Picture This: Why Photography Can Be a Risky Business

March 06, 2013

Are you prepared with a business owner insurance policy? Read why having one may be essential.

Every photographer knows you need to have the right equipment for every situation: you wouldn’t use a wide-angle lens for a portrait shot or one with a slow shutter speed for sports photography. It’s just the same for insurance: you need to have the correct policy to cover all the different kinds of mishaps that may affect your small business. A business owner's policy (often referred to as a BOP) is a little like a photographer’s camera bag: it contains all the essential tools you need to do your job properly. The policy offers a combination of property and general liability insurance, as well as some other bells and whistles that could come in very handy for a professional snapper. For example, you discover the hard disk you downloaded all your photos onto has become corrupted, meaning you can no longer access your archive containing the thousands of shots you've taken. You have the sickening realization that your lucrative sideline selling reprints of school plays, concerts and little league baseball games is in tatters unless you can get those pictures back. It’s going to cost money for someone to try and retrieve your lost portfolio, but as no one has made a claim against you for losing their photos a general liability policy would be no good to you.

A business owner's policy, on the other hand, could offer you a lifeline in this situation. It provides Electronic Data coverage, so the costs of hiring a forensic data firm to recover your photos would be paid, up to your policy limit. This limit is usually $10,000 in standard business owners’ policies, but some insurance companies offer upgraded protection to $25,000 in an Electronic Data package. A business owner’s policy also offers protection for the tools of your trade. Let’s say you’re hired to take photos of a couple’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. You leave your camera bag on a table while you move around the room taking photos of the assembled friends and family. Suddenly, there’s a crash that stops the party. You turn around and see to your horror the couple’s seven-year old grandson standing next to your bag, which is now lying on the floor along with the three camera lenses it contained. Two of them, which cost you a couple of thousand dollars each, are cracked. Luckily, a business owners’ policy would cover this damage, so you would be able to claim for the cost of repairing your all-important lenses. As a photographer you’re entrusted with capturing the important times in people’s lives. It’s important to have the right equipment so you can capture the moment perfectly. It’s just as vital you and your clients have the comfort of knowing you have a backstop if anything goes wrong, by having the right insurance.