General Liability Insurance vs. Professional Liability Insurance: What’s the Difference?


Let’s face it, a conversation about liability insurance is never going to be quite as interesting as the latest fade technique or the new beard oil that you’ve been dying to try. 

We might be in the insurance game ourselves, but we really do get it–insurance is just not that hot of a topic (especially when compared to all the actual hot topics out there we could be discussing). 

So, why exactly are we bringing it up, then?

We can answer that in two words: It’s important. 

Unfortunately, insurance is an absolute necessity in your line of work (and most lines of work, TBH) nowadays. We mean this when we say it, but we genuinely wish insurance wasn’t a must-have part of your career. 

But as of now, the world exists as it does, accidents happen, and people get upset–to deal with that professionally and properly in a way that protects you, you need the right type of insurance to cover you beyond just the basics. 

We won’t necessarily get into the why behind insurance right now (though we definitely have information on that when you’re ready to read it)–but we will dive into some of the definitions you need to know when it comes to insurance. 

To kick this off, we’re going to start with some of the most important terms you’ll need to know for insurance purposes: general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.

What is General Liability Insurance?

General liability insurance is often referred to as malpractice insurance and slip ‘n’ fall insurance. 

Why? Because it’s all about covering risks that happen indirectly of your services. In most cases, this has to do with accidents in, near, or around your shop (think slips that cause sprains, trips that cause breaks, and nasty physical accidents). 

As we mentioned, general liability is coverage that’s got your back when it comes to indirect things, AKA, risks that aren’t immediately associated with the services you’re providing. 

This type of coverage will deal with claims that are associated with personal injury, bodily injury, or damage to others’ property.

Why Does a Barber Need General Liability Insurance?

You’re probably thinking, “well, if the accident or claim has nothing to do with my services, why am I on the hook for this, anyway?”

The short answer to that is because you’re offering a service to the public, you’re assuming responsibility for their safety and well-being when they step onto your property. So, even if you do everything by the book, a slip that happens on your property could result in a claim or a lawsuit. Having the proper protection against this is crucial. 

Without insurance and coverage for these sorts of incidents, you could end up on the hook for the financial, judicial, and reputation repercussions.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

On the other hand, professional liability insurance covers lawsuits and claims that deal with things like negligence, misconduct, or incompetence (actual or alleged) on your part. Often referred to as malpractice insurance, professional liability insurance deals with situations that are directly related to the services you offer your clients.

Whereas general liability typically covers circumstances like tripping on a rug and spraining an ankle, professional liability covers things like an accidental cut on a client’s ear or professional advice that leads to a bad outcome for your client.

Why Does a Barber Need Professional Liability Insurance? 

Just like we mentioned before, the second you invite someone to step into your shop, you’re assuming a certain degree of risk. You assume even more risk when you take their wellbeing and health into your hands and offer them a haircut, a beard trim, or a rad new look in general. 

We often tell our clients that professional liability insurance is like a safety net. Consider it from this perspective: If you were a highly talented tightrope walker, you’d more than likely still perform with a safety net underneath you. 

Are you the best in the biz? Absolutely. Do you need the safety net? Probably not. 

But on the off chance that someone messes with the rope, a bird flies in your face, or you just take a wrong step, you can fall safely and confidently knowing that safety net has your back (or whatever part of your body you’re going to land on). 

We’re not saying you’ll ever need that safety net (in fact, we hope you don’t), but if the time comes and you do need it, you’ll be glad it’s there. Otherwise, that’s a pretty long fall you’ll be taking.

National Association of Barbers: The Right Insurance Partner for Your Barbering Needs

Do you have more questions about insurance terms and definitions? We get it; things can get tricky when it comes to insurance jargon. 

Check out our glossary of terms and FAQs to get a clearer picture of what you’re dealing with when it comes to insurance. 

We hope that the insurance chat helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding the insurance world. We know, we know, it can feel unnecessarily overwhelming sometimes (we agree, actually), which is why we’re doing our very best to make insurance easier to understand so you can make the right decision for you, your career, and your future.

Remember, we don’t just talk about insurance; we offer it, too. Make sure you check out NAOB’s insurance offerings to get a peek at what we can do and how we can help you protect your career ASAP. 

And, of course, we’re not just always spouting off info about insurance on the blog. We also drop hot industry gossip, must-know trends, reviews, and info you need to be up to date on to be a successful barber. 

Don’t miss out–subscribe to NAOB right here, right now, so you’ll get a notification every time we drop some must-have, can’t-miss knowledge.

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