Guide to photographers insurance

Guide to photographers insurance - Camera, Apple iMac, laptop and printed shots on a photographers desk.

While most professional photographers appreciate the need to insure expensive cameras, lenses and other equipment, the truth is that you also need to consider a number of risks besides simply dropping a lens or having a camera stolen.

Even a minor slip or trip by a visitor to your studio could lead to a compensation claim for many thousands of pounds; and a flood or fire that caused your premises to close for any length of time could be even more financially damaging. That's why we have created this short guide, outlining just some of the financial risks faced by photographers, as well as the important role played by various insurance covers.

Public liability insurance

Protecting your business against claims for slips, trips, falls and more.

Why is public liability insurance important?

When you are working out on location or at a client's premises, if someone is injured, or their property is damaged, you could be held responsible. These unexpected circumstances can be caused in all sorts of ways: from someone tripping over a tripod or slipping on a wet floor, to dropping a valuable item your client has asked you to photograph.

Yet however clients sustain injuries or damage while you are working, it is possible for compensation claims to be made against you.

Where you own or rent your own studio, the risks are just as significant; compensation claims for everything from tripping on staircases to falling over cables in poor light are now common. Take into account the wealth of lighting units, tripods and props to be found in most photographers' studios, and it's all too easy to see why slips and trips can and do occur.

These supposedly small claims can be expensive too, with even slight bruising leading to 'soft tissue injury' claims. More serious injuries, such as broken bones, can lead to claims for many thousands of pounds, plus significant legal fees.

What does it cover?

Public liability insurance covers your legal costs in defending a claim, and any compensation or costs that may subsequently be awarded, following:

  • Injury you cause to a third party during your business activities
  • Damage you cause to third party property during your business activities
  • Personal injury or damage to property arising from any product you have supplied

Examples of claims

  • A client trips over a tripod during a shoot and breaks their wrist. They take legal action against you to seek compensation.
  • You accidentally knock a client's smartphone on the floor while on location and the phone breaks as a result. They take legal action against you for the cost of replacing the phone.

Professional indemnity insurance

Protecting your business against claims for negligent instruction and advice.

Why is professional indemnity insurance important?

However experienced you may be as a photographer, the fact is that not every shoot will go well, and, on rare occasions, bad luck or equipment failure will lead to the need for a re-shoot. Naturally, that's fine if you can simply ask the subject to come back to your studio the next day. But what happens when you have been commissioned to photograph a one-off event such as a wedding and things go wrong? If the shots are unusable, or are perhaps deleted by accident from a memory card, you can easily find yourself being sued for substantial damages.

Whatever the reasons behind a claim of this kind, they can be extremely expensive to defend, making professional indemnity insurance an essential cover for professional photographers.

Just as importantly, professional indemnity insurance also covers you against civil liability claims such as alleged slander, libel or even breach of confidentiality and/or copyright.

What does it cover?

Professional indemnity insurance covers your legal costs in defending a claim, and any compensation or costs that may subsequently be awarded, following:

  • Professional negligence, such as giving incorrect instruction or poor advice to a client
  • Unintentional breach of confidentiality and/or copyright
  • Defamation and libel
  • Loss of documents or data
  • Loss of money or goods (for which you are responsible)

Examples of claims

  • You are hired to photograph a wedding. The day goes to plan, but your SD card corrupts and you lose all the photos. They hold you responsible for having no wedding photographs and take legal action against you to seek compensation.
  • You are hired to photograph a corporate event. The photos are out of focus and you fail to capture specific items that your client requested. They hold you responsible for not performing your duties correctly and take legal action against you to recover their outlay.

Employer's liability insurance

Protecting your business against injury and illness claims by employees.

Why is employer's liability insurance important?

If you always work alone, and are effectively the only employee of your business, you won't need employer's liability insurance. However, as soon as you employ just one person - even if they are working for you as an assistant to gain experience - the law demands that you have employer's liability insurance in place.

This ensures that everyone you employ is covered in the event that they are injured or become ill in the course of their work; protecting you against claims for everything from illness right through to injuries – such as an assistant carrying your equipment or perhaps simply moving furniture at your request.

It's worth knowing that employer's liability insurance is underwritten on what's known as a 'claims occurring' basis. This means that your policy provides cover for claims brought by an employee for injuries and/or illness which occurred during that period of insurance, even if the policy is no longer in force (i.e in the future).

What does it cover?

Employer's liability insurance covers your legal costs in defending a claim, and any compensation or costs that may subsequently be awarded, following:

  • Allegations of injury suffered by your staff arising from their employment with you
  • Allegations of illness suffered by your staff arising from their employment with you

Examples of claims

  • An employee trips over a wire connected to lighting and breaks their wrist. They are unable to work for several weeks as a result of the injury. They take legal action against you to seek compensation.
  • An employee alleges that they suffer from permanent back pain as a result of moving props around during shoots. They take legal action against you to seek compensation.

Buildings and contents insurance

Protecting your studio against fires, floods and other disasters.

Why is buildings and contents insurance important?

Buildings and contents insurance

In most cases, where you simply rent a studio space, the owner's Buildings Insurance will cover the building itself (although you should check your tenancy agreement to make sure). However, Contents Insurance is a must-have for photographers, as even a small studio is likely to contain thousands of pounds worth of lighting and equipment, which, added to the cost of your cameras, lenses, computers and printers would prove ruinously expensive to replace in the event of a fire, flood or burglary.

At Markel, our contents insurance for professional photographers can be provided where your equipment is kept in the confines of your office or, for extra peace of mind, if you take it with you anywhere in the world. Either way, you will be covered against a multitude of risks, including theft and accidental damage, ensuring that you are financially protected.

What does it cover?

Buildings and contents insurance covers your premises against accidental damage caused by:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Explosion
  • Storm

Examples of claims

  • A river breaks its banks and floods your studio, causing irreparable damage to your equipment.
  • A fire causes structural damage to your studio and the building has to be rebuilt.

Business interruption insurance

Protecting your business' income against unexpected events.

Why is business interruption insurance important?

In the event of a fire or flood at your business premises, while a good contents insurance policy will cover the cost of replacing or repairing damaged items, you could still lose a lot of money while your premises were being made fit for use again. That's because it can often take months before severely flooded premises have dried out enough for repairs to even begin, while fire damage can sometimes mean that a building has to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch.

It's these scenarios where business interruption insurance can provide a lifeline. It can cover income losses you might suffer while you were unable to use your studio, or alternatively, it would pay for temporary premises to help you keep working while your own studio was being made fit for use again.

What does it cover?

Business interruption insurance covers:

  • Loss of income (or increased costs of working) if you are unable to work from your usual business premises.

Example of a claim

  • A river bursts its banks and floods your premises. You are unable to hold shoots there while it is being repaired. Business interruption insurance can pay for the loss of income or, alternatively, the increased costs you incur in hiring another premises..

Why insure with Markel?

We insure hundreds of photographers, including those specialising in weddings, wildlife, events, fashion, architecture and more.

We offer a wide range of cover from as little as £6 a month, with the option to pay over 10 interest free instalments.

Get an online quote for photographers insurance now!

Business insurance from £5 a month