When your job consists of traveling to many different places and environments while carrying VERY expensive AND fragile equipment, insurance should be top of mind. I say should, because insurance is usually one of those things we don’t want to pay for since 90% of the time we’re not getting anything in return. But we know we probably should… If you feel like one day, you’ll end up in that 10%, let’s look at what kind of options a freelance photographer or videographer has when shopping for insurance policies.
It’s all in the name: this insurance covers you if anything happens to your equipment. There’s a variety of policies out there but these plans will usually replace your photography equipment (minus your deductible) in case it breaks, gets stolen, or lost. We know what a nice lens costs, so paying less than $1/day in case something happens to it wouldn’t necessarily a bad idea.
General Liability Insurance
This type of insurance protects you and your clumsiness. If you’re doing a photoshoot in somebody’s house and scratch their floor with your tripod or break a $500-floor lamp as you move around to get the perfect shot, this insurance would reimburse the cost incurred by your client to replace it. In a worse scenario, if your client trips on your loose cable and breaks their arm, the same thing, your insurance would help you cover their medical fees and any other financial burden this accident would lead to (ie. if they need to stop working for a month). It basically works the same way as your car insurance.
When you subscribe to a general liability insurance policy for your freelancing business, you will also receive a certificate of insurance, which some venues (weddings, hotels, show floor…) will require before they let you work on their premises. All you will need to do is add them to the list of insured (which only takes a phone call or a few clicks, and doesn’t cost anything) before you start working there.
Other case scenarios your general liability insurance will help you with are if you get sued for using unauthorized material in your advertising or if you need to hire an attorney in case you’re sued even though you have done nothing wrong.
Professional Liability Insurance
This policy is usually less necessary in the photography and videography business. It basically covers you if you make a mistake or don’t deliver on an assignment, and your client decides to sue you for the financial fallout…
I already have insurance through my renter’s or homeowner policy
While that’s true, the belongings part of your renter/homeowner’s insurance usually only covers your equipment while it is inside your home. The coverage tends to also be smaller, more limited, and technically doesn’t apply to your freelance business.
The liability insurance portion of that policy covers you for your day-to-day life as a citizen (if you inadvertently trips someone on the street), it doesn’t cover you when you’re on the job.
Make sure to talk to your insurance rep to really understand what they’re covering, and ask all the scenario-based questions you need. There are a lot of new online players in the insurance game for freelancers making the process smoother and more transparent, check out Next Insurance or Thimble. The Freelancer’s Union also offers a general liability policy for freelancers.
And one last piece of advice when buying insurance (or anything else in life, really!): do your research and ask for quotes from multiple providers.