Protecting Your Property
You’ve undoubtedly invested a lot of your hard-earned money back into your business by purchasing the gear you need to do the job. Commercial property insurance covers loss and damage related to disasters ranging from fires to wind storms, vandalism and theft, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. It would be very difficult to continue doing your job if your equipment or premises were to sustain significant damage, so property insurance offers business interruption coverage to keep you afloat financially during the resulting downtime. In a similar vein, photographers who store client data online or depend on the Internet to do business should consider taking out a cyber policy to cover business interruption in the face of a data breach.
Many small business owners choose to take out a business Owners Policy that bundles property insurance with general liability insurance, which we will discuss next.
In Case of Accident or Injury
General liability insurance pays for damages (up to your policy’s limits) if your photography business is found liable for injury that occurs on your premises. It also covers damages if someone sues you for property damage or data loss. The third area it covers is advertising injury, like libel, slander, and copyright infringement. What starts out as a routine photo shoot in your studio can quickly become a lawsuit if a client sustains an injury. You may need to purchase an excess policy for additional protection, per the Insurance Information Institute (III).
In Case You Make a Mistake
If a client feels that you have not delivered to the terms of your contract, they can sue. Say you’re halfway through a wedding when your memory card malfunctions, or a misunderstanding with the client leads to you arriving to the event at the wrong time and missing the crucial shots. Professional liability insurance covers claims pertaining to negligence, faulty advice, and misrepresentation. The III asks: “Could your counsel or service lead to losses by your client for which you could be held responsible?” If the answer is yes, you’ll need to purchase professional liability coverage (also called errors and emissions or E&O).
Consider this recent case near Los Angeles that resulted in a lawsuit against one wedding photographer. My News LA reports that a married couple is suing the owner of the photography studio they hired to shoot their wedding, claiming she delivered the images months late and in poor condition. Their lawsuit alleges breach of contract, negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation on the part of the photographer.
For Driving on the Job
You might assume your personal car insurance policy has you covered, but that’s not always the case. If you drive to off-site shoots or client meetings, commercial auto insurance can help cover damaged property costs and medical bills relating to an unfortunate auto accident. As the Law Tog advises, check local, state, and federal laws to see if and how much liability auto insurance is required where you live, and consider exceeding the minimum to protect yourself on the road.
Don’t forget to protect yourself online against data breaches with cyber coverage for small businesses.
Finding the Best Photography Business Insurance
On the surface, you as a photographer are an artist. Below the surface, you’re a renegade perfectionist out to conquer the world one invoice at a time. Like you, photography business insurance multitasks, protecting your business from the damage caused by thieves, Mother Nature, human error, and lawsuit-happy customers.
Therefore, if you want to keep capturing the finer things in life, finding the right photography insurance is important.
What Is Photography Business Insurance?
In short, photography business insurance is a souped-up business owner’s policy that not only covers your camera, lenses, computers and other equipment, but also provides liability insurance for when gigs go wrong, photos are ruined, and clients are livid.
Why Do I Need Photography Business Insurance?Photography equipment is expensive, portable and delicate—a prime target for thieves and Murphy’s Law mishaps. It’s a mega-bummer to lose this stuff when photography is only a hobby, but if it’s your main source of income, it can tank your whole life if it doesn’t get replaced, fast. Insurance payouts help you do that.
Insurance is especially important if you shoot weddings, proms, award shows and other once-in-a-lifetime events. If your photos come out wrecked, you don’t get a do-over. Clients could sue, and without insurance, you are on the hook for that money.
Still don’t know if photography business insurance is right for you? Here are a few tells that it is time to line up a policy, stat:
- You have a studio: Studios mean more equipment that can get damaged or stolen and more customers who can sue.
- You have top-of-the-line equipment: It might be possible to replace low- to mid-range stuff out of pocket, but once you’re working with an industry gold standard, it’s time to insure it.
- You have (or want) big-name clients: Many clients—think major businesses and headliner events—won’t work with you if you don’t have insurance.
- Photography is a primary source of income: If your photography business is a side hustle, you might be able to get by without insurance, making ends meet with your day job. Not so if photography is your day job.
Here are the photography insurance highlights:
- Damage: Fire, natural disaster, accidents and other party poopers that damage your equipment or studio.
- Theft: Cameras and laptops attract thieves like milkshakes bring boys to the yard—theft coverage has your back.
- Lawsuits: Protects you from quick-tempered customers, whether you actually screwed up or they had a bad hair day you were unlucky enough to document it.
- Injuries and other mishaps in studios: If someone trips over a power cord and breaks a leg, this type of coverage pays for hospital bills, so you don’t have to.
How Much Does Photography Business Insurance Cost?It depends on your photography business’s size and risk. Side-hustle photographers whose income is low because they only shoot birthday and retirement parties every other weekend will likely pay only a few hundred dollars in premiums each year.
On the other hand, if you’re a full-time globe-trotter who only documents royal weddings and rare volcano eruptions, your premiums could be in the thousands.
What’s So Great about an Independent Agent?Independent agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance policies and rates for you. Not only that, they’ll explain all the nitty gritty bits in human terms, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Plus, they’re the only agents who can work with multiple carriers, which gives you more options for finding ideal photography insurance. Most importantly, they've got your back and will help you when claim time comes.
Comparing Photography Business Insurance QuotesThese agents work with you one-on-one to evaluate your needs and find the photography business coverage that’s perfect for you. They’ll compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the protection you need at the right price. So you’ll have that going for you.
As always, look to someone that is versed and knowledgeable of your industry. Flying blind is no good. If there is any investment to make, it is in your financial and business security before that next new lens or prop.