are not legally liable to do so.
It is mandatory by law to have Employers' Liability Insurance if one or more staff is involved. If an employee is injured, killed or suffers a disease or illness that can be related to your business, Employers' Liability will likely cover the claim made by the employee against you. It should also include cover for expenses and costs accrued for your defence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - regarding the welfare of employees.
Any small business including hairdressing, must have a minimum cover of at least £5 million. Many insurance companies will likely suggest at least £10 million considering the liabilities and risks a hairdressing business faces.
A certificate of Employers' Liability must be displayed where it can easily be read by employees, and it must state levels of cover provided and company or companies covered by the policy.
Product Liability Insurance
Obviously, hairdressers rely on and use many haircare products and treatments. Salons often sell products to customers as part of their business. Product Liability Insurance protects your hairdressing business from injuries or damages a customer might experience because of a defective product. For example, let us say that a new hair gel just found a place in your salon's retail section. A customer purchases the product and takes it home. She opens the cover and attempts to pump some gel into her hand. The pump explodes causing injury to her hand. This could amount to a costly claim even if you are found not to be negligent and you could be liable for injuries and damages because your salon sold the product.
Product Liability Insurance could cover medical and damage claims as well as legal defence costs. A standard amount is usually offered up to £5 million by many UK insurers. There are instances when an insurer will also offer Product Liability Insurance as part of a package that might include Public and Employers' Liability Insurance as well.
Other cover sometimes worth considering
Additional insurances that a hairdresser may wish to consider are Buildings and Contents cover, which offers protection should something happen to your hairdressing salon or studio space and its contents; Business Interruption cover, which helps to recover some loss of income should you have to close down for a period of time because of a fire or other circumstances and Hairdressers Tools Insurance, which may insure hairdressing tools whilst on or off site from theft or damage.