As a photographer, your job often depends on your ability to capture your clients’ most treasured memories and other events that may never occur again. Whether you're photographing Joey's 3rd birthday party or a gorgeous Hawaiian sunset, chances are this is a unique moment in someone’s life and they expect you to be fully focused on commemorating it! At Next Insurance, we make sure we are arming our photographers with the edge they need to work distraction-free. Purchasing commercial business insurance can help ease your mind and allow you to get down to business, but it can also get complicated. Below is a list of factors to consider when shopping for photography or videography insurance:
1. General Liability
We believe General Liability insurance to be the most essential part of a photographer’s insurance policy. Our philosophy is rooted in the belief that GL insurance is a component of being a responsible business owner. GL policies provide coverage for potentially catastrophic scenarios like bodily injury and property damage. Claims such as these can easily run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in size and they are also nearly impossible for photographers to anticipate or prevent. If nothing else, GL insurance enables your business to continue thriving despite any disastrous and unpredictable hiccups along the way. Furthermore, venues or clients you are working with may ask for Proof of Insurance before they hire you - and the GL coverage is usually the main component they look for.
With even the most basic forms of GL insurance policies, there are choices to make! Often GL packages come with different limits of coverage and varying deductibles. We offer a General Liability package for our photographers that provides a $1M limit of coverage per occurrence (or for each claim), and a $2M aggregate limit of coverage (or the maximum amount that can be paid out during the lifetime of the policy). In listening to our customers’ experiences, it became clear to us that photographers often are required to have at least a $1M limit of coverage to work at certain venues. With that information, we made the decision to provide our customers with an affordable GL package with a suitable limit of coverage. Regardless of the company you choose to purchase insurance with, make sure you don’t find yourself needing to decline jobs because your limit of coverage is too low!
2. Equipment coverage (Inland Marine)
Inland Marine coverage is another type of insurance that photographers can greatly benefit from. Although “Inland Marine” coverage may sound like it’s for underwater equipment on land, it is actually the official insurance term for gear coverage. If you own expensive equipment, you want to make sure you keep it protected! At Next Insurance, we know the price to cover your gear must be right as well. That is why we advise all the photographers and videographers we speak with to ask questions about tools and equipment coverage when shopping for an insurance policy.
- How will losses be reimbursed? Replacement Cost Coverage will reimburse you or a purchase of a new camera to replace the damaged one; Actual Cash Value coverage will pay for what the camera was worth (may not be much if it was old)
- What types of losses are excluded? What if your laptop is damaged - is there coverage for software / hardware? Are theft and water damage covered (these are common exclusions, but also common causes of damage - therefore things you might want to have coverage for)
- Where does coverage apply? Some policies will only cover your equipment in your home and/or studio, others will stop coverage if you travel out of state, and many won’t cover losses that happen outside the US. The equipment coverage we provide to you is worldwide.
We believe that the answers to these questions should be exposed before you purchase your policy, which is why our agents always have direct and honest conversations with our customers about what our policies offer. It’s also for this reason that we post a sample policy online (look for it on the Quotes page), along with a “plain-English” guide to the coverage - we don’t know of any other providers who do this!
3. Professional Liability
You may have heard the terms Professional Liability, Errors and Omissions, or E&O, in your search for photographer’s insurance. Professional Liability (PL) offers you protection against any potential lawsuits that arise from your customers being dissatisfied with the quality of work you’ve produced. For example, you’re the videographer at Janae and Arthur’s wedding. On your way to the venue, an accident on the highway prevents you from reaching the destination on time, causing you to miss the ceremony. Janae and Arthur are very upset that you did not perform the services that they hired you for, and they decide to sue you for damages. In a situation like this, PL coverage would foot the bill for the damages Janae and Arthur are seeking. Next Insurance realizes the value of this coverage, and acknowledges how essential PL coverage is for our photographers. Although our current package does not include PL, we understand this is a need for some of our customers and will be looking to add it to our packages in the future.
4. Convenience and hidden fees
Many of our photographer and videographer clients find themselves needing Proof of Insurance documents and Additional Insured forms - often on a monthly or even weekly basis. We understand - these are documents you need to operate your business! Make sure your provider does not charge fees for these or take a few days to turn them around.
With us, the cost of the policy is what you agree to upfront and pay in monthly installments (another important benefit of working with us!) - there are no additional fees of any kind, it’s that simple. You know exactly what the policy will cost you - before you buy. All the additional documents you need are free - and usually available for you to download off our website - instantly.
So, the next time you’re on the market for a new policy, remember that it’s not as simple as hunting for the lowest premium! Like learning a new photography technique, shopping for insurance takes time. We know there is a lot of information to wade through, and even more questions to ask. If you’re feeling confused or just want to chat about your business and get advice on what to look for, our agents are always willing to have those conversations with you! You can reach us at support@next-insurance or by calling (855) 222-5919 Monday through Friday, 6am-5pm PDT.