As a self-employed hairdresser, you are open to a unique set of risks in your everyday work. Whether a customer is accidentally burned, their hair is damaged by your usual treatment products, or they slip on loose hair on the floor, this is where public liability insurance comes in. 

This article will look at the following areas to tell you everything you need to know as a self-employed hairdresser:

What is public liability insurance?

Public liability is an insurance policy that covers your business in case any claim is made against you by a member of the public. It covers if someone is harmed (physically or emotionally) or their property is damaged in an accident when dealing with your business. 

This could be at any location, such as while they were on your premises, if you were at their home, or working at an event. Public liability insurance will also cover any incidents involved in using your products, like if the customer has a reaction to your hair dye or bleaching agent. 

The insurance covers any legal fees as well as compensation for the person involved. A small business compensation in the tens of thousands could be a massive blow without this protection. Public liability insurance ultimately protects the future of your business in case a customer makes a claim against you.

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it would be unwise to go without a policy as a company that constantly deals with public members. In a hairdressing role, there are risks of accidents throughout your entire day, from allergic reactions to slipping on wet floor. It’s important to be protected against valid claims even when it is not directly your fault.

Who needs public liability insurance?

Any business with high exposure to the public should have a public liability policy in place, hence why it should be a priority for self-employed hairdressers. 

Sometimes you might find that you aren’t allowed to attend an industry event or work for/at certain venues if you don’t have a public liability insurance policy. This is to protect all parties involved (you, the customers and the venue/event organisers) if any accidents should happen at the event. 

Suppose you regularly rent chairs at different salons. In that case, you will have to check with each site if they require you to have public liability to work there or if their salon has a policy that protects self-employed hairdressers that use their facilities.

What is covered?

Every policy will be different, so ensure that you always read the small print when choosing the right policy. 

Sometimes mishaps are unavoidable, and the types of incidents that are covered usually fall into these brackets:

  • Damage to a customer’s property caused by you or the hairdressing work you are carrying out.
  • An injury caused to a customer by you, or any employees you may have, as a result of any hairdressing activities.

This is by no means an extensive list, but here are some examples of circumstances that would be included in an insurance policy to help you get an idea of what would be covered:

  • Your hair dye stains a customer’s carpet when working at their home.
  • A coffee spill damages the customer’s phone.
  • The customer’s scalp gets burned while you are carrying out a routine dye treatment.
  • The customer’s ear is burned by you using a hair curler or straightener.
  • The customer has a severe allergic reaction to the styling products you are using.
  • A customer slips on a freshly cleaned floor and hurts their back.

So what will not be covered by the policy? Your premises will need both buildings and contents insurance if you own the building, or just contents if you rent the space. Damage to your property will likely be covered by its own insurance and not a public liability policy.  

Standard public liability insurance policies for hairdressers will usually not include invasive treatments that are sometimes available at salons or by mobile beauty therapists. These include chemical peels, injectable botox or skin treatments, or permanent makeup applications. For this, you will require a specialist policy that will likely have a higher monthly premium due to more risk.

How much should public liability insurance for hairdressers cost?

Every insurer will have a different price, but generally speaking, public liability insurances are fairly low cost. By looking at comparison sites, you should expect to pay under £100 a month for a standard policy. For a business that deals with the public often (such as a hairdresser), the price will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • How much experience you have and your track record
  • What treatments you offer
  • How many appointments you service
  • The level of cover you require
  • If you have had to make a claim before

For an insurer, it’s all about minimising risk. So, for example, if you have been running your business for many years without making a claim before, your policy will be cheaper than if you are new to trading.

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