Why do photographers need insurance?
As a freelance photographer, you are responsible for every aspect of your business. And those responsibilities of a photographer can quickly become anxieties if you’re facing a claim from a dissatisfied client and you haven’t got photographer liability insurance to fall back on.
Upset or loss caused by your work
The work of a photographer is rewarding but also connected with certain responsibilities - deliver on time, meet high expectations, please everyone involved, and cause no disruption.
Damage to your camera and equipment
Sometimes, an unhappy client might decide to claw back what they've paid you by initiating a chargeback. You'll need help to fight it if it is a substantial amount.
Accusation of overstepping the boundaries
During a one-on-one session, you say something that's taken the wrong way. As a result, you may find yourself facing a legal claim.
Causing an injury
Back up to take a picture or leaving your kit lying about can be the reason behind someone’s injury. If the injured party feels they go hurt because of you, they may demand that you pay their medical bills.
What is photographer liability insurance?
Photographer liability insurance is an umbrella term for several legal liability products, including public liability, professional indemnity, employers’ liability and commercial legal expenses insurance.
Legal liability insurance protects photographers against legal actions arising from their business activities. Depending on your business needs, you may need to purchase one or more of these liability products.
Public liability insurance for photographers
Public liability insurance protects photographers from claims of injuries or property damage.
Often, photographers work with clients or models face-to-face. This could be in a studio or outdoors with other people around. Accidents can happen, and if you or your photography equipment cause the accident, you might be looking at a demand for compensation.
Public liability is an inexpensive protection against these unfortunate accidents.
What does photographer public liability insurance cover?
Public liability insurance covers the legal costs to defend against injury claims and associated compensation demands.
If someone makes a claim against you for causing an accidental injury or property damage or loss, public liability will provide legal defence and pay compensation if you become liable.
- accidental injury or death
- accidental property damage
For example, you face financial demands because:
- Someone took a step too far and fell over your equipment sustaining a serious injury.
- Equally you may have taken a step back and by doing so knocked someone over; their fall could result in a compensation claim against you.
Professional indemnity insurance for photographers
Professional indemnity insurance protects photographers from accusations of professional mistakes, negligence or failing duty of care.
Whether you are a photojournalist, do weddings or do commercial photography, the result is considered art and as such, the expectations of your clients are sky-high.
If you drop one of the many balls you have to juggle daily, you might face a passionate client demanding something from you to remedy your mistake.
What does photographer professional indemnity insurance cover?
Professional indemnity insurance covers the legal costs to defend against accusations of wrongdoing arising from a photographer's work product. It will also pay compensation if due.
- Failing your duty of care
- Making a mistake
- Acting negligently
- Giving the wrong advice or recommendation
For example, you face financial demands from a client because:
- You missed the deadline and perhaps your client's promotional event couldn’t go ahead. They’re now claiming a financial loss.
- You lost the entire photo file from someone’s wedding, or the end result is deemed unacceptable by your client, and they’re refusing to pay.
- The photographs you took cause an offence, and you’re being sued for damages
- The artistic interpretation was misjudged, and you damaged someone’s brand or reputation
What professional indemnity limit do photographers need?
The professional indemnity limit you need depends on your business activities. When choosing a limit, consider how often you work, how many clients you have, and the potential financial impacts if your photography goes wrong.
Switching your professional indemnity insurance
Typically, in the UK, if you cancel a professional indemnity policy, you can no longer claim against it.
Therefore, if you switch your photographer insurance provider, be sure your new policy covers your past work; this is called “retroactive cover”.
Should I keep professional indemnity insurance if I retire from photography?
It’s wise to keep your professional indemnity if you’re taking a break or retiring from professional photography. Claims against professional misconduct can surface months or years after you delivered the work.
Remember: If you cancel your policy, your insurance coverage will end, including coverage for any previous work.
How long you keep your cover in place is up to you. Consider the type of photography work you did and the likelihood that a client might bring a claim against you.
Other insurance photographers buy
As a photographer, the type of additional insurance you require will depend on your business situation. It's important to consider whether you have the financial resources to replace or repair your equipment, if you could manage a legal disagreement, and how you would handle a tax investigation by HM Revenue & Customs.
Photography equipment insurance
Every photographer relies on their photography equipment to do their job. Protecting your electronic business equipment with insurance is a smart way to deal with unexpected replace or repair costs following an accidental damage or theft.
Commercial legal expenses insurance
Most commercial legal expenses insurance will protect photographers against various tax and legal issues you may encounter due to your profession, which are not picked up by professional indemnity or public liability.
At Suited, we combined £100,000 of commercial legal expenses insurance with helplines and other tools to better assist photographers in dealing with these issues. We call this Business Legal Protect, and it’s part of your subscription.
Business Legal Protect provides qualified advice and assistance with:
- Legal and tax matters concerning your business
- Criminal prosecution
- Negative PR
- Unpaid invoices (over £200)
- HMRC investigates your tax affairs
- You need legal help chasing a significant unpaid invoice
- You need help with a negative PR situation that’s damaging your business
Shopping for photographer liability insurance
Whether or not you decide to use Suited photographer insurance to protect your business, it’s worth keeping the following in mind:
Cheap photographer insurance
When selecting your photographer insurance, do not only fixate on the cost. It is vital to verify the provider's accessibility. Suited ensures prompt responses to inquiries and provides various means to get in touch with us.
The reputation of the insurer is important
Insurance needs to be there when you need it most. The payout reputation of an insurer is essential. Suited uses financially sound insurers with an A+ rating.
Many providers charge fees to amend or cancel
Low initial prices often hide additional charges to pay monthly, amend or cancel your policy. At Suited, we charge no extra fees, and you can cancel anytime with no more to pay.
Some policy wordings are restrictive or have a high excess
Some providers will offer attractive prices, but it is at the expense of cover given. Suited professional indemnity and public liability have £0 excess.