Photographers face unique challenges that can lead to increased risk of having their equipment damaged or being sued. Just like any business, a photographer should probably protect themselves and their business from accidental loss and lawsuit. Similar to spending a little extra to get that better camera bag or hardcase to protect your equipment, buying photography insurance for your business is a wise investment.
- Photographers that work events or parties are often working around people that might be having a drink or two . . . Okay let's call it what it is, drunk people. That means an increased risk of someone stumbling over your equipment and damaging it, or worse getting hurt.
- Photographers are often called on to capture the most important moments in people's lives. If something goes wrong the emotions are heightened and the reactions severe.
- A lot of photographers do work outside of the studio, that means they're often not in control of the safety environment where they're shooting.
- A photographer's kit can be expensive! By the time you factor in the body, lenses, lighting, laptops, software, printers (if you have one), etc., you've laid out some serious money for mostly fragile photography equipment. Oh, and of course it's portable so there's always the theft concern.
- A photographers job is often time sensitive. If something happens and you can't shoot that event . . . There is no second chance at that paycheck.
- If you do work in event spaces, you've probably been asked for a 'certificate of insurance.' Managing those certificates can be a pain if your insurance company or agent doesn't have an automated process.
Coverage & Cost
What does insurance for a photographer cost? The cost varies depending on coverage chosen and your revenue but often photographers can get started with business insurance for as little as $30 a month.
Often photographers can get started with business insurance for as little as $30 a month.
But doesn't my homeowners insurance cover my equipment and liability? Maybe in some circumstances but it would not be unusual for your homeowners insurance to not cover damage or lawsuits related to your photography business. If coverage is offered under a homeowner policy it's usually limited. Don't chance it, protect your photography business with business insurance.
What types of business insurance coverage should I consider as a photographer and what kinds of claims would they likely cover?
You're shooting an event and everything is going great, till you back up into that guest while getting the perfect shot. Usually it wouldn't be a big deal but that guest was right in the middle of busting an epic move and you caused them to lose their balance and break their arm in the process. Now you're being sued for medical bills, time off of work, and claims of emotional pain & suffering. Luckily your General Liability insurance kicks in and both defends you and pays the settlement on your behalf.
You're setting up an amazing low-light shot and someone trips over your tripod, sending your camera and really expensive favorite lens flying. Talk about bad timing! You have a huge shoot planned for the next day and really need that top-shelf equipment that's now ruined. Good thing you had insurance that could pay to replace your damaged camera & lens and even for rental equipment if you're new camera is on back-order. Your next-day big shoot is saved!
The tenant next door to your studio had a fire and now you need to have some repairs and smoke mitigation done. It looks like you'll be closed for about 3 weeks, missing out on scheduled shoots and the income that comes with them. Fortunately your Business Income insurance could cover your lost income and/or expenses (including payroll) during that down-time.
Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions Insurance)
A Business Owners Policy (or BOP for short) combines several different common overages into one policy. You'll almost always get General Liability and Business Property but it can include Cyber, E&O, and much more . . . all in one policy with one easy to manage bill!
Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions Insurance)
The wedding is going perfectly and you're getting all the right shots, then as they exchange rings and kiss for the first time . . . your memory card fails. You feel horrible and hope the bride and groom will be understanding; they aren't and sue you for failing to deliver the photographs of their wedding as promised. Luckily, Professional Liability insurance could protect you and your business against claims of negligence, even if you haven't made a mistake.
You're photographing a wedding, but don't manage to take pictures of key family members. It was a giant wedding with tons of people requested to be in photographs and you missed a couple of them. Your client may make a claim against you for negligence regarding the failure to fully deliver the agreed upon photography services. Professional Liability insurance may protect you if such a claim is made.
Workers Compensation (Work Comp)
Someone you hired to help on a big shoot slips and dislocates their shoulder. Since they were working for you, your general liability insurance won't cover the injury. It's a good thing your Workers Compensation insurance could cover the injury.
Cyber Insurance (Ransomware - Data Breach - Cybercrime)
You're happily editing along and suddenly your computer locks up and you get a message from a hacker demanding payment to unlock it. Yup, you've sadly just become one of the increasing number of people to fall victim to Ransomware. Cyber insurance could provide help to get your computer unlocked, restored to a safe backup, or even pay the ransom. The best part is that you have a team of experts helping you sort it all out.
You discover that you've lost or someone has accessed your staff records, you now need to notify the state and sort out where the security breach was. Cyber insurance could provide you help in determining exactly which records were compromised, closing the breach, notifying the state, and communicating with your customers.
There are dozens of other different kinds of coverage that may also apply to your business. The best advice is to work with an independent insurance agent to review your unique business and what coverage makes sense (or doesn't make sense) for you.
And there you have it! I hope this quick overview of what to consider when it comes to insuring your photography business was helpful. What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment below.
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Lastly, an important disclaimer: This information is general in nature and intended to be educational. Nothing in this should be considered an offer or provision of coverage. Every insurance company, situation, person, and animal is unique and pricing and coverage will vary. Depending on the situation, in some cases coverage may simply not be available. At the time of this posting, Safford Insurance, LLC services the states of MA, RI, and TN.