Insurance is a necessity for Yoga Teachers. You can’t teach at yoga studios, community centres or almost anywhere without it. So how do you know if you’re getting the best Yoga insurance?
The short answer is that the best Yoga insurance:
- Covers all the types of Yoga you teach
- Covers professional as well as general liability
- Includes teaching online, students outside Canada, and pre-recorded videos
- Has enough coverage to look after any injured students who can’t work for extended periods of time
- Has the best price compared to others who meet all the above criteria.
Read on for specific questions to ask, and WHY you need to ask them ALL!!!!
What’s the deal with Yoga Alliance Teaching Insurance?
I have to admit that when I first started teaching, insurance seemed like just another expensive obstacle to finding Yoga teaching jobs. What could really go wrong at Yoga? I just picked the one with the cheapest quote and felt the job was done.
But recently I started to wonder if there was more to it. So I decided to interview Gary Leinwand, Commercial Insurance Broker for Gallagher. He runs the group Yoga insurance program for Canadian members of Yoga Alliance.
Basically, if you’re a Canadian Yoga Teacher with insurance through Yoga Alliance, Gary is the one who read your application, approved it, and emailed you a congratulations. It all goes through him.
I should mention that I’m not an affiliate of Gallagher or Yoga Alliance. I don’t have insurance through Gallagher, and I’m not even a member of Yoga Alliance (another step I never got around to.)
But after our interview, I’m a tiny bit biased toward getting Yoga Insurance through Yoga Alliance. That’s all down to Gary.
The Insurance Guy Does Yoga
With his curly hair and comfy clothes, he seems more like a Yoga Teacher than how I’d expected an insurance agent to look. It makes sense when Gary says the reason he started this group membership is because he loves Yoga.
He’s been practicing for 20 years, as has his wife. He even has several family members who are Yoga Teachers. So he decided to build a business around helping them (kind of like my business helping Yoga Teachers with copywriting)
“Nobody says growing up that I’m going to be an insurance person,” Gary says, laughing. “But I like protecting Yoga teachers. I get to talk to interesting people all the time. And I’m really proud of the program I built.”
Regardless of whether I renew my insurance with Lackner McLellan, or move somewhere else, Gary helped me understand the most important questions to ask about Yoga Insurance, which I explain in detail below.
Questions for Finding the Best Yoga Insurance
Which is the Best Yoga Insurance?
“Best” is a combination of price, coverage, and ease, Gary says.
If (like me) you just picked the cheapest one, you might not be comparing apples with apples.
Maybe that cheap price you’re boasting about in Yoga Facebook groups (ahem!) only covers people who slip and fall on their way through the door (general liability), not while you’re teaching. Maybe the final compensation it provides injured people is so minimal, that you’ll be sued anyway. Or maybe it doesn’t cover online teaching!
This is not to alarm you. By all means, choose the cheapest.
But make sure it’s the cheapest one that covers all the types of teaching you actually do, for an amount that won’t leave you bankrupt if someone is actually injured.
What Types of Teaching Does the Yoga Insurance Cover?
You’ll need to know if it covers Hot Yoga, Mom & Baby Yoga, prenatal Yoga, aerial Yoga, SUPYoga and everything in between – or whatever other types of Yoga you teach.
Many policies cover all types automatically. But some don’t. And some have extra requirements for the more unusual types – for example, they may ask about the room temperature of your Hot Yoga class.
Does the Yoga Insurance Cover Online Yoga?
You may need to pay an extra amount for online teaching insurance. Through Gallagher and Yoga Alliance, it’s $50 per year.
Before March 2020, Gary says only a handful of Yoga Teachers wanted online insurance. But after that first lockdown, everything changed.
“I spent the first four days of the shut-down working with the insurance company to throw online Yoga onto everybody’s policy for free for the first three months,” says Gary. “So people could make the switchover, keep teaching , keep practicing, keep making their livelihoods without worrying about paperwork.”
Does the Yoga Insurance cover pre-recorded classes? Students Outside Canada?
Some online policies only cover live classes. They argue that Yoga Teachers can’t ensure students’ safety if they aren’t watching them in real time.
As well, some online policies don’t allow you to teach students outside of Canada. This is important to know, because obviously people will be able to access your Yoga videos from anywhere if they’re on YouTube.
(Yoga Alliance covers all these instances, as do other insurers. But be sure to check!)
Am I allowed to teach Yoga in person in my own home?
You’ll probably pay extra for this (about $30/year through Yoga Alliance). The insurer will want to know the square footage of your home and teaching space, as well as how many students you’ll be teaching.
I’ve always wondered why my insurance doesn’t cover this without an extra fee.
Gary explains, “The reason it doesn’t cover homes is because homes aren’t set up to have people coming and going, snow removal, cleaning schedules, cars.”
Is it General Liability or Professional Liability?
As I mentioned above, general liability is different to professional liability insurance. The former is much cheaper so it might sound like a great deal.
General Liability only covers accidents that are related to the premises. For example, someone slips and falls on the stairs on their way in. It doesn’t cover any injuries that happen as a result of your teaching.
If you’ve found an especially enticing (cheap) insurance quote, check that it includes professional liability.
How Much Coverage Should I Get?
Gary says the difference between $1million in coverage and $2million is only $25. So get the $2million.
Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? He’s the insurance guy.
I know, I know. I was thinking the same thing. The claimant will just ask for the amount you have, right? So why not stop at $1million?
This is where Gary explained the difference between frivolous and non-frivolous claims.
Frivolous Claims Against You
Let’s say you’re teaching Warrior 1, and someone in the class decides they’d rather do headstand. You ask them not to, but Buddy doesn’t listen. He does a headstand, injures his neck, and has to take three months off work.
Eventually, the lawyers where he has disability insurance decide they’re tired of paying Buddy’s bills, so they send one to you instead. It’s your fault, they say. Pay up!
On your way to full-blow panic, you call your Yoga Insurance provider.
“They’re going to defend you and make it go away,” says Gary. “That there is well worth a couple hundred bucks just for the mental health aspect.”
But what if it is your fault?
It could happen. People do get seriously injured at Yoga sometimes.
“We’re not talking about frivolous lawsuits. If someone is actually injured they’ll go after you, the studio, the city if it’s the park. They’ll go wherever they can to get the money they need.”
“$1million sounds like a lot if it’s for fun,” Gary adds. “But if I can’t work or have to modify my house – $1million isn’t enough for a 30-year-old person who needs care for 30 years.”
“You’re providing more for the person who took your class who actually needs it for their physical care needs. It’s socially responsible.”
The Best Yoga Insurance
In summary, the best Yoga Insurance:
- Includes all the types of teaching you do
- Covers online teaching, pre-recorded videos, and students outside your home country (if you teach online)
- Offers enough coverage to look after the long-term physical needs of a student injured in your class
- Is the cheapest of all the choices that meet the above criteria!
(I won’t put exact totals here, but I will say the Yoga Alliance insurance included more and was a similar price to my previous insurance. That’s not counting the cost of the Yoga Alliance membership though. So factor that too.)
A Final Word about Yoga Insurance from Gary
“Insurance is super important; It’s the difference between a slight inconvenience and spending the rest of your life paying somebody. Make sure you know what you’re getting.”