Commercial Auto Insurance
for Photographers, Videographers & Video Production Companies

The work of many photographers and videographers involves constant travel. Whether you're driving to a wedding venue or driving a student around to find the perfect spot for her senior photos, operating a motor vehicle is often unavoidable.

That's why Commercial Auto Insurance and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policies are important additions to a photographer or videographer's small business insurance plan.

Traffic accidents are common — more than 30,000 accidents happen each day in this country. They also tend to be expensive, which can threaten a small business's bottom line. In the 2011 Injury Factbook New browser window icon., the National Safety Council reported that motor-vehicle accidents cost business owners $20.5 billion per year.

And $4.1 billion dollars of that came from vehicle damage and medical expenses — both of which can be covered by a Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy.

Commercial Auto vs. HNOA

Photography and Video Services: Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance

Every photography and video business is different, and your driving needs dictate whether a Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy fits your business. In some cases, a Personal Auto Insurance policy may be able to do the trick, but you should always consult with your insurance agent before choosing to forgo a Commercial Auto Insurance policy.

Commercial Auto Insurance for Photographers and Videographers

Photographers and videographers who own the vehicles they use for business purposes should consider a Commercial Auto Insurance policy. If the vehicle is in your business's name, then you definitely need this policy. If you use your personal car for business purposes, things become a bit trickier.

Most Personal Auto Insurance policies exclude coverage for business use. This means that if you got into an accident while driving for work, your Personal coverage might deny your claim.

Sometimes photographers and videographers have enough coverage through their Personal Auto policies, but it's unlikely. Take a look at some of the factors that may require you to purchase a Commercial Auto Insurance policy:

  • Regular business use of the car. Most insurers deem "regular business use" to be about 4 or more times in a one-month period. Business driving, generally speaking, is anything that isn't commuting to and from home to go to work.
  • Carrying equipment. If you are driving to a shoot, you are likely transporting expensive photography or video equipment as well.
  • Transporting people. If you regularly drive your clients or other associates, you may need to carry a Commercial Auto Insurance policy.

We can't emphasize enough how important it is to check with your insurance agent before deciding whether Commercial Auto Insurance is right for you. Personal Auto Insurance policies do not always offer enough (or any) protection when it comes to work-related auto accidents.

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance for Photographers and Videographers

If your photography or videography business regularly operates non-owned vehicles, think about adding a Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy to your business protection plan. Many types of vehicles fall under the "hired & non-owned" umbrella, including:

  • Rental cars. If you're flying to shoot a destination wedding or traveling to another city to attend a professional training course, you may need to rent a vehicle to get around. Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance can provide effective protection so you don't need to pay extra insurance fees at the rental agency.
  • Employee vehicles. Do you have an assistant or other employee who regularly uses a personal vehicle for business purposes? If the answer is "yes," then you need a Hired & Non-Owned Insurance policy to protect those individuals who are driving on your business's behalf. Should they get into an accident while performing work duties, your business could be held liable for the damages.
  • Car sharing services. If you live in an area with a car-sharing service, you may take advantage of its convenience from time to time. Most car-sharing services advertise that Auto Insurance is included in the rental rate. However, the limits of those policies (usually $300,000 or less per accident) are not always enough to cover multi-injury accidents — or your own bodily injury. A Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance policy can help make up the difference.
  • Borrowed vehicles. Does your photography or videography business ever borrow vehicles? If so, this coverage allows you to pay for damages if you're found liable for an accident while driving the borrowed car.

Hired & Non-Owed Auto Insurance helps to protect you and your employees when operating vehicles that do not belong to your business. This coverage tends to be inexpensive. You can purchase it on its own, although it can often be bundled with a General Liability Insurance policy.

Auto Insurance Protects

How Commercial Auto and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance Protect Photography and Videography Businesses

For owners of photography or videography businesses, Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance can help absorb the costs of work-related car accidents.

As we mentioned earlier, traffic crashes don't come cheap. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that work-related crashes cost employers around $128,178 per injury.

In the event that you or an employee gets into an auto accident and is found liable, Auto Insurance helps pay for the related expenses, including:

  • Property damage. This typically includes damage to your vehicle and the damage done to other involved vehicles. If you run into something other than a car (e.g., someone's garage door), your coverage can help you pay for repairs for that, too. Some Auto Insurance policies may also include coverage for other types of damage, including theft and vandalism.
  • Medical expenses. This is covered in the "liability insurance" portion of your Auto coverage. If you, your passengers, or other involved parties need medical attention, your coverage can help pay the bills.
  • Legal expenses. This can sometimes be included in the liability portion of your Auto coverage. If you hurt someone in an accident, they have the legal right to file a lawsuit again your business. Your coverage can help you pay for a lawyer, the investigation, and other lawsuit-related expenses, like settlements or judgments.

Remember that Commercial Auto and Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance, like all policies, come with coverage limits. You can only receive benefits up to that amount. If you are interested in boosting those limits, you can do so with Umbrella Liability Insurance.

Photographers and videographers should also note that neither Commercial Auto Insurance nor Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance covers the equipment they may be transporting in their vehicles. You need a special coverage called Inland Marine Insurance for that. To learn more about it, check out the post "What Is Inland Marine Insurance? New browser window icon." on our blog.

Customize Your Business Insurance Plan

Add Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance to your Photography / Videography Insurance Plan Today!

Do you think Commercial Auto or Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance would fit with the other business insurance policies you carry for your photography or videography business? Then fill out an online application today, and receive free quotes in your email inbox.

Grab-n-Go Information

Free
eBook
Don't Shoot in the Dark - A Risk Management Guide for Photographers and Videographers
Browse eBook
Sample certificates
See a sample Certificate of Liability Insurance, the proof of coverage you need for most contracts.
View Sample
Sample Quotes & Cost Estimates
See what insurance really costs: actual quotes by policy & specialty.
Get Estimates
Ask A Question
Submit your questions about small business insurance and get answers from our experts.
Read Answers