A photographer’s worst nightmare

June 15, 2012

All photographers should consider two types of liability insurance to protect their businesses.

Picture this. The wedding is over, and you’ve worked all night. It was a big affair, and your clients (the lovely bride and dashing groom) had the time of their lives with their relatives in from all over the country. You go back to studio to download the images and then . . . nothing. You check your computer, and nothing is downloaded. You check the camera – it was working fine at the reception – but the SIM card is cracked, and the pictures are gone. You don’t have a back-up. Now what?

Luckily, you’ve got small business insurance. Never mind all the attempts you make to recover the pictures and pleading you make with your clients – nothing will please them other than making it right. But even if you can’t, and even if it’s not your fault, help is available.

All photographers should consider two types of photographer’s insurance to protect themselves against this type of situation. Purchasing Business Owner’s Insurance (also known as a BOP) can help protect you against financial losses when electronic data (such as digital photos) are lost. If your equipment is damaged and that damage results in data loss, you can recoup the money you spend trying to restore that data, subject to your deductible. Most business owner’s Insurance comes with a base limit of $10,000 for this type of loss, and higher limits are sometimes available. As an added benefit, business owner’s Insurance policies also include general liability coverage to protect you in the event you are responsible for an injury to a third party or damage to some one else’s property.

By purchasing professional liability insurance, you can also protect yourself from claims of negligence made by a third party, in this case, the bride and groom. Suppose your clients want to “recreate the day” by reassembling the bridal party and taking new photographs. They allege that you are responsible for the lost pictures because you did not properly back- up the photos and because of this, it’s your fault they were lost. But as you remember, many of their relatives were from out of town, and your client may demand that you pay for their travel expenses. In this case, a professional liability policy will protect your business and pay those extra travel costs on your behalf if such damages are alleged due to your negligence. Further, if your clients went on to sue you based on a covered claim, your professional liability policy would pay for an attorney to defend you, even if the lawsuit is groundless or frivolous.

As always, it is important to check with your insurance professional about your coverage to make sure your business is protected. This way you, and your clients, will be able to sleep easier at night.