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Work in the photo and video industry can pose a number of challenges and risks for business owners. From property damage to injury, accidents and disasters can happen without warning and at any time. With the right commercial insurance coverage, however, you can make sure your business is financially prepared for any unexpected event.
Photography and Videography Business Insurance Types
General liability insurance is a basic coverage that almost every small business should consider. Offering broad protection against liability risks, general liability insurance provides coverage for accidental third-party injury and property damage. For photo and video professionals, this is crucial coverage given your likely interactions with clients and other members of the public on your business property or in other locations for off-site shoots.
General liability coverage also provides protection against claims of non-physical personal and advertising injuries, which can include violations of privacy, slander, and copyright infringement in advertising. In the photo and video industry, these protections can be important, given your involvement in recording and publishing media.
- While shooting a couple’s engagement photo session at a public park, a nearby pedestrian trips over one of the power cords for your lighting equipment. The pedestrian falls and injures her wrist, requiring medical attention. Your general liability insurance would pay for her medical fees and any legal costs if she sues your business.
For any business that owns or rents commercial property, commercial property insurance is crucial coverage and will likely be required by any landlord. Commercial property insurance can protect the value of your business property, including the office or studio space you own or lease and any equipment, furniture, or other belongings that are housed in that space.
For photo and video businesses that likely own expensive cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, and computers, commercial property coverage is key. Property insurance kicks in if and when your business property is damaged by a covered peril, which can include fire, windstorm, vandalism, water damage, and more.
- A fire breaks out in your photo studio, damaging the building as well as destroying your photo equipment. Your commercial property policy will cover the costs of repairing your building as well as replacing any equipment that was lost in the fire.
Inland marine insurance provides coverage for your business property that travels with you from place to place. While commercial property policies generally exclude or provide very limited coverage for property that is not fixed in place at your business premises, inland marine insurance can cover the property you take with you to off-site shoots or customer locations.
- While filming a commercial on-site at the local town square, your work van is broken into. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of video and lighting equipment are stolen. Your inland marine insurance policy will pay for the costs of replacing your stolen equipment.
Commercial crime insurance provides coverage for financial losses related to crimes such as theft, burglary, robbery, forgery, and fraud. Coverage can be applied to crimes committed by third parties as well as employees. Your business may own expensive photo and video equipment, and you may also deal in cash transactions. If so, it’s important to make sure you’re protected against any potential crimes, particularly those committed by your employees who may have open access to your business’s valuables.
- Your photo studio has a back office with a safe. You store your business’s cash in that safe until your weekly drop-offs to the bank. Recently, you discovered that an employee had stolen $5,000 from the safe. Commercial crime insurance would reimburse you for the stolen cash.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical and financial benefits for your employees who are injured or fall ill on the job. Employee injuries are a common occurrence, and risk can be heightened for those who work in the field, like photographers or videographers. Even in the office, accidents like trip-and-falls or repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are not uncommon. Workers’ comp is required in almost every state, so if your business employs others, it’s likely you’ll need to secure this coverage.
- While filming on location at a national park, one of your employees slips and falls down a steep ravine. He ends up breaking his leg and injuring his back. He will be unable to work for at least three months. Workers’ compensation would cover his medical fees and a portion of his income while he is recovering.
If your business owns or leases company vehicles, or if you or your employees drive personal vehicles for work purposes, you’ll need to secure commercial auto insurance. Just like personal auto insurance protects you from auto liability and provides coverage for physical damage to your vehicles, so too does commercial auto insurance.
With commercial auto insurance, you can protect your business in case you or your employees are involved in an at-fault collision while driving a company vehicle. Hired and non-owned auto insurance can provide coverage when employees drive personal vehicles for work purposes.
- Your company is hired to shoot a promotional video at a local software company’s offices. While driving to the location, you fail to see someone in your blindspot and end up crashing into another vehicle. The other driver is injured and their car suffers severe damage. Your commercial auto insurance would cover damages to the vehicle and the injured driver’s medical costs.
Additional Insurance Coverage
Depending on the risks of your particular business, you may decide on a number of other insurance coverage types. The following are a few to consider:
- Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, provides protection against lawsuits claiming negligence or failures in your professional duties. An unhappy client may sue your business for a variety of reasons, from a mistake that costs the client financially to failing to deliver results to the client’s expectations. Professional liability insurance can provide for the costs to defend against these types of lawsuits.
- Business income insurance, also called business interruption insurance, provides coverage for costs you may incur if your business must temporarily shut down due to property damage. If your photo or video business heavily depends on your commercial property (e.g., a photo studio), business income insurance can pay for operating expenses and lost income if damage from a covered peril forces you to close.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) provides financial protection for your business against lawsuits by current, past, or prospective employees accusing your business of wrongful treatment such as discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues.
Insurance Coverage for Your Employees
Part of protecting your business also means providing the right coverage for your employees. You can sponsor group insurance plans for your employees to provide financial protection in their time of need. A comprehensive employee insurance plan can also serve as a way to attract and retain top talent.
Group health insurance helps your employees pay for medical and healthcare expenditures, including everything from primary care to hospitalizations and surgeries. Offering health insurance to your employees can not only keep your employees in better health, but it can also help to retain your employees. More and more, prospective employees are looking for health coverage as part of a competitive compensation package.
Group life insurance provides a financial payment to an employee’s family or other survivors if the employee unexpectedly dies. The death does not have to be work-related. Although individuals can purchase life insurance on their own, as an employer-sponsored group, you can usually obtain better rates than an employee could get on their own.
Group disability insurance provides income to employees who cannot work as a result of non-work-related injuries.
What photography and videography businesses need insurance?
Every photography or videography professional should have some basic insurance coverage, whether you’re on your own or part of a larger organization. Not only does insurance protect you against financial loss in unexpected circumstances, but it can also demonstrate to clients that you’re serious about your work. All of the following factors can open you up to the problems that insurance accounts for:
- You work with clients
- Members of the public visit your business property
- You perform work for clients at client locations or public spaces
- You own or lease company vehicles
- You drive a personal vehicle for work purposes
- You hire employees
- You own or rent commercial property
- Your business owns valuable property, such as cameras and lighting equipment
Commercial insurance can cover a wide variety of photo and video businesses. Some common businesses and professions that need insurance include:
Choosing an Insurance Company
The first step in acquiring insurance for your photo and video business is finding the right insurance company to partner with. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted insurance partners, who offer a variety of coverage suitable for photography and videography businesses. We’ve also included a few factors that are important for your business to consider when evaluating insurers.
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
Financial strength. While you may think getting the best-priced policy should be your main goal, it is more important to ensure you purchase insurance from a financially stable provider. It’s worth remembering that insurance claims are paid directly from the finances available to the insurance company. In other words, if the insurance provider is financially stable, they will be able to fulfill their claims commitment. When an insurance company does not have financial stability, it may collapse and be unable to support you.
While this is rare, it does happen. You want to know your company is always secure and certainly don’t want the surprise of finding out your insurance provider cannot cover your losses when you make a claim.
Of course, this leads to the obvious question: How do you know your insurance company has financial strength? Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just purchasing a policy from the biggest industry names because even giant insurers go through periods of financial instability. Luckily, there are rating agencies that grade insurance companies in terms of their financial strength. Some of the major rating agencies are Fitch, Standard & Poor’s, AM Best, and Moody’s.
Price. Cost is important for any business, but the price of insurance is not the only factor. Instead, your photo and video business will be better served by looking for the policy that is the most affordable but also meets all your requirements.
Different insurers have different methods for determining the premium you will pay, although there are some industry standards. For insurance companies, pricing is all about determining how much risk your business presents. The key to finding the best deal that meets your company needs is to shop around. Speak to insurers, use online quote engines, and work with brokers to ensure you get the coverage you require to protect your business.
Customer service. While you want your insurance provider to be financially stable and priced competitively, it is also important that you can engage with the company. It is possible you will need to make a claim, change policy details, or update personal information. In these cases, you want to deal with a company that has good customer care. While most major carriers have good customer service records, some spend more time and effort on ensuring their customers are taken care of. This may seem unimportant, but dealing with welcoming, qualified, and thoughtful professionals will be vital during a claims process.
As a business owner, you’re faced with a variety of challenges on a daily basis. Worrying about what would happen to your business if a disaster were to strike is not something that should occupy your time. With the right set of commercial insurance coverage, you can make sure that you, your clients, and your employees are protected if any unexpected event were to occur. From general liability coverage to workers’ compensation insurance, business insurance can provide your business with a financial safety net, while also giving you peace of mind.