Chapter 4: Protecting Your Photography / Videography Business
Part 1: Freelance Photographers and Videographers: How to Find Small Business Insurance
How do freelance photographers and videographers find small business insurance? You've probably heard that it's difficult for self-employed professionals to find adequate coverage. It may be true that you have more limited options than a bigger business, but this is less of a concern if you know where to look.
Really, there are only two ways to start the insurance hunt:
- Tracking down insurance by yourself.
- Finding insurance with the help of an agency.
Read on to learn more about each method so you can decide which is best for your freelance business.
How to Find Small Business Insurance by Yourself
Freelance photographers and videographers who want to find business insurance by themselves should prepare to invest a good chunk of time. This method might appeal to you if you've ever gone through the process of finding a personal insurance policy for yourself (i.e., without working with an agent).
Wouldn't it be great if you could purchase your business insurance through your personal insurance provider? Unfortunately, you usually can't, since most providers specialize in one kind of insurance or another.
Therefore, your first step will be finding the right provider. To save yourself a lot of heartache, your goal should be to find a provider that…
- Is familiar with insuring freelancers.
- Is knowledgeable about your field and its insurance needs.
- Has a stellar reputation.
How do you go about doing that? Try these strategies:
- Take the time to research. Start by asking colleagues if they've had good experiences with their insurance providers. But don't stop there. There are tools online to help you vet insurance providers before you call them for a quote. For example, A.M. Best provides a research tool to help you get a sense of insurance providers.
- Contact and compare. After you've researched and narrowed down your list of possible insurance providers, you'll need to get on the phone. It's important for freelancers to realize that every insurance provider sells different policies — there's no guarantee that one provider will sell the policies (or the riders) that you need. Don't forget to ask questions that will test the provider's knowledge of freelancers in your field. It's important that you choose a company that has experience insuring professionals like you.
- Ask for quotes. By now you've probably narrowed you list further. It's time to collect insurance quotes. Don't be surprised if your quotes vary from provider to provider — this is typical. You'll want to price as many plans as possible to get a good sense of what protection you can get at what price. If you don't do your homework here, you may end up paying more for insurance that you have to.
- Be wary of super-low rates. As tempting as it can be to save money, be cautious of quotes that are way lower than the rates you've explored elsewhere. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are unprofessional companies out there posing and reputable insurance providers. But these companies aren't accredited and the agents do not hold the level of education and experience necessary to insure your business.
If this sounds like a time-consuming process, that's because it usually is. Insurance jargon and legalese can take a while to decipher. But it's important to be thorough — you can't afford not to be.
Don't have hours and hours to spare? Try teaming up with a licensed insurance agent.
How to Find Small Business Insurance with a Licensed Agent
If the thought of finding business insurance on your own makes you want to run for the hills, don't worry. You can always partner up with a licensed independent insurance agent — like those at insureon — who can do most of the heavy lifting for you.
In terms of your insurance goals, our agents…
- Specialize in insuring small and micro businesses, including those run by freelancers.
- Specialize in insuring niche-industry professionals, like photographers and videographers.
- Work with A-rated insurance providers to find you coverage
Working with an insurance agent has many perks, including…
- Money savings. There are two kinds of insurance agents: captive and independent. Captive agents are the ones you work with when you find insurance on your own — they work for one insurance company and only sell policies from that company. Independent agents sell the policies of several providers, which gives them an edge. When you work with an agency like insureon, you are paired with an independent agent. Since independent agents have so many providers and policies at their fingertips, it's easier for them to find you competitive rates. They also have more of an incentive to find you deals — if you don't like their services, you can simply go somewhere else and they won't get paid. Independent insurance agents are paid by providers (not by you) when they sell policies.
- Time savings. Insurance agencies wheel and deal in finding their clients competitive rates. In other words, they have connections. They can quickly review dozens of policies from different providers until they find the best fit for you. It would take you ages to do that on your own. Insureon even gives you the option of filling out an online application, so you can have the quotes sent to your inbox and review them at your convenience.
- More options. Insurance providers can usually hike their rates once a year without warning. They can even discontinue policies. When this happens and you're dealing with a captive agent, you don't have many choices. You can pay the higher rate, take another policy the provider offers, or drop that provider and start the process of finding insurance all over again. When you work with an independent insurance agent, they can quickly help you find a new policy that meets your needs, even if it comes from a different provider.
- Security. Independent agents act as your legal representative to insurance providers. Your agent is working on your behalf. That means if the agent makes a mistake that costs you money, you have legal options. You could sue, for example. But if you're representing yourself, there's no safety net. If you make a mistake, like purchasing the wrong policy, you have to suffer the consequences alone.
- Availability. Insureon provides clients with a human connection. You can speak to an insureon agent any time during regular business hours. You won't have to talk to some robot on an automated system. You'll be able to ask questions to a real human being. Insurance policies are difficult to interpret, but your insurance agent is trained to understand the jargon and explain what it means.
No matter which route you take, it's important that you understand your business's needs as best you can before you start looking for insurance. Have facts and statistics at the ready and complete a risk assessment before you reach out to an agent.
Next: Part 2: Keeping Insurance Rates Low: Risk Management for Freelance Photographers and Videographers