- If an assistant, employee or client is accidentally burned by a hot light or bumped in the head or knocked to the floor as equipment is being moved, you could be sued for an amount that could cost you your business and even your home [Workers' Compensation and General Liability] .
- Your work is entirely digital and stored on computers and other storage devices, which makes everything vulnerable to hacking. You may also have clients’ personal and financial information. You need the right kind of business photography insurance to cover you from these attacks, the loss of income, downtime to recover and any legal action from a client who thinks you are responsible for the loss of his or her images because you weren’t probably insured [Data Breach and Business Income Insurance] .
- As a professional photographer, it’s likely you want your business to grow. As it does, however, you become more vulnerable to some of the reasons above and many others. Once you start employing people, you can be held responsible for their actions and behavior on the job. You will probably have more equipment that may be in use at multiple locations.
The obvious answer is that almost all photography equipment requires the expenditure of large sums of money and like anything of value, you need insurance, so it can be replaced if damaged, destroyed or stolen. There are less obvious answers, however, that apply to the amateur or professional photographer, or both.
Even if you have a relatively inexpensive camera equipment – and especially if you own thousands of dollars in camera, lenses and other equipment – your homeowners or renters insurance is unlikely to cover your equipment in cases when you gear is away from home .
For the casual photographer with a less-costly, entry-level camera, homeowner or renter insurance is more likely to cover it if it is damaged or destroyed by fire or is stolen either inside or outside the home. Damage from an accident, however, is often not covered. Even if your homeowner/renters policy covers your camera, the deductible may make the coverage moot. A policy with a $500 deductible (not uncommon) does you little good if your camera’s value is less than $500, or even near that amount. A good solution, however, is to add what is called an all-risk floater to your homeowner/renter policy. You provide the insurance company with a list of specific equipment, including serial numbers, that the all-risk floater will then cover and under virtually all circumstances.
This same reasoning applies – and even more so – if you’re a new semi-professional or professional photographer because you are likely to be working from or in your home until your photography business has grown to the point that you need a studio or commercial space. As a new professional, an all-risk floater is not enough, however; you need a commercial inland marine policy. It will cover any incidences affecting your equipment and typically has no exclusions if the theft, damage, etc. occurred during a professional use.
For every photographer, there is another obvious – and universal – answer that most would rather not admit: We are all human and subject to foolish actions. We forget to lock the doors (and windows) of our homes, offices and cars or leave expensive equipment in plain view for any burglar or thief, and by so doing could actually encourage them to commit a crime.
According to the FBI and National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, 1 in 6 homes was burglarized during 2012, a burglary occurred every 15 seconds and the average loss per burglary in the U.S. was $1,675.
In addition, you may not know that most burglaries are not the work of professional criminals. Research has revealed that the typical burglar is an “amateur,” male of a young age, mid- to late teens and lives within a few miles of their targets. In other words, you may know the person or live near the person who could eventually steal your camera and photo gear.
The best strategy is NEVER to leave your camera equipment where anyone is able see it, looking through the windows of a locked home or car. If you’ve spent a significant amount of money for a camera – $500–$1,000, and much more if you’re a professional – then purchase a lockable cabinet or case or convert a closet to a secure space with a heavy metal door and reinforced frame, both in your home and a commercial office or studio. When the value of your equipment reaches thousands of dollars then an alarm system is a very good additional layer of protection. Such a system could also lower your insurance premium. Some insurance companies may even require an alarm system before they are willing to insure your equipment.
New professional photographers have a long list of other reasons that specialized photo equipment insurance is a must, and these are just a few.
Regardless of the reasons you need camera insurance as a new amateur or professional photographer, you should put your trust in a company that specializes in this type of coverage. It’s not because your current insurance agent/company is incompetent, but because they are very unlikely to have experience with the particular policy you require. Even a comprehensive commercial inland marine policy or liability coverage may not contain the exact language to cover you for all the specific photographic situations and occurrences you may confront and experience.
That’s why PhotographyTalk recommends PackageChoice as your best insurance partner whether you’re new to photography or starting a new photography business. Everyone at PackageChoice understands how much you value your camera and the self-expression it affords you as well as the practical purpose of earning a living with it.
Please contact one of its experts for a free quote, or for even faster service, complete the easy online form by clicking the Apply Now button when you visit www.packagechoice.com.