Therapists and counsellors play a vital role in supporting people to improve their mental health and wellbeing. It’s a diverse sector with a wide range of practitioners and it takes a great deal of training to achieve appropriate qualification.
Having invested time and effort in accreditation, it’s important to protect your career by taking out an insurance policy that is appropriate to your practice. This should take into account the nature and extent of your work, ensuring that your policy will protect you in the event that an unhappy client takes action against you.
Who Needs Therapist & Counsellor Insurance
There are many different job titles that fall under the category of counselling, with practitioners working in various settings from healthcare to education, in a larger practice, or as part of a voluntary group.
Most therapy work begins by encouraging patients to talk, helping them to examine their feelings, think about their choices, or change their behaviour. This can be a rewarding process, however, it takes years of training to practice successfully.
Broadly speaking, there are five main career paths, which can be listed in order of the time it takes to qualify as:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
In addition to these roles, there are also many specialisms such as occupational therapy, language therapy, or art therapy that require specialist training.
For anyone working as a practising therapist, it is important to take out professional liability insurance. Not only is this a sensible precaution, but it is also a prerequisite of becoming a member of a professional association such as the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).
What Type Of Insurance Is Recommended For Therapists?
Regardless of your training or how experienced you are in your profession, unforeseen incidents can occur. Should a client bring a case against you, counsellor’s insurance is essential to protect your reputation, helping with defence costs and even compensation.
To ensure that coverage meets your needs, it’s a good idea to check exactly what’s included in your therapist’s or counsellor’s insurance and how it can be tailored to meet the specific risks you might encounter. To help you work out what’s required, we have put together a list of key areas for consideration:
Public liability or third party cover is essential. It covers you in case a client is injured while visiting your premises. Think carefully about the type of therapy you practice and whether there could be additional risks that require extra cover such as working with equipment or therapy dogs, for example.
Professional indemnity insurance provides vital cover in the event that a client sues you for negligence or malpractice. Regardless of whether you actually made a mistake, it pays for your legal defence and for any compensation you owe your client.
Cyber security insurance can help you safeguard client data. It can help in the event of cyber attacks and other technological breaches that compromise client confidentiality.
Director’s and officer’s liability is required by those practitioners that also fulfil a director, trustee, or officer role in the therapy practice where they work. It covers the cost of compensation claims made against key managers for alleged wrongful acts in the course of their work as a director.
Not every policy includes all of the above so it’s a good idea to check with your insurer to establish exactly what is covered in your therapist’s or counsellor’s insurance.
Bear in mind that your employer may provide insurance, but if you are working in private practice, it is your responsibility to ensure that your cover is appropriate so it is a sensible precaution to have your own policy in place.
Lastly, for those that practice from their home address, the IACP warns that it is unwise to rely on regular home insurance to protect you in a professional capacity. Always advise your insurance company if you are running your therapy business from home, it states, since failure to do so could result in a penalty in the event of a claim. Worse, this could void your policy, or even make it difficult to take out home insurance with another provider.
How Counsellor’s And Therapist’s Insurance Provides Peace of Mind
As a counsellor, you work to support clients dealing with emotional difficulties or distressing events such as bereavement or divorce. During a course of therapy sessions, you will work one-to-one with clients, which in itself carries risks.
If a client misconstrues something you say, or claims that you have overstepped the boundaries of your professional relationship, you may need to engage a solicitor to defend against these allegations.
Add to this potential mishaps such as trips and falls that could easily happen during your sessions together, and it’s clear that therapist’s insurance is a must for providing counsellors of all kinds with the peace of mind required to practice successfully.
OBF Insurance offers advice on all kinds of specialist insurance having been at the heart of the insurance business for over 50 years. Our expert team of underwriters are on hand to discuss how to select the right professional indemnity insurance, tailored to your specific needs as a counsellor or therapy practitioner.
For more information on how our counsellor’s and therapist’s insurance policies can protect your career and provide cover for the risks you face, contact the OBF team today on +353 (1) 660 1033.