What Types of Insurance Should a Photographer Buy?March 22, 2016
Whether you pursue photography or videography as a hobby or a profession, it can be extremely expensive. Most photographers are constantly looking for ways to upgrade their gear that will improve the quality of their images. Once you’ve been a photographer for many years, you will no doubt have a vast collection of cameras, lenses, tripods, filters, camera bags, memory cards, flashes, and other well-researched—and cherished—gear.
This is why looking into insuring your equipment is a must for anyone who has invested money into their equipment. If you get in a car accident or someone steals your camera bag, the insurance money can cover your losses and help you get back on your feet.
If you’re a professional photographer, you’ll also want to look into the various types of liability insurances that are available for your business. Your clients are trusting you with the job of capturing their memories forever, so if something goes wrong, you might end up with a lawsuit on your hands.
Here are some of the various types of insurance coverage available for photographers and videographers for both hobbyists and professionals alike.
Professional liability insurance
This type of coverage is a must-have for professional photographers/videographers. It is mainly used for businesses that provide a professional service and/or consultation with clients, and in situations where the client requires liability insurance to sign a contract. These things tend to apply to most photography businesses.
Professional liability insurance usually includes “errors and omissions” insurance. This type of insurance covers instances in which your client is dissatisfied because of a mistake you made. For example, say you have a list of poses you agreed to photograph for the client, but for whatever reason, you missed a few. Or maybe you forgot to photograph a few family members with the bride after the wedding.
In both of these cases, the client can blame you by making a claim against you for negligence, since you failed to deliver the product or services you agreed upon in the initial contract. Professional liability insurance can protect you from this type of thing.
The other type of issue your photography business can run into is when you fail to deliver the agreed upon services because of an issue that isn’t your fault. For example, maybe your memory card became corrupted halfway through the ceremony. Professional liability insurance will cover this.
General liability insurance
This type of insurance covers three main kinds of incidents involving a third party—clients and employees, usually—that could occur on the job: bodily injury, property damage and data loss, and personal injury.
Depending on your niche, photography and videography can involve hazardous environments. And, not to sound paranoid, even seemingly safe environments can allow for accidents to happen. For example, a client could trip over your tripod and get injured. Or maybe your flash causes someone with epilepsy to have a seizure. Maybe YOU trip over you camera bag and spill your beverage all over your client’s laptop. Your assistant could spread a rumor that the groom is a bit of a diva, giving the groom the opportunity to sue for slander.
General liability insurance will make sure none of these types of situations become a problem for your business.
Business owner insurance
Business owner insurance is essentially a combination of general liability insurance and property insurance. If you own a photography or videography business, business owner insurance will cover any gear that you use, including your cameras and accessories, as well as your computers. Seeing as how photography/videography equipment is extremely expensive, you don’t want to go without this type of insurance if you own a photography business.
Hired/non-owned automobile liability insurance
Hired/non-owned auto liability coverage protects your business in the following situation: an employee has an accident while using a vehicle—whether it be owned by them or rented—for business purposes. So for example, if you ask your assistant to drive to a nearby store to pick up an extra SD card, and they get into a car accident, your business might be found liable. If this happens, your hired/non-owned automobile liability insurance will cover the cost.
Business vehicle insurance
Most types of car insurance will include some business use of your vehicle in their policies. However, depending on where you live and what kind of insurance you have, it may be necessary for you to take out an additional business vehicle insurance policy to protect your business in the case of an accident.
This type of insurance will cover situations like the following: you are on your way to meet a client, and while talking to them on your cell phone, you get into a car accident. The other person in the accident sues you and your company. Your business vehicle insurance will protect your business from the lawsuit.
General homeowner or renter insurance
If photography or videography is a more of a hobby to you—albeit, an expensive one—you can specifically list your equipment under your homeowner insurance policy, or if you rent, you can take out a renter policy and do the same thing. Doing it this way will protect your camera and any equipment against most types of damage or theft. There may be special circumstances where you won’t receive coverage, so be sure to review your policy closely.
If you do choose to do this, it is advised that you insure the item for its new replacement cost rather than its used replacement cost. That way, you will be able to afford a new replacement if something happens.
If you’re still unsure of which types of insurance policies are necessary for your purposes, set up a meeting with an insurance agent to discuss your needs. If you are an amateur photographer, you can probably get away with just adjusting your homeowner or renter insurance so that it covers your equipment; however, if you own your own photography business, consider purchasing a combination of the aforementioned insurance policies to make sure you’re protected from accidents or lawsuits.
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