As the business owner of a photography or videography business, you have a lot at stake. Every job is an opportunity to make your client's day and gain new business in the process. As a photographer or videographer, you have a keen eye for detail and composition — your job requires it — so it makes sense that you would compose your business insurance plan with as much scrutiny as you look at your subject inside the frame.
But there's a lot of misinformation floating around. Not every insurance provider understands the needs of a photography or videography business. And not every insurance provider is educated in the unique risks of startups, boutique studios, and freelancers.
Insureon is staffed with agents who are experts in both small-business insurance and the fields of photography and video editing. Read on to learn about some of the most common business protection myths and what you can do to sidestep the insurance mistakes that come with them.
Myth #1: Workers' Compensation Insurance isn't necessary for temporary employees, like that photography assistant during wedding season.
Temporary employees — or even volunteers or interns — can be just as easily hurt on the job as a regular full-time or part-time employee. And just because they are transient to your business doesn't mean they can't sue in the event — or perceived event — of a work-related illness or injury.
In addition, Workers' Compensation Insurance is regulated through state laws. You may live in a state that requires you to provide coverage for all employees, regardless of status.
Myth #2: You're a freelance photographer or video editor, so you don't need a business insurance plan.
If you are a business of one and do contract work for lots of different companies, you may not think a business insurance plan is necessary. You may even believe that you are covered under the plans of the companies you work with. This may or may not be true — you'll have to check your contracts. Many companies will include a provision in their contracts that requires you to carry your own policies — and they might even tell you how much coverage they require — in order to lower their risk.
In addition, as a freelance photographer or videographer, you own lots of equipment and are still prone to the same mistakes as other kinds of business owners. At the very least, Property Insurance, General Liability Insurance (or a BOP ), and Errors & Omissions Insurance are all good policies to look into.
Remember, your insurer won't expect you to pay the same monthly premiums as larger businesses, because you won't have the same types or the same amounts of risk. But growing businesses are usually unable to weather the financial storm of litigation — you don't want one lawsuit to snuff your business out when a small investment into a business insurance plan could otherwise protect it.
Myth #3: You drive your personal car for work, so you don't need Commercial Auto Insurance.
It's easy and logical for business owners to believe that they don't need Commercial Auto Insurance if they use their personal car for work-related driving. But many personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage for business use. This means that if you get into an accident while driving to a shoot or running to your local supply shop, your personal insurance provider might give you a hard time.
Your insurance needs depend on how you use your car. If you use it frequently for work-related travel, then you likely require Commercial Auto Insurance. An insureon agent can help you decide which kind of coverage your vehicle needs.
Myth #4: Only wealthy businesses require an Umbrella Insurance policy.
An Umbrella Insurance policy is simply a way to boost the coverage of your business insurance plan. Costly accidents and lawsuits are not reserved for larger businesses — anyone can suffer a loss that exceeds their existing policies.
In fact, as a freelancer or startup business owner, your photography or videography studio may only require basic plans. So in the unlikely event that, say, a fire starts in your studio and ruins most of your equipment and furnishings, it's more likely that you'll exceed your Property Insurance coverage. And when that happens, you'll be legally responsible for making up the difference — if your business can't do it, then your personal assets will have to.
You may be surprised to learn that Umbrella Insurance is actually very affordable, even for smaller businesses. For just a few hundred dollars each year, you can add several thousands of dollars' worth of coverage to your business insurance plan.
Myth #5: If you close your business, that lawsuit will go away.
Many business owners think that if they do incur a lawsuit, they can simply close up shop and the lawsuit and related expenses will go away. This simply isn't true. The courts don't care if your photography or videography studio is currently operational or not. If your judgment or settlement isn't paid, they will find you. And if your business doesn't have the funds to pay for the lawsuit, then you — the business owner — will be held personally accountable for the debt.
More Business Insurance Tips for Photographers and Videographers
For more tips and tricks on how to protect your photography or videography business, check out "3 Ways to Protect Your Photography or Videography Business" and "4 Things To Know before Buying Insurance." And when you're ready to buy or revise your business insurance plan, contact an insureon agent who is an expert in the risks and needs of photographers and videographers, whether you are a freelancer or own a studio.