Let’s face it, photography is not a cheap venture to get into. Regardless of whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, buying and keeping your gear up-to-date can be very expensive. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to keep your equipment safe from theft and damage. Having your gear stolen or broken somehow can be catastrophic, leaving you with no way to recover the costs or replace your gear. This is why you need to protect yourself (and your business) with photographer insurance.
No one ever really talks about it, but acquiring photographer insurance is seriously one of the most important things you can do for yourself. There are a wide variety of providers and coverage options to choose from, so it can be tough to figure out what is the best photography insurance plan for you. To help alleviate some of the stress, we’ve assembled this compendium of photographer insurance providers and coverage options.
Where To Begin
The first thing to do is figure out what’s available in your area. Check with your local home/auto/life insurance provider and setup a meeting with them to find out if they have any options available. You’ll want as much information as possible on your liability coverage, deductibles, legal coverage, premiums, etc. From there, I’d recommend reaching out to some peers and colleagues in your area to see who they are using and what they recommend. Most in our industry won’t mind giving you advice and they’ll likely be happy to make a referral for you.
Types Of Coverage For Photography Insurance
We already know we need to get our equipment covered, but the rest is tricky. The kind of coverage you’re going to want is determined by your specific photography services. If you’re working 100% in a studio, you’ll have to get very different coverage than if you’re an event photographer working on different locations all the time.
If you have a studio, you’re going to need coverage that protects you from fires, floods, and other disasters before you can even move in. Even if you’re operating out of your home, you’ll still need insurance for your clients belongings, property, and person! Home/Renter insurance only covers you and your home & personal belongings. You’ll have to look into General Liability Insurance to protect you from any accidents that may happen.
Do you travel to different states—or even internationally—for your work? You may need additional coverage for that, and there will usually be additional fees, so be sure to ask your insurance provider about this also.
Types of Insurance for Photographers
- This will cover gear that is lost or damaged due to a variety of causes. At a bare minimum, you’ll want to cover your camera, lenses, accessories, and computer. It’s good to have a full inventory of all your gear for your insurance provider.
General Liability Insurance
- This is critical for any photographers or videographers who work on location as well as those with specializations like weddings and sporting events. It will help protect against any legal actions arising from injuries, accidents, and other claims. A lot of locations won’t even allow you to be a vendor or work on their properties if you don’t have any photographer liability coverage.
Commercial Automobile Insurance
- This will cover the photographer for any auto accidents and damages in case your personal insurance doesn’t cover your vehicle for business/commercial use. It may also be a requirement in your area, so be sure to check the local laws.
- We don’t often think about this one as photographers as we don’t consider the chances of using it to be all that likely. However, if this is your sole source of income, disability insurance insures the photographer’s earned income against the risk of disability (sickness & injury) that will prevent them from working.
Property Insurance (Home & Renter)
- If you own or rent a studio, you’ll need insurance to protect against any damage to the building and anything inside it that are critical to your business. Some policies won’t include the assets inside of your home/business, so you’ll want to be sure to ask and read your policy in full!
- This one is for your own peace of mind and allows your family/friends to be covered in the extreme event of your passing. If you have business partners—or work solo and have unfinished work for clients—this will help cover any debts and expenses related to closing up or transferring your business.
How Much Do You Want To Spend
Insurance options are numerous and deciding which plans to go with all comes down to your budget. If you are new and don’t have much income, a basic plan is better than nothing. If you have some flexibility with your budget, it may be best to work with your photography insurance provider to see what additional plans you can add. I always operate on the “It’s better to have and not need than need and not have” mentality. Having more is always good; just remember that the additional plans and coverage will come with pricier deductibles and premiums.
You’ll need to sit down and figure out what you can afford each month/year and budget in what you can. As you grow, you can always add and increase your coverage. Also, if you’re a member of any professional Photo/Video associations like the ASMP, PPA, or APA, they may offer discounts on various plans and packages.
What You Need To Make A Claim
I hope that you never have to file a claim, but you should always be prepared to make one. Start by making a complete list of all your equipment, including the purchase price for everything, when you bought it, serial numbers, as well as receipts if possible. It’s also a great idea to have photographs of all your gear and accessories.
This list, which you should always keep updated and stored in multiple locations (like the cloud), will be great to have if you are ever questioned or have to make a claim because of theft.
Where to Buy Your Photographer’s Insurance
This can be the trickiest part of your insurance journey. Even with all the information gathered above, it can still be hard to find the right policy for you in your area. To help, we’ve gathered a list of some of the most popular and highest referred options for protecting your photography gear and business.
- PPA – Photocare – Professional Photographers of America is a non-profit organization that also provides insurance to its members, which is included in its membership dues. You can get up to $15,000 of coverage at two tiers: PhotoCare Plus and PPA General Liability.
- Hill & Usher – Hill & Usher provide photography insurance options based on your photographic niche. A very popular option is the company’s “Package Choice,” which covers professional liability, photography gear, computers, and portable electronics.
- TCP – TCP offers a Photographer General Liability & Equipment policy that starts at $500 a year and can go on a quarterly-installment plan to help ease the financial burden
- Insureon – Insureon is boasted as the leader for photography insurance. They have an incredible offering of policies and options, including general liability, business ownership, umbrella insurance, and much more.
- Hiscox – Hiscox offers up to $10,000 of equipment coverage with additional options available for “portable” items and even electronic data loss.
- Insurancewide – This company offers coverage for theft and accidental damage, as well as liability coverage.
- Front Row Insurance – Front Row is a Canadian-based insurance firm that will negotiate on your behalf to get the best coverage for your business at the lowest premium possible.
- E & I Insurance – This UK-based company deals with a variety of insurance types and offers a few packages for camera equipment ranging from amateur to pro.
- Imaging Insurance – Another UK-based insurance provider, Imaging Insurance has no limits on the maximum value for single items in your equipment list. They also provide worldwide coverage and packages that protect your gear left in unattended vehicles.
Additional Photographer Insurance Providers
If none of the above listed companies can help you out in your area, then we’ve got a few extras listed below that will also work:
Photography, while an incredibly artistic field, is still a business, and we often forget that we need to treat it as such. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, insuring your gear is not only smart, but also necessary in this day & age. The last thing anyone needs is to deal with a loss or a lawsuit, and I hope that none of you ever have to experience it. But, just in case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Insurance really is a part of being a professional photographer.
Do you use any other plans or providers for Photographer Insurance that you recommend? Do you have any experience with the companies we’ve listed?
Let us know in the comments below so we can keep this document updated.