Insurance? For my Photographer? Who Cares?!

September 26, 2009

It’s a reality of life: everyone has insurance in one form or another: Car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc…¬†We rarely use it, but we (more or less) gladly pay for it. We get it because we realize that IF something should happen, it will at least cover costs or allow us to replace what we’re lost.

Businesses are no different. If you enter a store and a ceiling tile falls on your head, the store is liable for your medial expenses. If a client walks into a glass door and breaks his nose, the store might face a lawsuit. For a small business, this could be devastating! All smart business people cary liability insurance. I don’t think any landlord in their right mind would let a business rent space without insurance.

What does this have to do with photography, especially when done on location, away from a studio? Here are some plausible scenarios. Feel free to imagine your own:

The photographer comes to your home to take portraits. He accidentally knocks over your $2000 waterford crystal lamp to the floor. If the photographer is not insured, it will probably come out of his pocket unless he can convince you to put it through your homeowner’s insurance. You then face a premium increase and in the end, the insurance company might still knock on the photographer’s door to recover their cost. If the photographer has insurance, then he shouldn’t have any problems calling his insurance company and getting the lamp replaced.

You are shooting on location and trying to get a cool shot of you standing on a tree stump/pic-nic table/rock/… You stumble and break your leg. A photographer’s insurance should pay your out of pocket medical costs.

In fact, some venues will insist on the photographer having insurance and providing a Certificate Of Insurance (COI) naming the venue as being insured. This is in case the venue gets sued as a result of a photographic incident like a guest tripping on a photographer’s light at a wedding. With a COI, the venue is covered by the insurance policy.

In such a venue, if you have a photographer shoot a wedding without a COI, the venue might get hopping mad and disallow photography altogether, or they might charge you an extra fee so they can get insurance. Who needs such hassles on their wedding day!

Will any of this happen to you? I sincerely hope not. The odds are against it, but if you are the unfortunate one in a thousand, it would be nice to know you’re covered.

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