What insurance do photographers need?

Authored by Annabel Venner.
5 min read

There’s a glamorous element to being a photographer. One month you might be photographing street art in East London, and the next you’ve found yourself abroad, in locations and scenarios you’d only ever dreamed of.

It’s all going swimmingly well… until a broken piece of kit or a client complaint brings you back to reality with a jolt. When you’re forced to face a legal claim against the business you’ve worked so hard to nurture, it’s a stark reminder that, no matter how careful you are, an unexpected financial blow could be devastating to your livelihood.

As a photographer, you face a variety of risks every time you step behind your camera. Your equipment can get damaged, photos can get lost and you may even get clients insisting that your photos didn’t suit their requirements. That’s why it’s so important to have the right type of photographer’s insurance to help keep your business protected in the face of claims.

In this post, we’ll run through the four most important types of cover available for your photography business. Of course, whether you’re making plans ahead of setting up as a professional photographer, or consider yourself a veteran photographer, having tailored cover that directly suits your business’s unique needs can make a world of difference. With that in mind, we offer tailored versions of all the covers below as part of Hiscox photographer’s business insurance.

1. Equipment insurance

Cameras, lenses, tripods, lights. They’re essential tools of the photography trade, and why investing in portable equipment insurance is a must. We all know high spec camera equipment doesn’t come cheap, and if an expensive item were to get damaged mid-shoot, it could be extremely costly to replace.

By taking out the right cover for accidental equipment breakage, damage or loss, your business won’t have to take the financial hit. You may also be covered for the cost of renting a temporary camera, lens or other piece of equipment while you wait for a suitable replacement to make its way to you.

Regularly hire expensive photography equipment? That’s a doubly good reason to take out cover. If you’re hiring a £50,000 camera, the cost of repairing it could be huge if it gets damaged or, worse, stolen. With portable equipment insurance, you can rest assured that your business can continue to thrive, no matter what happens to the tools of your trade.

2. Public liability insurance

Possibly the best part of being a photographer is being trusted to create beautiful images to freeze-frame life’s best moments. Whether you’re capturing candid shots at a wedding or taking high-end images for a fashion spread, seeing all your years of expertise develop into perfect pixels can be the highlight of your day-to-day.

While so much of your focus centres around figuring out the best way to capture your subjects in their best light, another aspect of your photography business – and something you’ve learnt to be very good at – is interacting with members of the public.

If you regularly interact with the public on a daily basis, it’s only natural that you’ll want to be cautious about how that sort of continuous exposure could affect your business. Say, for example, if a guest trips over your equipment at the wedding reception and injures themselves, or if a member of your crew accidentally breaks a prop you’re using.

It’s important to keep your business protected against these type of incidents, which is where public liability insurance can come in so handy. It can cover any costs you might face if a third-party is injured or their property damaged while you’re busy doing your job and can also be invaluable for paying any legal costs that might arise.

Unfortunately, all you need is for a member of the public to claim you were responsible, so, no matter how careful you are, public liability insurance can be essential protection for your business.

3. Professional indemnity insurance

Let’s face it: your work can be frustratingly subjective at times. No matter how diligently you work to ensure you do a stellar job for your clients, there’s always the risk that they’ll complain about what you’ve produced.

Whether you’re dealing with a bride and groom unhappy with the wedding photos you took or of someone accusing you of missing a crucial shot, you could end up defending against claims about your professional duty.

Professional indemnity insurance covers the legal costs of fighting this sort of claim, and ultimately, provides you the funds you need to clear your name. For many photographers, it can be a crucial reputation-saver.

But, do photographers need it if they’ve already got public liability insurance? The short answer is yes. While public liability insurance protects you against claims made by members of the public, only indemnity insurance protects the fruits of your labour, as well as your professional conduct.

Most insurers offer this as an easy add-on to your current cover. So, it’s definitely worth checking with your current provider, or double-checking when shopping around, to ensure it’s included in your insurance package.

What is professional indemnity insurance?

4. Employer’s liability insurance

Do you regularly hire assistants, lighting crew or employ other photographers as part of your business? Any company that employs one or more members of staff is required, by law, to have employers’ liability insurance.

Unless the extra people you’ve hired are independent contractors themselves, you’ll need employers’ liability insurance cover any claims they might make against your business. It can cover you in instances such as a member of your lighting crew tripping over equipment and breaking their ankle, or one of your photographers leaving their camera bag unattended and finding it damaged because someone accidentally spilled coffee on it.

Whatever claims your employees make against your business, this type of cover can help cover legal costs. Handily, it can also help pay for any medical bills or treatment that arise after an incident, which means employers’ liability insurance can be in the best interest of your staff as well.

Granted, the creative side of your job was probably the biggest pull that drew you to the profession. Still, if your photography business is to continue being viable, it’s important to nail the administrative side of it as well. The covers listed above can prove invaluable should the unexpected happen, and are all must-haves to help ensure your business continues to develop for years to come.

Looking for photographers’ insurance that’ll give your business the full protection it needs? Take a look at the wide range of photography insurance products and packages offered by Hiscox Insurance UK.

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Annabel Venner

Annabel Venner is Global Brand Director at Hiscox, she is also one of our Partners which she balances alongside being made a Fellow of The Marketing Society and winner of Financial Service Forum's Marketer of the Year 2012. Prior to Hiscox, she spent nine years at Coca-Cola establishing herself as a driver of growth. Venner is a regular speaker and judge at The Festival of Marketing.