How to choose the right insurance for you and your salon

Wondering about which insurance is right for you? We asked the experts what business owners need to take into account right now and consider in the future to combat the biggest pressure points and challenges

It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to finding the right insurance for your salon. We spoke to salon owners and stylists to get their first-hand experience on the best ways to go about getting insurance – especially when it comes to the issue of skin testing. 

“A client having an allergic reaction is one of a salon owner’s biggest fears,” explains Debbie Digby, founder and CEO, Passion4hair.

It’s one of their insurers’ biggest fears too. Although there are more claims for broken windows and water damage, the potential values involved in an allergy are many times higher and it is serious.”

“Choosing the right insurance is fundamental to running your business as it protects you from a variety of risks, you need to consider the protection of your clients, staff, yourself, business income and the premises,” Brian Leo McCallum of ROAR Hair and Beauty explains. 

But there can be some confusion when it comes to finding the right insurance for your salon. “There is major industry-wide confusion about it all,” Debbie continues. “Manufacturers say one thing, insurance companies say another, and it can be incredibly confusing. Understanding exactly what your insurer requires when it comes to skin testing is crucial. Otherwise, you simply may not be insured.”

We asked the experts for their tips on how to navigate this tricky topic and find the right salon insurance for you. 

Tips from salon owners on finding the right insurance

Think about all the possible risks 

“When it comes to insurance, don’t only focus on the common claims you may have had in the past. Risks can come out of the blue,” Debbie suggests. “This is all covered in the insurance small print, which is why you should focus on how your insurers want you to screen for allergy. Many hairdressers mistakenly think that their colour manufacturer decides, and this is simply not true in many instances.”

Keep a record 

“Record-keeping and only using the products that you have tested against is key for many policies,” Debbie explains. “However, one way to eliminate all of this concern is to use Colourstart, which is a licensed allergy test that comes with its own insurance. The system takes care of all the record-keeping, so you don’t have to worry about the paperwork.

“It tests against PPD which is the ingredient most likely to cause an allergy, meaning any colour at all can be used on the client – not just the one you have done a blob test on. Colourstart has treatment liability insurance, which means you are automatically covered under this policy, giving us complete peace of mind.”

Shop around

“The right insurance is the most important part of owning a business or being self-employed to make sure you and your business are covered from all angles. Look in detail and get quotes from different insurances and I always think going with a popular insurance brand that other hairdressers use also speaks volumes,” stylist Verity Ollerenshaw explains.

Brian echos this sentiment, telling us, “Going forward into 2023, you need to evaluate your current and future projected income and potential risks you may face going forward, in a world of rising costs you need to re-evaluate this each year and ensure you are comparing insurance policies and their requirements.”

Don’t just opt for the cheapest option

 When looking at insurance you need to consider the value of each element in its own merit and what potential liabilities could be presented if a claim were to arise. It goes without saying the cheapest isn’t always the best as in the long run it could cost you your entire business and livelihood,” Brian Leo McCallum of ROAR Hair and Beauty tells us.

Think about your individual needs 

“To choose the right insurance you need to look at a few different things, such as what services you are going to provide. You will need a different type of salon insurance if you are providing beauty services as well,” stylist Jack Kilpatrick explains. “You need to take into account how many employees you have, how much stock you are going to hold, how much your fixtures and fittings cost, and whether you will have self-employed staff. The best thing to do would be to write down everything you are looking to do with the business and contact a few different providers, as they will ask you questions about the business and tailor the insurance to your business.”

Read the small print

“Businesses need to pay close attention to exclusions and endorsements within their policy and ensure their salon and business practices live up to the standards required by the insurer and by their product manufacturer guidelines in order to comply with the insurance policy,” Brian warns. 

Be strict about skin testing

“The biggest challenges are making sure everyone is skin tested, even if a client can’t make a skin test/forgets, we will not carry out a colour at routed if a client has not been skin tested as it’s your reputation on the line,” Verity continues. 

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