When you are making the transition from photography as a hobby to photography as a business there are new things to consider. One of those new things is – what insurance does your business need? Insuring your equipment is straightforward to understand, but not all insurance is that simple. One area that prompts a lot of questions is public liability insurance. It’s not particularly intuitive if you are not familiar with it. Read on for more details on public liability insurance for photographers explained.
As outlined in this previous post – public liability insurance protects you and your business against the financial risk of being found liable for negligence. Negligence is causing reasonably foreseeable harm, including injury, death, negligent advice, nervous shock, property damage or pure economic loss. (this definition is from an Australian government website for business).
What does that mean for photographers? The major areas of risk for photographers is being found liable for negligence which leads to injury or property damage. As an example, I shoot weddings and at each wedding I carry a bag of equipment. At each location that bag gets put down on the ground. While I try to make sure it is out of the way, it is still possible that a guest (or anyone else) could trip over the bag and injure themselves. If you shoot family portraits in parks or other outdoors locations you have the same risk. If you are shooting functions or parties you might not have a large gear bag with you – but you could knock over a candle which then causes damage at the venue. If you shoot in the studio, there is a risk of clients tripping and falling in your studio.
How likely are these events? In the examples I’ve given above, the likelihood of this happening is low. I know many wedding photographers who have shot hundreds of weddings without having an incident. I know studio photographers who have worked with hundreds of clients without ever having an incident.
Why take public liability insurance? While the likelihood of something happening is low, if you don’t have insurance, the impact to your photography business can be very high. In fact, it is very likely that it could wipe out your business. Imagine the financial impact (let alone the stress) of being found liable due to negligence for injuries caused to a wedding guest who tripped over your gear bag. Or for fire damage caused at an event venue after you accidentally knocked over a candle. Or for injuries to a client who tripped over the electrical leads in your studio. Public liability insurance can protect your business from that risk.
Do I really need this? Every photographer will have their own answer to this question. For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I don’t want my photography business wiped out by a stroke of bad luck. It really is not a case of ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ To me, it is common sense to have public liability insurance. Ironically, I hope to never have to make a claim. That would be the ideal outcome. But in the event that something does happen, it is great peace of mind to know I have appropriate insurance in place to protect my business.
What does it cost? The cost of public liability insurance varies according to a range of variables including which country you are in, the size and turnover of your business, the number of employees of your business, the type of work you do, and the amount of cover you want. For me, running a business shooting weddings, family portraits and stock – my public liability insurance is only a few hundred dollars per year. It is well worth the few hundred dollars for the peace of mind to know I am insured appropriately.
Thanks for taking the time to read Public Liability Insurance for Photographers Explained. I hope it has been useful for you. Keep in mind I’m a photographer – if you need detailed information relevant to your own business have a chat to an insurance broker or insurance company. Let’s hope we never need to make a claim – but can run our businesses knowing we have the right insurance in place. Happy shooting.