As a professional photographer, you come in physical contact with customers and generate a product that often reveals the most meaningful and private aspects of people’s lives. And as with any business (especially one where you're regularly transporting and using expensive equipment in the field) you need commercial insurance to protect you from financial risk. This why finding the best photography insurance is so important.
Best Photography Business Insurance
- Best Photography Business Insurance
- Is Photography Insurance Worth It?
- Types of Photography Insurance
- Cost of Photography Insurance
- How Photography Insurance Works
- Best Photography Insurance
- Choosing the Best Photography Insurance
Is Photography Insurance Worth It?
The valuable service you provide exposes your photography business to risks as wide ranging as physical injury, property damage, harassment claims, privacy issues, reputational damage and much more.
Adding to the basic insurance needs of a photographer, the photography industry is changing, with drones taking a bigger role and online promotion playing a larger part in exposure, often creating new types of risk. With changes in the industry, insurance needs for photography change as well.
Your best course of action for covering your photography business is to work with a reputable insurance agent like the ones listed here to determine which of the typical policies (general liability, business property, business income, workers compensation if you have employees, professional liability and others) you need.
Learn which types of coverage you’ll need to protect your photography business.
Types of Photography Insurance
When you contact a potential insurer for a quote on your photography business, you’ll provide the specifics of the kind of service you provide, the common scope of work, your typical clients and other pertinent information. From those details, the agent or the online algorithm will craft the right policy combination for you.
For example, a solo photographer who works on-site, such as a wedding photographer, may only need basic coverage, whereas larger businesses may face additional risks and need additional policy types. Each insurance type focuses on coverage in a narrow range of risks.
This structure allows a lower cost of coverage for those who don’t need coverage for a broad set of risks. Policy add-ons and additional policy types allow customized coverage that can expand to meet the needs of your photography business.
Here are some common types of insurance chosen by photography businesses.
Commercial General Liability Insurance
Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance protects against common risks such as slip-and-fall accidents and similar causes of bodily injury. Your CGL policy also protects against damage to the property of others, but policy limitations make choosing additional policies a must for many photography businesses. For example, if you rent a space, your landlord will probably require a CGL policy with a $1 million per occurrence coverage limit. Many venues require this coverage for on-site work.
Most CGL policies also include coverage for advertising injury, which can include risks like slander or copyright infringement.
When shopping for policies, carefully review policy exclusions. Your agent can clarify what your quoted policy will and will not cover. Drone activity, for example, may not be covered by a basic policy. Also, animal attacks may not be covered if you’re an animal photographer. Liability due to vehicles requires separate coverage as well.
When you work with an agent, be honest about what you do in your normal course of business so that you get the right kind of coverage to fully protect you. It can be uncomfortable to be wholly forthright in describing your business activities lest the policy premiums rocket upward, but you will thank yourself later if that insurance coverage is needed.
Photography Equipment Insurance: Commercial Property Insurance
A commercial property insurance policy can cover the cost of your business equipment if stolen or damaged due to covered risk. Even if you have a small but growing business, you probably have a fair amount invested in camera gear. When you consider the cost of computers, printers and other business equipment, the value of your equipment can add up quickly.
If you own commercial real estate, your policy can also protect your investment against common risks like fire, theft, vandalism or several types of water damage. If you rent a space, your policy protects the improvements you’ve made to the space to accommodate your photography business.
Business Owners’ Policy
Combine a CGL policy with a commercial property insurance policy and you have a business owners’ policy (BOP). A BOP is a type of package policy that provides core protection for your business while allowing customization or add-ons to address gaps in coverage. Typically, you’ll save money by buying a BOP business owners’ package policy rather than buying 2 separate policies.
Commercial Auto Insurance
A commercial auto policy covers similar incidents to that of a personal auto policy including medical expenses, liability issues, property damage, underinsured motorists, collision repairs, rental reimbursement and towing; however, the commercial policy provides coverage when the vehicle is driving in a commercial, money-making capacity. Personal auto insurance policies are designed for individuals who don’t use their vehicles in a commercial capacity.
If you use your car for commercial purposes and have an incident, your personal policy will not cover the damages. .. If your business owns vehicles, you’ll need a dedicated commercial auto insurance policy. If you’re using a personal vehicle, reach out to an agent or broker to ask which additional coverage options you’ll need based on your usage.
Basic insurance policies may not cover physical damage to your drones or liability associated with operating drones. Many photography businesses purchase a policy specifically to cover physical damage to drones and drone liability.
Additionally, liability and privacy issues surrounding the use of drones could expose your business to risk. The mushrooming drone industry has provoked legal and ethical controversies that could negatively affect your business. Ask your agent to recommend appropriate risk mitigation through additional policies or riders to your existing policies.
Professional Liability Insurance
Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, professional liability insurance protects your business against many types of human error, oversight and similar actions or inactions that may cause a financial loss.. CGL insurance won’t protect your business against losses due to work errors, so E&O coverage is a must-have for photography businesses.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Nearly every state requires workers compensation coverage for businesses that have employees. Workers compensation provides a fixed schedule of benefits for workers injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. In most states, penalties for not carrying coverage when required can be stiff. But the best reasons to carry coverage are the fixed benefits offered to workers and the work-injury lawsuit protection businesses gain if they have coverage in place.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Think of employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) as an essential partner policy to a workers compensation policy. An employment practices liability policy protects your business against harassment or discrimination claims, as well as wrongful termination claims and similar employment practices risks. Judgment amounts can be large, and these specific liability types aren’t covered by a CGL insurance policy. Consider rounding out your coverage with an EPLI policy if you have employees.
Similar to the way an umbrella can shelter more than one person from the weather, an umbrella policy expands its liability coverage to multiple underlying insurance policies. Typically, you’ll need to meet a coverage limit threshold on the underlying policies, such as your CGL policy or commercial auto policy. Your commercial umbrella policy then stacks its higher coverage limit on top of the base policy limit, giving your business much more coverage — usually $1 million or more.
Cost of Photography Insurance
Rates for business insurance vary based on the type of business but also on the types of coverage you choose. Rates also vary when you consider business-specific factors such as location, business size, claims history and other factors.The specific aspects of your photography business mean your insurance costs may be significantly different when compared to other people you know in the business.
Larger or growing businesses that employ staff see higher workers compensation insurance premiums as payroll figures grow. Rates for liability insurance types such as commercial general liability insurance or professional liability insurance are influenced by top-line revenue and factors like business location and claims history.
Because so many individualized factors affect the cost of coverage, it’s important to know that your rates may differ from the table below, perhaps significantly. But having examples of what others in the business are paying can be useful for business planning.
|Insurance Type||Estimated Annual Cost||Coverage Limit|
|General Liability||$250||$1 million per occurrence|
|Business Owners’ Policy||$500||$1 million liability replacement cost property|
|Professional Liability (E&O)||$800||$1 million per occurrence|
|Workers’ Comp||$650||Fixed benefit schedule|
Ask which discounts may be available for your photography business. Many insurers offer discounts for membership in certain trade groups, for example. Bundling — another great way to save — refers to buying more than 1 type of insurance from the same provider rather than sourcing those insurance types from separate providers.
How Photography Insurance Works
When comparing rates for photography insurance, you won’t find a policy type called “photography insurance.” Instead, complete coverage probably requires more than 1 type of policy, with larger companies or companies involved in specialized activities often needing more policy types.
For a solo photographer, a CGL policy and a professional liability (E&O) policy offer solid starting points. But be aware that these core coverages won’t insure your vehicles, drones, gear or employment liability. You may need additional coverage types depending on your business structure and the tools you use.
Insurance is the transfer of risk — and the risks to your business can be sizable. For example, the average claim for reputational harm, like advertising injury or privacy violations, is $50,000 according to insurer data. Commercial auto claims often exceed this amount.
In fact, claims can range from 6 figures and higher. Insurance offers a way to flatten this risk, limiting the financial exposure your business faces in exchange for a predictable monthly or annual premium. In many cases, venues and landlords also require coverage before you can set foot on the premises, making insurance as important to your photography business as your camera itself.
Best Photography Insurance
Photography businesses range in size from part-time digital shutterbugs to larger teams with expensive gear, drones, equipment vans or brick-and-mortar studios. Because the photography field is so specialized, customized coverage offers the best way to protect your business.
The Small Business Association lists common types of business insurance for most businesses; some or all of these policy choices may apply to your photography business.
If your photography work is intermittent, you can also find temporary insurance policies that cover specific events with durations as short as one hour.
Compare rates, policy features and coverage options for photography insurance to protect your business.
Best Overall: The Hartford
The Hartford’s dedicated page for learning about the best coverage for photographers says it best: “Your clients rely on you and your photography business to capture their special moments or big days. It’s essential you work with an insurance company you can count on in case something happens to you, your team, equipment or business.”
The commitment The Hartford shows to the photography business, which it has protected since photography was invented, makes it a wise, safe choice as your insurer.
Check out the specific examples detailed by The Hartford to better understand why you as a photographer or photo team leader need to protect yourself from potential business-related claims. When you have the right insurance, you won’t worry when a photo shoot goes wrong. If an angry bride stomps out in tears, your new assistant implies the model is fat, your state-of-the-art photo drone hits a tree or any other unpleasant incident occurs, your Hartford agent on speed-dial will walk you through the process to defend your business.
Best for Tailored Coverage: Simply Business
Simply Business offers a comprehensive suite of business insurance that specializes in making it easy to insure your business.
Whether you’re looking for construction workers' insurance or insurance for your startup, Simply Business helps you find the right coverage at the right price. This includes your photography studio, wedding photo business or even photo booths.
Tell Simply Business a little bit about your business and you'll get almost-instantaneous affordable quotes from top insurance providers. You can look into workers’ comp insurance, business owner’s plans, liability insurance, commercial auto and more that will cover everyone on your team, and you can get covered in accordance with state law without overspending.
Building your business is hard enough. Let Simply Business make it easier. Get a quote from Simply Business today.
Best for Bespoke Coverage: Hiscox
Hiscox, a premier insurer in the small business space, is a great choice for your photography business commercial insurance needs.
They understand the vast scope of risks that a photographer can face, so they can provide cost-conscious, custom-designed coverage. They offer flexible payment options, tailored insurance quotes, high claims responsiveness and worldwide coverage for wherever your camera may lead you.
Spend some time on the Hiscox photography business insurance site to get a clear picture of some of the risks Hiscox can help you mitigate. Hiscox insures diverse types of photography businesses, so your Hiscox agent will know the right questions to ask you to nail down the correct coverage. Since “photography insurance” is not a single policy but an expertly crafted package of policies, you need an experienced photo insurer like Hiscox.
Best for Flexibility: Thimble
You might not think it would be possible to insure your business for a single event lasting just a few hours, but with Thimble, you can. Getting a quote takes minutes, and setting up your coverage is fast too.
When you are in the photography business, work can be intermittent. Why pay for full-time insurance for part-time work?
Thimble, which commenced operations as Verifly in 2016, caters to gig businesses like photographers. Their nimble policy set-up process coupled with experienced agents who really get what it means to cobble together coverages for short-duration contracts make them an ideal choice for your photography business insurance.
Visit Thimble’s photography insurance page for more information and special discounts.
Choosing the Best Photography Insurance
The Small Business Administration recommends comparing rates from several insurance providers and policy terms and benefits before choosing a provider. You can get started using the links in this article and work with experienced agents if your coverage needs go beyond the basics or if you have questions.
The right time to get the proper coverage for your photography business is before you have a claim. In many cases, you can bind your coverage online in just minutes, allowing you to get back to taking great pictures and growing your business.