As a nutritionist, it is your goal to help your clients meet their nutritional goals and leave them satisfied with your expertise, but as you expand your business and services you open yourself to increased opportunities for misunderstandings and legal liability. Investing in comprehensive insurance protects your financial well-being and professional licenses if a client or third party decides to pursue legal action against you. Regardless of if you are self-employed, work for an employer who provides insurance, or a small business owner it is important to be aware of the different types of insurance available to you and ensure you are properly protected in case of an accident or lawsuit.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional Liability Insurance is also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance or Medical Malpractice Insurance. This video offers insight into the benefits of having your own insurance beyond what may be offered by your employer. Professional liability insurance will protect you against claims that you have failed to preform a professional service or that you have been negligent in your service to a patient. Many insurance companies include State Licensing Board Defense Coverage as part of their professional liability coverage. Many professional nutritionist and dietitian associations have negotiated discounted rates for professional liability insurance, you may want to check with any of your professional memberships when you search for the right insurance company for you. Professional liability insurance only provides coverage for the individual named by the policy.
General Liability Insurance
This type of insurance protects your business from claims that contractors, vendors, employees, patients, or any third party could bring against you. General liability coverage is limited to property damage, libel, slander, negligence, and bodily injury related to business activities. General liability insurance provides protection to owners, employees, volunteers and most people who are working in an official capacity for your business.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Worker’s compensation insurance provides coverage for medical expenses, lost wages and protection from lawsuit if an employee (and in some policies a volunteer) is injured in while performing their job duties. Most states require that businesses provide worker’s compensation insurance and specific requirements will vary from state to state. Any insurance agency can help ensure your coverage meets the requirements of your state or you can learn more about your states requirements by contacting the appropriate state organization from this list provided by the United States Department of Labor.
Property insurance provides coverage for medical equipment, your building and other business assets in case of fire, power surges, mechanical failure, natural disasters and criminal activity. The details of coverage will vary with different insurance providers and selected coverage levels. Some insurance policies even cover loss of income that results from an event that requires your business to shut down temporarily.
Many nutritionists electronically store and transmit sensitive patient records and personal information. Cyber liability insurance protects you if that data is compromised as the result of a cyber attack or data theft. Coverage can include judgments or settlements to clients whose information is exposed, legal expenses as a result of a data breech, HIPAA required client notification, credit monitoring services provided to clients, and marketing campaigns to help rebuild your business’ credibility after an attack.
Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance/Commercial Auto Insurance
This type of insurance provides coverage if you or an employee is in a car accident on work-related business. Commercial auto insurance is needed to cover company vehicles, vehicles you lend to employees and even your personal automobile as many personal auto insurance policies exclude work-related accidents. Hired & non-owned auto insurance provides coverage for rental vehicles, employees who drive their personal vehicles and vehicles provided by car sharing services.
Umbrella Liability Insurance
Umbrella liability insurance provides additional coverage if a settlement, judgment or damages exceed the coverage provided by your primary insurance. For example, if you carry personal liability insurance that only protects for a maximum of $500,000 and a judgment is issued against you for $800,000, your umbrella liability insurance would cover the $300,000 not covered by your personal liability insurance.
Business Owner’s Policy
A business owner’s policy combines many types of insurances into one policy and is usually less expensive than holding each type of insurance policy individually. This type of policy typically includes property insurance, general liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance with the ability to add any of insurances discussed above.