Happy Talk Shop Thursday! Let's get down to business.
Today's topic might seem a little boring, but I promise you, it is so important, especially if you are in business! (Honestly, even if you are a hobbyist who takes pictures of people other than yourself, than this is a topic you can't ignore!)
Well, what is it? Insurance.
A lot of times when people decide to start a photography business, they just jump right in without covering all of their bases. It can seem super easy to get started. (Gear? Check. Talent? Check. Clients? Check. Time to start making money!) Insurance is something that can totally fall through the cracks. It's boring, it costs money and it's not something you can pick up at Best Buy or on Adorama. It wasn't until I started talking to fellow photographers about starting up a business, that I learned just how important it is to be properly insured.
So, what do you need?
Well, the first thing you might want to think about is Equipment insurance. You've invested a lot of money into your gear and you want to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong and your warranty is long gone. A lot of insurance agencies offer equipment insurance to cover you in case of fire, theft or breakage. This is a good idea for anyone, not just those in business!
But, if you are in business, you definitely need General or Business Liability insurance. If you are at a shoot and one of your clients gets injured or accidentally destroys some property, you, my friend, can be held responsible for damages. This insurance can protect you against claims for bodily injury or medical bills. Also, if you plan to do weddings or event photography, chances are the venue will require and request proof that you are insured.
You'll have to check with your specific agency and your plan, but Professional Liability insurance can also protect you in cases of negligence or errors and omissions. (For example, you just shot a wedding and suddenly your memory card is broken. Or your bride plans to sue when she realizes you didn't get a picture of the kiss. It happens.) While most photographers include clauses about these sorts of things in their contracts, it's a good idea to cover all your bases.
There are other types of insurance you might want to consider depending on your business needs (Automobile, Fire, Property Coverage) but the above mentioned types are definitely must-haves for the average professional photographer.
Still not convinced you need insurance? I've got a scenario for you. Grab your popcorn.
You just started your photography business. Up until now, you've shot mostly close friends and family... for free. But as word spreads, strangers are starting to reach out to you! They want to give you money! It's an exciting time! Hooray for you! You book a session with your old elementary school best friend's neighbor's distant cousin's ex-girlfriend. You couldn't be more thrilled. You've decided to meet up a gorgeous local park in a few days. When the day arrives, you're nervous but you know you got this. The shoot is off to a great start. You're clicking away, giving direction, the light is perfect... when suddenly, your client trips over a rock and lands face first in the dirt. You help her up, only to realize that her front teeth have been knocked out. Panicked, she shrieks, "This is all your fault! What am I going to do?! I don't have dental insurance!"
(Yikes. I broke into a sweat just typing that out.)
So, what do you do?
If you're insured, well, this sucks, but don't worry. You're covered. This is the reason you have insurance.
If you're not insured, well, let's hope you have some extra cash hanging around. If not, maybe you could sell your gear?
Now that you're thoroughly terrified, we suggest shopping around. You can start by calling whoever your home or auto insurance is with and getting a quote. PPA offers comprehensive plans and so does Hill & Usher. (The Golden Girls insurer of choice!)
Of course, insurance is one of those things you hope you never have to use, but in case something ever does go wrong, you'll definitely be thankful you have it. Better safe than sorry, right?
If you have a business question or topic you would like to see discussed, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org!