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Liability and equipment coverages your photography business needs this summer

July 17, 2014

Photographers should keep small business insurance top of mind as they create memories this summer through their pictures.

Everyone loves the beginning of summer – especially entrepreneurs and small business owners experiencing increased sales as warmer temperatures motivate people to do things they put off during colder months.  Photographers in particular like summer because the season brings demand for wedding photography, outdoor family portraits, graduation headshots and other seasonal shoots.  As you’re busy scheduling these or other types of work, traveling to location shoots and having clients into your studio this summer, don’t forget to take the time to review your small business insurance needs.

Some owners of photography businesses haven’t considered the need for insurance because they believe being a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation protects them.  And while this may be true to an extent, business insurance can better protect a small business owner from potential liabilities, possible losses and unforeseen mishaps.

There are also solid financial benefits to having your photography studio insured.  It’s possible that your state’s laws require business transactions to be covered by a certain form of insurance.  Government and corporate clients often require proof of insurance before awarding contracts.  And many venues – from churches to public parks – often need to see proof of insurance coverage before approving your on-site work.

While you should consult with an insurance expert to explain your particular business, and find out how to best protect it, there are four types of insurance nearly all photography businesses may benefit from having:

  1. Professional liability insurance
  2. General liability insurance
  3. Business owners insurance
  4. Commercial property insurance

Professional liability insurance

Also known as errors and omissions coverage or E&O, professional liability protects your business if you’re sued for negligence, whether you made the mistake or not.  Say you shoot several memory cards worth of photos at a client’s medical school graduation party, but lose one in the hub-bub of the event.  If your client sues you for professional oversight, your E&O policy could respond.

General liability insurance

General liability protects your photography business from third party claims alleging that you or one of your staff caused property damage or bodily harm.  For photographers, who work with a lot of equipment that gets set up and broken down for each session, this coverage is important.  If you’re halfway through an extended family reunion shoot and one of the kids or grandmothers trips on your power cord and knocks out a tooth, the family can sue you.

Business owners insurance

This coverage is a variation of general liability, with the addition of business equipment coverage. It’s also known as a business owner’s policy, or BOP, and offers a wide range of benefits that may be just right for your small business.  If you have or need a general liability policy and also have pricey equipment that’s integral to your ability to work, you owe it to yourself to obtain a BOP.

Commercial property insurance

Also known as equipment insurance, commercial property coverage protects your business property against loss or damage.  As a photographer, you’ve got an inventory of necessary tools like cameras, lenses, laptops and storage devices, all of which need to be protected against damage or total loss.  While nearly all business equipment policies provide insurance against risks like fire, consider obtaining a policy that also covers losses due to accidental damage.  Seek a policy that doesn’t make deductions for depreciation, as that’s the only way to be sure you can replace damaged items with new equipment of like ability and quality.

By investigating these four types of photography business insurance, you’ll find out what’s best for your business.  Don’t shoot any more client work until you’re confident your business can weather the legal storms that may come your way.