Picking the right training facility can be vital to achieving your fitness goals. Has it got the right equipment? Does it have a positive, inspiring atmosphere? Can the professional staff offer me the right guidance? These are all questions that the customer can determine.
Not under similar control, however, are things that can happen during a workout. Accidents can happen to anyone at any time and in any setting, but gyms, with their weights and machines, offer more possibilities for things to go wrong. And when it does, do you ever wonder who is responsible and what are the potential implications?
This is where insurance comes in. In its most essential form, insurance provides financial coverage for damage sustained in accidents we had no way for foreseeing. The goal of insurance is to remove some of the financial worries that unexpected events can create.
Unfortunately, awareness of the need for insurance in the fitness industry is not adequate– indeed, it’s often dismissed entirely. But insurance can be an important asset when contemplating the following mishaps that can occur in the gym:
- Slips and falls due to slippery or wet floors from sweat or even simply high standards of housekeeping.
- Equipment failure resulting from lack of maintenance.
- Injury from incorrect free-weight usage due to lack of guidance and education from the gym staff.
These are just a few examples, but in each case a gym could be legally liable should a customer require medical treatment for an injury that is deemed to be not their fault. Importantly, standard waiver forms are in such cases obsolete; waivers offer some degree of protection for a gym, but they do not cover negligence on the part of the gym should an injury occur.
The right insurance, though, could ensure that an accident doesn’t leave a gym-goer or a gym owner severely out of pocket. But what kind? The one to look out for is Third Party Liabilityinsurance, sometimes called Public Liability insurance – and if possible one that doesn’t exclude the act of training, a common exclusion in the UAE.
So, when assessing a gym for its suitability for your health and fitness goals, checking that the gym has the right coverage ought to be on the checklist. Here are four reasons why it pays to ask:
- It is a good indication of the quality of the gym and its management, underlining that they are a responsible and customer-centric facility.
- Waiver forms protect neither gym goers nor the gym in the case of serious injury. In case of injury the injury/accident a claim can be dealt with swiftly without excessive back and forth on rights and payments. The key point is “swift”: if an insurance provider iscovering the risk but adequate insurance coverage is not in place, payment of injury claims can be severely delayed.
- When going through the insurance process, gyms are required to have risk management policies in place. This is audited by the insurance providers and brokers and improves standards at the facility – ultimately, if the gym is considered risky there won’t be insurance.
I should end this piece emphasizing that we are not encouraging everyone to start an influx of lawsuits for any nicks and bruise because, at the end of the day, the claim has to make sense and be considered serious for any payment to be made. What we are trying to convey is the importance of gym goers doing their due diligence on a gym and for gym owners not to simply rely on hope that all will be fine.
By Ramzi Ghurani written for