Liability Insurance for Dietitians: Are You Covered?

Starting your career as a dietitian is a new and exciting chapter in your life, but it also requires you to learn aspects of running a business you had never thought of before. Your days might be spent exploring new accounting concepts and different marketing tactics to grow your client base. One feature that is essential for your business—but can feel extremely complicated—is insurance. Every dietitian practice has to have it, but there are a lot of options out there and it’s not always easy to know which policy will be the best choice. 

This guide will dive into liability insurance for dietitians, including what it covers and why you need it. Don’t get intimidated by confusing insurance jargon—with a few tips, you’ll become a pro at picking out plans that keep you protected!

What Is Liability Insurance? 

Liability insurance protects your business if it is sued. If someone files a lawsuit against your dietitian business, they can request compensation in the form of your assets. Any money that you have in your business accounts, along with physical assets like your work vehicle, could be seized if the court rules against you. Business liability insurance would cover the cost of the lawsuit and allow you to keep your assets. 

Do Dietitians Need Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance covers a number of different aspects of a dietitian’s practice, but one of the most important types of coverage you will need is professional liability insurance. This insurance covers mistakes or errors made while performing services to clients. 

While you do your best to support your clients, you are still human. The very best dietitian in the world can still make a mistake that harms someone or prevents them from providing the agreed-upon services in a contract. Liability insurance for dietitians offers protection in case a customer sues you for your mistakes. 

What Does Liability Insurance Cover?   

One of the best ways to understand liability insurance for dietitians is to look at the basic coverage types in standard contracts. Here are a few potential errors or omissions your insurance could cover that specifically relate to the health and nutrition field: 

  • Negligence: This occurs when a court determines that you caused harm through careless practice.
  • Failure to deliver services: This happens when you are paid for a service and then don’t deliver it for some reason.
  • Errors: These can be anything from bookkeeping mistakes to accounting issues. If they result in loss or harm for a client, you may be held liable. 
  • Misconduct can range from a lack of professionalism to violence or even sexual harassment of clients. Misconduct issues can have a very serious impact on a dietitian’s professional status in addition to stiff civil penalties. 

The majority of your clients will understand if you need to push back appointments or make small mistakes with their dietary plans. However, if your recommendations cause significant harm to their health, you could face a lawsuit. 

How Much Is Liability Insurance for Dietitians?

Insurance costs vary depending on the nature of your business and the risks that come with it. The greater the chance for harm within your career field, the more expensive your liability insurance will be. 

It’s possible to find basic liability insurance plans for around $50 per month ($600 per year). This is usually the cost for self-employed individuals. The price may increase if you hire employees or if your insurance provider views dietitian work as particularly risky. You also might decide to pay for more insurance coverage, which increases your protection but also your monthly fees. 

Shop around to find liability insurance that meets your coverage needs. You will want to balance reasonable costs with enough protection for your business. 

How Often Should You Change Insurance Plans?

In many cases, dietitians choose an insurance plan and stick with it for years—especially if they rely on their provider for multiple services. However, as your business changes, so will your insurance needs. Evaluate your business annually and make sure your liability insurance still matches your business structure and goals. Here are a few signs that it’s time to update your plan:

  • You hired employees or contractors and your business is expanding.
  • You significantly increased your annual revenue.  
  • Your company acquired a valuable asset, like a fleet vehicle or physical office location. 
  • You pivoted your business to specialize in a targeted area, like weight loss or menopause.
  • You moved to a new state. 

If you need to scale back your business, you can also adjust your insurance to save money. This way you aren’t overpaying for coverage you don't need.   

Invest in Liability Insurance Before You Need It

Liability insurance for dietitians is an essential part of running your business. Every dietitian works hard for their clients and hopes they will never need it, but the protection can give you peace of mind to do your best each day. It is just one part of launching your career as a successful business owner. 

To learn more about becoming a dietitian, check out the Dietitian Boss Community. We’re working together to turn our passion for food and nutrition into a thriving career with other dietitians who are on the same path. 

Succeeding as a businessperson and entrepreneur can be tricky, but with the right community, you can take the plunge into private practice! Join the Dietitian Boss Library today and start your journey toward financial and professional success! 

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