The Business of Photography Series: Business Insurance

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The Business of Photography Series: Business Insurance

January 28, 2015

The Business of Photography Series: Business Insurance Maryland Photography

Today we’ll be covering a topic that many people may not think necessary. However, I’d have to disagree!

Many business owners feel that purchasing insurance is just another added expense in their already expensive monthly costs. You may also start to wonder if your business is established enough to even bother with purchasing insurance coverage. But I personally believe you SHOULD purchase an insurance policy, regardless.

Shopping around to get price quotes from insurance companies may help to ease your mind a bit. Oftentimes, the policies aren’t as expensive as you may think and they’ll provide you with the coverage you need to protect your business in case anything were to happen. If you don’t know where to start I hope to be able to offer some tips that may point you in the right direction. Please understand that I’m not in insurance sales and I don’t know about all of the different types of policies that are available. But I can provide you with some information that I picked up while I was searching for my own coverage.

Equipment Coverage

I am an active member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and with membership you’re given the option to accept their photography equipment coverage. A PPA membership is full of benefits and if you’re not a member, it may be something you’ll want to consider. In addition to equipment coverage they also provide you with medical & dental coverage policies and indemnification trust! (Seriously valuable stuff!!)

As far as the equipment coverage goes, they will provide replacement of your equipment in case of theft, fire, damage, and computer hardware breakage valued at today’s prices up to $15,000. You are also given the option to purchase an additional policy to give you more coverage, up to $100,000. Check out PPA’s website for more information on their equipment policies.

Liability 

Liability insurance is often REQUIRED for wedding photographers, for obvious reasons. Some venues will ask their bride’s vendors to provide proof of insurance before being allowed to work on the property. Some venues will even have a minimum amount of coverage they will accept. Every policy is different, and every venue is different. But if you’re shooting wedding photography I would highly suggest you checking with your bride to see if their venue requires this, and then make the steps to provide proof of insurance to the venue when it’s requested.

If you’re NOT offering wedding photography, having liability insurance is still extremely important. Especially if you’re filing your business taxes as a sole prop. This is because IF someone were to hurt themselves, or trip/fall during a portrait session on your property (and, if my understanding is correct, while working with you on-location) and you don’t have liability coverage – this could be the end to your business. AND if you’re filing your taxes as a sole proprietorship then you are leaving yourself open for a client to sue you with the chance to go after your personal assets. If you’re in business and clients are hiring you for photography coverage you may want to weight your options and consider filing for your LLC – at the very least – so your assets will be protected.

There are many different insurance companies that provide liability insurance to small businesses. Just like car insurance, all you have to do is start to contact companies and compare rates/coverage. Then, choose the policy that is best for your business and needs. Personally, I chose to purchase my liability coverage through PPA because they are an organization that deals solely with creative professionals. And the price was right for me. However, they’re not the only company that offers photographers liability coverage – Hill and Usher also works closely with professional photographers and have policy packages for you to consider.

Litigation 

Hopefully you will NEVER find yourself in a situation where you and a client are dealing with matters in court. However, businesses are sued by individuals for a variety of reasons – all the time. Oftentimes your insurance policy will offer some percentage of coverage in case your business assets (and sometimes your personal assets) are at risk and the results exceed the ability of the business owner to pay.

Your insurance provider should be able to provide you with more information in regards to what they will cover if something like this were to happen.

When I first started my business five years ago I was running my main office out of a spare bedroom in my house. No clients ever came to my home, I went to them. I was considered an on-location photographer and never considered the thought of having to have a good insurance policy. A couple years after, when I started to book newborns, clients were coming to my home for studio portrait sessions. Knowing that clients were coming here got me seriously looking into protecting them and my business just in case anything were to happen while they were here. Enter today, and I’m now shooting mostly engagements and weddings and I’m so glad I have my insurance policies set up!

If you’re in the process of starting your own business or beginning to toy with the idea of moving in that direction but you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start – I’m here to help!! Amanda Adams Photography is now offering one-on-one mentoring sessions for other photographers. I currently have a few limited spots open on my calendar this year and I would love to have the chance to help you get started. For more information about my mentoring services, click here. And of course, I’m an open book. If you have any questions please comment below or shoot me an email!

DC MARYLAND VIRGINIA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, (410) 231-8692