Liability Insurance for Estheticians

You don't plan on harming a client. You also don't plan on having a car accident, but you still carry auto insurance. It's a small price to pay. Even the most careful, skilled estheticians have had insurance claims, including these actual situations:

  • A mag lamp fell and injured a client's eye.
  • A facial steamer malfunctioned and spit boiling water. The client was badly burned and needed plastic surgery. The esthetician was sued for $32,500.
  • A regular client had an allergic reaction to a product that she had successfully used before, and was hospitalized. The esthetician was held liable for $145,000 in damages.
  • Stitches were needed after a Brazilian waxing went wrong. The resulting lawsuit cost $62,500. This happened to an esthetician with years of successful Brazilian waxing experience. Waxing is the most common source of injury claims, mostly from burns and lifting skin.
  • A glycolic facial caused severe scabbing and scarring.
  • A seaweed wrap sent an allergic client into anaphylactic shock.
  • A bride-to-be had an allergic reaction to a normal facial and was unable to wear makeup at her wedding as a result. She sued and the case went to trial.

Legal fees and defense costs can be substantial—even when you aren’t found liable. Settlements can threaten your assets and future earnings. Professionals realize that insuring themselves just makes good sense. Protect yourself with individual liability coverage from ASCP. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly can I join ASCP and receive proof of insurance?

There are several options available to speed up processing. You can apply over the phone or on our website, or you can fax a completed application to us at 800-790-0299. We must also be able to verify training/licensing if no documents are supplied. If everything is in order, the insurance is effective the following day and your proof of insurance will be available by logging in to ascpskincare.com. If applying by mail, Three-Day Priority Mail Service ($15) ensures that the application will be processed and mailed within three business days.

When will my insurance go into effect?

Assuming all the required information is in order, your membership and insurance go into effect the day after receipt of your application, whether it is received by mail, fax, online, or over the phone, and it will be in effect for one full year from that date.

What exactly does my liability insurance cover?

The occurrence form liability policy that ASCP provides to qualified members covers the member's skin care business for professional liability (client alleges malpractice), general liability (client alleges injury/accident due to member's negligence), and product liability (client alleges reaction to product). The insurer will also defend you if someone sues you alleging your wrongdoing in covered losses; those legal expenses are provided in addition to the policy limits.

Your insurance covers only those services that your state board allows a licensed esthetician to provide. Esthetics is a constantly changing field, so if you are not sure whether a particular service or device is within your legal scope of practice, your first step should be to ask your state board.

Questions? We're happy to answer them. Call 800-789-0411, email getconnected@ascpskincare.com, or find us on social media.

"My employer takes care of it. Do I really need my own insurance?"

Yes! Having your own coverage is absolutely vital for your protection. First, the insurance that comes with your ASCP membership covers you no matter where you work, so you don't need to worry if you change jobs, provide treatments part-time on your own, or work in multiple locations. Second, we have heard from many estheticians who thought their employer's insurance covered them, and found out too late that it didn't. Here are four questions to ask your boss, to make absolutely certain:

  1. "Does your liability insurance policy cover me individually?" Many skin care professionals who work in spas, salons, or doctors’ offices mistakenly believe the owner’s insurance covers them should there be an unfortunate client mishap. Under some plans, the business alone is protected. If you are personally named in a lawsuit, and the employer’s policy doesn’t cover you, you will be liable for your own attorney’s fees, court costs, and share of the settlement.
  2. "Does your policy cover every type of treatment I provide at work?" Certain services, techniques, products or equipment may be excluded from an employer’s liability insurance policy. Even good employers may not fully understand who and what is covered by their insurance—that’s why you need to find out.
  3. "Is your policy current?" Even the most competent spa owner may set an insurance bill aside and fail to renew it on time. If something happens to your client and the employer’s policy has lapsed, you won’t be covered.
  4. "Am I covered for treatments I perform outside of your facility?" If you provide treatments to clients, friends, or family members in your home or at any other location, you likely aren’t covered by your employer’s policy.

And finally, even if those four questions all check out, a client can still file a claim or lawsuit against you personally, instead of against the spa where you work. That situation might not be covered unless you have your own insurance.

We're confident that ASCP's full package of benefits is the best available for skin care professionals, and gives you the best value. Other insurance providers may know next to nothing about the kind of work you do. ASCP has hands-on knowledge of the profession, outstanding personal service, and you'll also get a wide range of other resources and discounts—all for only $259 per year for Professional membership and $59 for Student membership. Learn more about membership.

Comparison shopping for insurance

Here are three important factors to consider when comparing providers:

  1. There are two types of policy out there: "Claims-Made" and "Occurrence Form." Occurrence form provides better protection because you're covered even if your policy has lapsed, as long as you had the policy when the actual incident occurred. It is very common for lawsuits to be filed years after the incident occurred! Claims-made coverage only protects you if your policy is valid when the claim is made.
  2. Check that the policy includes all three types of liability: general (also called slip-and-fall), product, and professional (also called malpractice in medical fields).
  3. Check whether the policy limits are defined by a "Master Shared Aggregate" or an "Individual Aggregate." Shared aggregate means that the policy limit is shared annually among all the group's policy holders, so each time another policy holder files a claim and gets an insurance payout, that amount is subtracted from the amount available to you. Individual policy limits mean the actual amount of money stated in the policy aggregate is yours alone.

For more information, download our free ebook, "The 411 on Insurance for Skin Care Professionals."

Note: The insurance coverage descriptions above are illustrative only. Refer to a copy of the policy for specific coverages, limitations, exclusions, terms and conditions. This insurance information is provided by our insurance agent and the insurance company underwriting our program and is not a contract; it is a partial illustration of benefits, conditions, limitations, and exclusions. In the event that there is confusion or conflict between the policy language and any information provided, the policy language shall control.