New York Massage Liability Insurance Guidelines

If you are a massage therapist conducting business anywhere in the state, having liability insurance is an absolutely essential element of protecting the integrity of your business. As clichéd as it may sound, accidents do happen, and it is wise for massage professionals and bodyworkers to “err on the side of caution” by procuring insurance. This insurance acts as a safety net against any potential liability issues that may arise on the job.

new yorkNo one can predict or control all of the different circumstances that could possibly arise while working with a client, and no matter how careful you are or how many precautions you take, accidents can still happen. An important point to remember is that you cannot fully control how your clients may react in the event of an accident or injury during a session. The last thing you would want is to be entangled in a legal battle due to a liability lawsuit, which can add a tremendous amount of financial strain and emotional stress to your life. Having a good insurance policy will afford you the much-needed peace of mind to effectively conduct your practice without worrying about the countless negative “what-if” scenarios that could occur.

The licensing requirements for massage professionals in NY state are fairly straightforward. Candidates are required to be at least 18 years of age, and must have completed high school, as well as a minimum of 1,000 hours of classroom instruction at a registered institute of massage therapy, with 150 hours minimum practice on a person. Candidates must also complete a course in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) a maximum of three years before licensure. Once these requirements have been met, candidates can then file the requisite paperwork with the New York Office of the Professions to become licensed as a massage therapist. While carrying massage liability insurance is not a legal requirement for massage therapy professionals in NY, it is still highly recommended because it adds safety and legitimacy to your business.

A quality policy should contain several key provisions including adequate dollar amounts for liability coverage as well as legal defense coverage. Multiple work site coverage should also be included that addresses various scenarios such as private sessions, instructional classes, and working for someone else. It is important that the policy also includes occurrence-form coverage versus claims-made coverage, as this will protect LMTs from late-filed claims. Specific massage techniques and applications such as hot stone massage and vacuum cupping should also be covered as well. Be sure to double-check the policy and ensure that it covers the specific area of expertise that you work in, as having an inadequate policy is almost as bad as not having any policy at all.

For massage practitioners, the importance of having insurance to protect your business cannot be overstated. It is an unfortunate reality that lawsuits are all too common in today’s society, and the most effective way for you to protect yourself and your massage practice from potential legal or liability issues is to make sure that you have procured adequate insurance coverage. The peace of mind that you will gain will be worth its weight in gold.

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Licensing Info

Number of credentialed practitioners in this state: 16,746

Phone: (518) 474-3817, ext. 150

Web Site:

Required Education: 1,000 hours

Written or Practical Exam: Written

Exam Administered: State exam

Renewal Fee: $55 every 3 years

CEUs Required: Effective Jan. 1, 2012, 36 hours of continuing education