SWG PL: Why Tattoo & Piercing Studios Need Specialized Insurance Coverage

Aug 2020

With many cities across the country entering stage 3 of the pandemic, tattoo shops and piercing studios are waiting on official guidelines to find out what they will and won’t need to do in order to reopen.


Many studios are already making preparatory plans by buying protective equipment for staff and customers and enforcing new safety rules and changing sanitation protocols. According to BlogTO, these include anywhere from sanitizing everything between appointments to banning the use of cell phones to checking customers’ temperatures before they walk in. (1)


Meanwhile, most tattoo and piercing studios who are opening their doors will be operating with the use of personal protective equipment, will be enforcing distancing measures, and will be suspending face tattoos and piercings and prohibiting walk-in appointments. (2)


For tattoo parlours, the reputations of the studio and its artists are key to the success of their business. But tattoo and body piercing parlors also share many of the same insurance concerns as any other type of small business, along with some added liability risks unique to the industry.


Safety Measures and Exposures for Tattoo Parlours & Piercing Studios


Though the tattoo industry is largely unregulated, studios care about the safety of their patrons like the survival of their business depends on it.


Tattoos and piercing procedures carry the risk of bacterial skin infections and blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B, which is preventable through vaccination, and HIV and hepatitis C, which have no available vaccines. For this reason, a tattoo parlour should be inspected annually by their local public health unit to ensure the business is taking the measures necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.


Public health websites also include a list of safety measures these studios should take to mitigate the risk of infection. These precautions from the City of Toronto website include but are not limited to:

● Tattoo artists and/or staff should hand wash with soap and water or use a 70% alcohol hand sanitizer and put on new gloves before every new procedure. If the tattoo artist has to stop tattooing at any time (to answer the telephone or touch a light switch etc.), the artist should clean their hands and put on new gloves before continuing.

● The tattoo artist or professional piercer should always clean the client’s skin with soap and water, and then sterilize it with an antiseptic such as a 70% alcohol, before starting the procedure. If a part of a client’s body needs to be shaved before a procedure, the artist or piercer should use a disposable, single-use razor.

● The studio should only use new, sterile, single-use needles, and open the new package in front of the customer so they can be sure it has never been used before. Other equipment, such as tips, grips, and tubes, should likewise be sterile, individually packaged, and opened in front of the customer.

● Used razors and needles should be thrown immediately into a special “sharps” container and not into the regular garbage. (3)

As sterile as parlours might be, there are some cases where certain substances used in these facilities are found to be unsafe. For example, in Toronto there was a ban on “black henna”, a dye used in temporary tattoo ink. “Black henna” was found to contain the harmful chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and was banned from sale in Canada by Health Canada. (3) PPD can cause serious allergic reactions, including red skin rashes, blisters, open sores, scarring, and contact dermatitis. In addition, the long-term effects of allergic reactions to PPD included sensitivity to sunblock, hair dye, and some types of black clothing.


SWG PL: Tattoos & Body Piercings Overview


SWG PL – Tattoo & Body Piercing/Beauty Operations Liability insurance is offered Canada-wide as a combined E&O and CGL insurance coverage for Tattoo, Body Piercing, Permanent-Makeup Artists, as well as Beauty Salon Operations.


Coverage Highlights:

● Limit up to $3,000,000

● Coverage for entire shop(s), individual artist(s), and/or Independent Contractors

● Coverage available for tattooing or piercing of minors – with options to include piercing of ears, nose, navel, eyebrows, and tongue

● Coverage for Dermal Anchoring, Surface Piercing, Ampallang and Apadravya

● Mobile Units

● Competitive premiums

● Commission to broker 15%


What We Cover:


Our coverage includes but is not limited to the following list. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you don’t see what you’re looking for.

● Tattoo (permanent or temporary including henna)

● Body Piercing

● Permanent makeup including Microblading

● Pigment Lightening Removal (Saline or Laser/IPL)

● Beauty Professionals

● Laser Hair Removal, also includes removal of age spots, sun spots & liver spots

● Claims Made Policy

Visit our website for more details about our policy for tattoo and piercing studios.


Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.



  1. https://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2020/06/tattoo-shops-toronto-open/
  2. https://capitalcurrent.ca/ottawa-tattoo-parlours-approach-reopening-with-caution/
  3. https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/health-programs-advice/bodysafe/black-henna-temporary-tattoos/