Most of my initial conversations with photographers start out with them requesting insurance coverage for their cameras. They are concerned about their equipment being stolen or damaged. My standard response is for them to make sure that whatever policy they buy that the equipment is covered worldwide, for the replacement value of their cameras and that the policy includes theft from unattended vehicles.
I then quickly try to shift the conversation to liability and workers compensation. While equipment theft and/or damage is the most likely type of claim to happen with the greatest frequency, it is the liability and workers compensation claims that can be catastrophic and financially devastating.
If a photographer loses all their equipment, then their exposure is capped at the dollar amount of the gear. But it is an uninsured liability and workers compensation claim that can potentially expose all the personal assets of the photographer.
A liability claim can arise from the photographer and/or their assistant(s) causing bodily injury or property damage to other people or other people’s property. The claim can be as simple as a member of the public tripping over a lighting cable, an automobile accident, damaging the location or copyright infringement.
Most liability policies will protect a photographer from a member of the public tripping over a cable that was not properly protected. Change up the fact pattern and the person who gets injured is their photographic assistant, who they are paying on a 1099 basis. Then, most liability policies will not protect the photographer from this type of claim. All liability policies exclude claims which should be covered by a workers compensation policy.
A photographer who hires other people to work on their projects, needs to purchase workers compensation insurance to cover these people should they get hurt in the course of their assignment. Likewise, additional insurance is needed to protect the photographer for liability claims involving the use of automobiles, copyright infringement and damage to location(s) or property deemed to be in the care, custody or control of the photographer.
Automobile liability insurance is available for owned vehicle(s) as well as non-owned and hired automobile(s). Errors and omissions liability is available for copyright infringement claims. Third Party Property Damage liability is available to protect against claims for locations in the care, custody or control of the photographer.
My point has always been that when purchasing and comparing insurance policies that the devil is in the details. Policies use common names to describe coverage but the policy terms, conditions and exclusions need to be carefully reviewed to determine if the needs of the photographer are being adequately met.
Scott Taylor is President, Taylor and Taylor Associates Inc., creator of the initial ASMP Prosurance policy. Taylor and Taylor Associates Inc. is the sole representative of the ASMP policy with Allianz.