You drop your primary camera and favorite portrait lens the week before the biggest wedding gig of your career. Could you afford to replace them and still pay your bills for the month?
You’re shooting on the sidelines of a high-profile soccer game. The ball flies past you and, as you turn to snap an action shot of the player chasing it, they trip over your feet. Are you prepared to cover their injuries – and yours – and deal with the repercussions of costing the team the game?
Your website gets hacked, and all of your clients’ photos are leaked – including family and boudoir shots. To make matters worse, their information is stolen at the same time. Would fixing this lead to the end of your business?
If those scenarios cause you to feel uncomfortable – maybe even panic a little – it could be time to purchase insurance for your photography business.
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Photographer’s insurance, like other forms of insurance, provides a safety net for situations that are unexpected or out of your control. From protecting your clients, content, and cameras to yourself, your office, and your income, insurance will ensure that your business can thrive no matter what mishaps the universe throws your way.
Photography Insurance: The Basics
Why do you need photographer’s insurance? The short answer is it makes your life easier. It frees you to focus on taking great pictures and running your business without a million unnecessary “what if’s” flowing through your mind. Accidents happen, but they don’t have to become all-consuming.
An insurance policy has you covered if your worst-case scenarios come to pass. When a camera breaks at the worst possible time. When you get hurt and can’t shoot. When someone else gets hurt while you’re taking their picture. Comprehensive insurance helps to make all of these potential situations less financially devastating.
Insurance is a great idea whether you’re just dabbling in taking photos for friends or a longstanding professional. Specifically, insurance can protect your photography business in the following ways:
The primary benefit of insurance is the protection in case your gear is broken, lost, stolen, or otherwise damaged. Your policy will pay to repair or replace your equipment and get you back to taking pictures ASAP.
Photography tools are expensive, and you can’t do your job without them. However, it’s improbable that you’ll have enough money to re-purchase them all at any point in time, especially if you’re just starting out. A small annual investment in insurance saves you from being unable to afford everything your business needs after a disaster.
For a photography business, you, the owner, are the heart of the company. Even if you have a team supporting you, your participation in the process and ability to be on location is essential. If you become ill or injured to the extent that you can’t photograph, you will still need to pay your bills.
Business interruption insurance and general business insurance can help to cover your bills if your business cannot run normally for whatever reason. If your studio burns down or you break your arm, you won’t lose everything while you handle the situation or are healing.
Whether taking pictures in your studio or on location, your clients’ safety is your responsibility. If they fall or trip while posing, it can be your fault. Medical bills for even the smallest injury are expensive!
Insurance will cover those medical costs for you and let you focus on saving your money for new cameras or a bigger studio. Always practice safety, but, you can rest assured that you won’t go bankrupt if an accident happens with photography insurance.
“I work best when there’s a safety trampoline of kindness.” – Ruth Negga
Without working cameras or lenses, a photography business isn’t a photography business. Even the most careful individuals can make a mistake that leaves their camera shattered or may be the victim of a natural disaster. Camera insurance will ensure that you’re back up and running quickly.
Camera insurance either repairs or replaces your lost or damaged gear. Your insurer will select the most practical and cost-effective option. Remember, though, coverage doesn’t include normal wear and tear of your photography equipment. Be sure to keep your cameras, lenses, and tripods well maintained.
Additionally, you must let your Insurance company know how much your gear is worth to be certain that your policy will cover full replacement of all of your tools. The easiest way to ensure that everything is covered is to keep a record of the serial numbers, purchase price, and purchase date of your equipment pieces both with you and your insurance provider.
A unique benefit of most camera insurance is that it will cover pre-owned or used gear. Even if you purchase items from individuals and don’t have official proof of purchase, that’s OK. Simply give the item name and serial number to your insurance provider, and it will be protected.
Keep in mind that even the most inclusive camera insurance policies might not cover rented gear. If you rent cameras or lenses frequently, consider asking to add borrowed equipment to your current insurance policy. Even if it increases the cost, it could prove to be worth it!
Another option is to check with your equipment rental service. They often include an option for camera insurance added to the rental agreement. Whichever you choose, it’s best practice to have some type of coverage for the expensive gear that isn’t yours.
Having some form of coverage for your gear can literally change the course of your career. You never want to be forced to make the decision to pass up an opportunity for the photo shoot of a lifetime because your camera lens is cracked and you don’t have the money to repair it. You might quickly find yourself in a dark hole of unemployment because you don’t have the money to fix your equipment and then having even less money as a result of an inability to take jobs.
Don’t let your story become one of financial ruin from a single broken camera. Protect yourself and your future by taking out an insurance policy on your photography kit.
Drone Camera Insurance
Few styles of photography are creating as many waves and getting as much attention as wide-angle drone pictures. Their ability to capture an entire landscape and provide a stunning perspective on an area is unrivaled. It seems that everyone wants drone pictures for their business or brand.
However, drone photography is extra risky and requires carefully selected insurance. If you are offering drone photos to your clients, it’s essential to find a policy that will cover you wherever you might be. The added risk of property damage and injury, both for you and others, calls for extra precautions.
Anything can happen when you’re flying a drone. It can crash if the signal between the controller and the drone drops even for a split second. You can blink and hit a tree, building, or person. Drone photography is not for the faint of heart as disaster strikes frequently.
Drone insurance provides the confidence that you’re prepared when, not if, an accident happens.
Because of the increased risk they bring, drone cameras require additional insurance. They can’t be included in the same policy that covers your other photography equipment without an upgrade in coverage. Check to see if the policy that you’re considering includes an option for unmanned aircraft.
The dangers drones bring can be summarized in three primary categories.
Damage to surroundings
As previously described, it’s quite easy to accidentally fly a drone into a building, structure, or landmark. Trees, rocks, and waterfalls have been the victim of many drone crashes. With how easy it is to fly your drone into something, protection from the consequences becomes a no-brainer.
Insurance for your drone photography will cover the consequences of un-intentionally damaging property either while flying or during a crash. This provides a peace of mind that will allow you to focus on operating the aircraft and taking the perfect picture, instead of stressing about everything around you.
Injury to humans
Similar to the potential damage to surroundings, your next drone crash could cause injury to another person. Though buildings and trees can handle a lot, people – particularly unsuspecting people – can handle way less impact without severe injury.
Whether you cause someone to trip while watching you work or you crash land the drone on top of their head, having insurance will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed paying for their medical bills. Let your provider handle that and free you to keep taking great pictures.
Destruction of the drone itself
Though much more affordable than they used to be, drones are not a cheap investment. Like cameras and lenses, most photographers don’t have cash on hand to re-purchase their drone if theirs is damaged or stolen.
When selecting drone insurance coverage, make sure that you’re covered in case of an accident. Some policies only cover situations outside of human error. Since no one is perfect, and drone crashes happen, find a plan that will be there for you quickly and cover your drone, no matter the reason behind its damage.
Photography Insurance Logistics
As you begin to research the perfect insurance policy for your photography business, it can seem like an overwhelming task. It doesn’t have to be.
Many people find it works best to include their basic photography business coverage with their existing homeowners, renters, or auto insurance policies. This is especially beneficial if you’re just starting out. Once you’re an LLC and more established business though, you’ll be more likely to require a separate, specialized policy.
Consider the following types of insurance, choose which are appropriate for you, and you’ll be on your way to shooting without the stress of “what if.”
Business property insurance
Business property insurance covers everything that you use to make money. Not just your cameras and lenses, but all of your other necessities as well. This includes your props, tripods, and even your office furniture.
General liability insurance
General liability insurance is held – or should be – by most businesses that involve working with people. In fact, some higher end photography clients won’t hire you without it. This covers everything that someone could blame you for happening.
The most common use for general liability insurance is coverage for injuries to your clients or models and their property. Anything from a torn dress to a sprained ankle to a major accident that is the result of working with you can be covered with your liability policy. Luckily for business owners, this includes both real and alleged damages.
“At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.” – Jodi Rell
Another benefit of liability insurance is protection from the costs of libel or slander. If a former client is bad mouthing you all over the internet, your insurance company could pay to help clean up your reputation. From negative reviews to bad publicity, the costs of repairing a reputation can be extreme. A good insurance policy will save you from taking on this financial burden alone.
Business interruption insurance
This insurance will cover your income in the case of a horrible situation. If your studio burns down or a hurricane hits, your salary will continue to be paid while you work on rebuilding your life and business.
Inland marine insurance
If you travel to and from a variety of locations carrying all of your expensive gear, inland marine insurance might be appropriate for you. This covers any property in transit.
You’re in a car wreck, and all your cameras are destroyed. Your baggage is lost after you check it for a flight. Your bag is stolen on the train. Whatever happens, to ruin your photography equipment while you travel for work, you’ll be covered.
Auto liability insurance
Like inland marine insurance, an auto liability policy is a good idea if you often drive for shoots. This will cover your equipment, including memory cards and their contents if someone breaks into your car and steals everything. Having auto liability coverage would make running inside to use the bathroom at a gas station much less stressful.
Are You Covered?
We know that thinking about worst-case scenarios is never fun but considering ways to handle bad situations before they happen, such as by purchasing photography Insurance, better prepares you for success in the long run.