Focus Better on Your Career With Photographer Liability Insurance

TLTR: Photographer Liability Insurance allows you to take career risks that actually profit you. This article explains how freelance photographers and photography businesses can protect themselves against third-party liabilities, professional liabilities, and other risks.

This may seem surprising, but photography can be a dangerous career. Press Freedom Tracker, a website dedicated to recording and reporting any threats to press freedom, has numerous articles on photojournalists being harassed and their equipment damaged. While these threats arise from various sources ranging from the general public to private security companies to criminal groups, some photojournalists are threatened almost daily. 

If you’re an art photographer or a special event photographer, your daily job might not be as fraught. But that’s not to say you’re entirely free from risk. 

Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer, and a couple hires you for their special day. You work the gig and store their photographs on a memory card. But for some reason the memory card fails, all the photos are lost, and that means you’re not getting paid.  

The best insurance for photographers is one that’s designed to eliminate these risks that obstruct your career path. 

In this blog

Do I Need Insurance for My Photography Business?

A business shouldn’t run on a wing and a prayer—it needs to be protected from any possible financial harm. Liability insurance for your photography business will cover all your equipment and business needs. Insurance companies have put time and effort into designing a policy that encompasses complete liability insurance for photographers.  

More than just protection from lawsuits, liability insurance will help you recover your losses after a disaster. This coverage will reimburse you if anything happens to your studio, equipment, or business as a whole.   

You need photographer liability insurance if you’re working as one of these types of photographers or own a similar business: 

  • Fine Art Photographer 
  • Sports Photographer 
  • Photo Studio 
  • Photobooth Operator 
  • Wedding Photographer 
  • Fashion Photographer 
  • Photojournalist 
  • Freelance Photographer 
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What Types of Insurance Do Photographers Need?

A photographer can face several third-party claims and lawsuits. From general liability to business owners policy, you need a wide array of protection.  

If you or your business uses a copyrighted image or video without proper permission, you could face expensive lawsuits for copyright infringement. As per Copyright Alliance, a point often overlooked is that the owners of the copyrighted media are entitled to statutory damages, which can easily add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Reuters reports that popular rapper and business mogul Jay-Z has sued photographer Jonathan Mannion accusing him of misusing his likeness and photographs for commercial purposes.  

There’s no telling when or how you may get in trouble on the job. The best you can do is purchase a policy with no loopholes. Let’s look at the types of policies photographers need.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A BOP protects you against the risks that could force you to close shop, from fire to burglary and everything in between. 

This policy will provide you with liability insurance coverage for claims and lawsuits, property damage, equipment breakdowns, and a host of other contingencies.  

BOP also covers business interruption such as loss of profits due to your shop’s closing. It can be especially beneficial if you’re a freelance photographer. For example, imagine you’re working at a sports event, and you fall down a flight of stairs and break your arm and your camera. Your BOP will cover any loss of income due to your temporary disability until you’re ready to get back on the job. It will also pay for your camera’s repair. 

General Liability Insurance For Photographer

Public liability insurance for a photographer is the first priority in photographer liability coverage.  

Your job takes you to many places, from the outdoors to a posh wedding, to even your client’s home. You and your equipment could accidentally cause damage or injury. Your lighting equipment or tripod could fall and injure someone badly. Your commercial general liability insurance, also known as public liability insurance, will help you pay for your medical costs. 

General liability coverage is one of the most important policies to purchase as a professional, with respect to your clients and third parties.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance covers damage to your property. Photography requires an expensive camera, lots of specialized camera gear, and lighting equipment. Additionally, your photographs will need to be edited on high-end software and computers. Getting photo gear insurance should be one of the first things you do as you start your photography business. 

If you’re smart, you’ve covered yourself against theft, vandalism, wind, storm, and fire with the help of commercial property insurance. Talk to your insurance agent regarding including your studio building and structure in your policy as well.

    Commercial Auto Insurance

    Traveling for work can be fun, but having your camera break due to bad road conditions isn’t. Commercial auto insurance can protect photographers from losses caused due to vehicle-related accident damage, injuries, theft, and vandalism. 

    Professional Liability Insurance For Photographer

    Professional liability insurance protects professionals from losses that arise due to negligence or inaccurate advice. It is specifically necessary for photojournalists or photographic institutes to protect them against malpractice.  

    A professional liability insurance policy will cover you in case someone makes a legal claim against your photography business. For example, if you’re unable to give your clients the desired product, they may file a case against you. The insurance policy will help pay for your legal fees until the case ends. 

    Business liability insurance for photography is sometimes the only barrier between you and bankruptcy. 

    Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O)

    E&O insurance covers claims and lawsuits from third parties due to your errors, incompetence, delay in services, breach of contract, and more. 

    This insurance policy will protect you against consequential losses resulting from the above-mentioned reasons. For example, your client asks you to photograph their wedding ceremony; if they feel like it wasn’t good enough, they can sue you for breach of contract. This policy will help pay for your defense costs. 

    Cyber Liability Insurance

    Photography isn’t just pose-and-click. A photographer toils hours on editing the raw images so that they come out as per the client’s wishes. Most photographers and photography businesses store image files and other digital assets on the cloud. Any stored data and sensitive information on your computer, however, is prone to hacking.  

    Cyber liability insurance protects you from damage or losses due to data breaches. 

    Workers Compensation Insurance For Photographer

    Workers compensation insurance is a must if you have employees on the payroll. Of course, if you’re a business, it’s mandatory. A photography insurance policy, with workers compensation coverage, will protect your employees if they face injuries while on the job.

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      How Much Does Photographer Liability Insurance Cost?

      Many factors come into play to determine your photographer insurance costs, such as gear, equipment value, size of business, number of employees, state, credit history, and previous claims. Fit Small Business says that the coverage costs vary by policy. The estimated annual premium for general liability coverage is $250 to $800, while the same for a professional liability insurance policy is $800 to $1,500.  

      It’s important to understand that one photography business doesn’t need every policy they can find. Most times, an insurance agent will inspect your risks and suggest the best liability insurance for photographers.   

      Here are some great places to look for photographer insurance: 

        Lastly, let’s briefly discuss the factors that determine photography liability insurance cost:

        Location

        Your state dictates the liability insurance cost you need to pay. In fact, some states are known for high-cost claims. In such cases, a photographer might have to pay more than 50% of their annual income on insurance premiums. 

        Company Size

        A bigger company with more employees needs higher coverage limits for business income and property damage. It also needs more coverage for legal assistance and other types of coverage (such as property insurance). 

        Equipment values

        The value of your equipment adds to the total amount of insurance that you need. For example, if your gear is worth $10,000, then most likely you’ll need a general liability insurance policy worth $10,000. 

        Many photographers think that purchasing expensive equipment will help keep their insurance premiums low. But this practice may not be of any benefit since the high value of their gear may attract thieves. Thus, a photographer can end up without gear and unpaid premiums! Stay safe and choose the best equipment for your needs. 

        Credit score

        The higher your credit score is, the cheaper it will be to get a photography insurance policy. Most of the time, a high credit score means you’re a low-risk customer, in which case you may qualify for lower premiums. But even if you have a bad credit history, there are still ways to reduce your premium cost. Talk to insurance agents regarding discounts. 

        Photographer Liability Insurance Claims 

        Some insurance companies don’t want to deal with high-risk clients. That’s why they charge higher premiums. This is very common when it comes to photography liability insurance!  

        In Conclusion

        As a photographer, you certainly need insurance. But not every policy that seems vaguely suitable is going to work for you.  Deciding how much insurance you need is based on analyzing your risk levels. 

        The insurance agents in our agent directory will help you determine those risk levels, consider your budget, and work with multiple insurance companies to bring you the best and most affordable photographer liability insurance policies. Find an insurance agent near you today!  

        Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

        Won't General Liability insurance cover my mistakes?

        A general liability policy will cover many things, but it won’t cover your own mistakes. Here are some of the exclusions: 

        • Damage to your own property 

        General liability coverage is designed to protect you from third-party lawsuits. So, if you or your clients hit your camera equipment with a car, you probably can’t ask your general liability policy to cover you. 

        • Intentional damage to your property 

        It’s a no-brainer. No insurance company will cover you if you intentionally damage your property. As a photographer, you must take very good care of your equipment, because insurance won’t cover you against maintenance and wear and tear either! 

        • Professional errors  

        General liability insurance doesn’t cover you against professional errors such as faulty work, client dissatisfaction, or errors and omissions. Photographers must get additional insurance policies if they want protection against such professional risks. Professional liability insurance is one policy that you can start with. 

        Can my videography gear also be covered under photographer liability insurance?

        Photography insurance is tailored for photographers and their equipment. Videography is closely related to photography, and you may have videography services included in your photography business as well. Some of your gear may be covered under photographer liability insurance in that case. However, for more information, talk to your insurance agent. 

        If I'm just starting as a photographer, do I still need insurance?

        Mistakes can happen whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting out. That’s why insurance is always essential.  

        I frequently use my photography gear underwater. Will my insurance cover water damage?

        Photography insurance covers photography equipment, general liability, commercial property, errors and omissions, and the employees. Unfortunately, it doesn’t normally cover your gear when you intentionally dunk it underwater. Insurance companies will consider it intentional damage.  

        That said, you can purchase a specific underwater camera insurance policy. Consult with your insurance agent for more information. 

        Do freelance photographers need insurance?

        Absolutely! As a freelancer, you don’t have an employer looking out for you. If an accident happens, you’d have to pay for everything yourself.  

        In addition, the costs of equipment aren’t cheap nowadays. A photographer can easily lose his/her gear or even their car in a fire or other natural disaster. For instance, you travel to a wedding for a job and lose some equipment on the way. You’d have to pay out of pocket to replace it if you didn’t have photography insurance.  

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