Professional indemnity insurance for counsellors and therapists

Every counsellor and therapists should be protected by the best counselling insurance cover they can buy. Helping people deal with emotional problems or trauma requires undivided attention and delicate approach which inevitably carries risks.

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Our guide to insurance for counsellors and therapists

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What insurance does a counsellor need?

By the nature of their work counsellors and therapists are exposed on a daily basis to clients who don't feel themselves and are in need of someone else's guidance to get emotionally and mentally better.

That is an important responsibility which increases the risk of being faced with an unhappy client. If you’re treating clients, face to face or online, as a self employed counsellor, you absolutely need professional liability cover.

The elements to look for in counsellor professional indemnity insurance is what you are covered for and where. In the first instance it is important that bodily injury or death isn't excluded. Rare as it is, that would be the most significant claim you could face in your career. Secondly, you need to consider where you treat your clients. If you are travelling around the world because your services are niche, ensure that your policy covers your work in the required parts of the world.

The next essential cover is public liability insurance for counsellors. Vast majority of counsellors will be meeting their clients either at home, the clients' home or in an office. Public liability takes care of instances where your client may have had an accident and is now asking for compensation. Alternatively you managed to knock over that Ming vase and you are being asked to pay for it. In other words PL cover provides legal defence and covers a possible payout if you're found liable for property damage or causing an injury.

Other covers depend on your personal circumstances. Do you own a laptop that you carry around, do you have employees, do you have an office, what would happen if you were taken ill? All these are considerations when using insurance to protect your living.

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Why do counsellors need insurance?

There is a number of good reasons why every independent counsellor should protect themselves with counselling liability insurance.

If you're working for yourself, any mishap with your clients is on you. Being on the front line, you may face a variety of claims: breach of confidentiality, causing an injury, failing to provide an adequate duty of care. We said it above and we'll say it again. Dealing with emotionally challenged clients brings about a higher risk of facing a litigious situation.

If you happen to be or are aspiring to become a members of an association or professional body, their requirement may be that you have certain types of insurance in place. Professional indemnity is usually a must and in some cases public liability is recommended as well.

Another reason to have insurance for your counselling practice is to increase the level of trust. Your clients, knowing that you take a professional approach to your business, might feel more inclined to book you over the next counsellor. In other words something worth mentioning on your website.

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How much PI insurance do counsellors need?

If you're part of a membership organisation, it is likely to have a condition as to how much your PI cover limit has to be. Some require as high as £2,000,000.

If you're independent, it's a bit trickier. You'll need to consider your level of qualification, experience, history of disputes with your clients and the type of therapy you provide. Some insurance providers offer as little £50,000 of cover which might be tempting as the cost will be very manageable. However, with the rising cost of legal services, would this amount go far enough to cover solicitors' fees and a possible compensation?

Don't forget that public liability insurance is just as important for counsellors, especially if you're treating your clients face to face and participate in public events. Please have a read about what it covers and how useful it could be to your business.


Common Questions

Is professional indemnity insurance compulsory for counsellors?

Counsellors are not required by law to have a PI cover in place.

Will the work of my employees be covered by Suited professional indemnity insurance?

Yes, any work by bonafide employees of your business is covered.

What is the difference between counselling and therapy insurance?

From the insurance point of view these professions are very similar. With Suited you can include both of these professions in your PI and PL cover.

How is the cost of professional indemnity insurance calculated?

At Suited we only take into account your annual turnover, that's it. We do not charge per person. PL cover cost is based on the limit you select.

If I ask another counsellor to take my client, will it be covered by Suited PI insurance?

SUITED Professional Indemnity does cover your subcontractors as long as you have a written contract in place with the scope of the work clearly defined. It is always highly recommended that you check your subcontractor has a PI cover in place for the type of work that they’re taking on.

Can I cancel my PI insurance when I stop working as a counsellor?

You definitely shouldn't. If you have stopped working for a period of time or indefinitely, there's still some risk that something you did in the past will end up in a claim against you. If you don't have an active PI cover in place at least for your past work, you will have to fund your own legal costs and any possible compensation yourself. Suited offers a "hibernate" option which covers your past work only at a much reduced cost.


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