Why do counsellors need insurance?
An unfortunate injury
Imagine you are working from a university office when you hear a loud noise in the corridor outside. You pause a counselling session to find a student has sustained a head injury – and it appears they slipped on a report template you dropped. The student misses key exams due to time in hospital and decides to take legal action against your counselling business. Including public liability cover within your insurance policy means the cost of court proceedings and compensation is covered.
Not all harm is physical – as a counsellor, you may face risks related to mental injury. Perhaps your sleep counselling techniques attempt to explore underlying anxiety issues and promote long-lasting improvement. However, a client may feel this approach has worsened or prolonged their problems. Making professional treatment liability cover part of your counsellors’ insurance protects you if a client tries to recover their fees or sues you for causing an injury via negligent practice.
A hacking situation
A malicious email transmits a virus onto your business computer, locking the files you need for afternoon counselling sessions. Worse still, these contain confidential data – and a hacker is threatening to delete them if you don’t pay a ransom. To deal with such a situation, you may need to pay the ransom, then hire a specialist risk consultancy firm to assess the severity of the data loss. With cyber insurance in place, financial pains don’t need to compound the events.
What cover is included in insurance for counsellors?
If you’re not sure what you need, tell us a little more about your work as a counsellor. We’ll help you to build your quote and explore any other insurance needs.Build my cover
Insurance for counsellors: FAQs
Do I need counsellor insurance if I conduct my sessions online?
Insurance is still an important consideration for counsellors who operate online since the work is similar to face-to-face counselling – your words can still lead to claims.
As a counsellor, you may make it a point of policy to never give advice, but even so, your discussions could cause harm. There’s also a chance you could accidentally breach confidentiality rules – so professional treatment liability insurance could be an important cover to have.
When your main communication channels become digital, cyber insurance could also help to protect your counselling business from risks associated with sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
Explore the home-based insurance you might need to consider, to protect a remote business from the risks of residential working, including damage and theft.
Does Hiscox offer medical malpractice insurance for counsellors?
Counselling malpractice claims are covered as part of our professional treatment liability insurance.
In practice, professional treatment liability insurance covers a counsellor in many of the same ways as medical malpractice cover, including for malpractice, negligence, breach of duty of care, dishonesty and breach of confidentiality.
This means that, if you are accused of causing mental harm due to malpractice, professional treatment liability insurance for counsellors has you covered.
What’s the difference between a counsellor and psychotherapist?
Counsellors and psychotherapists are both types of talking therapists, but focus can differ. Counsellors may primarily explore life events such as bereavement and job uncertainty, for instance, whereas psychotherapists might focus on longer-term issues such as addiction.
The fields overlap considerably, however, and many professional bodies, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), crossover.
This means, although the training routes for counsellors and therapists are slightly different, many professional risks are similar.
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