Photographers and videographers usually have three options for getting insurance. The two most common are insurance carriers that create their own policies and brokers who can sell policies from several carriers. The third option is getting insurance through a professional trade association, which can be the most affordable but typically requires membership. Our list for best insurance companies includes examples of all three.
- Simply Business: Best overall photography insurance company
- Hiscox: Best for home-based photographers and videographers
- Hill & Usher: Best for media professionals
- The Hartford: Best for a business owner’s policy (BOP)
- Professional Photographers of America (PPA): Best for PPA members
Simply Business: Overall Best Photography Insurance Company
As an online broker, Simply Business works with multiple top-rated insurance carriers like Travelers and CNA to bring policies to small business owners. However, the reason Simply Business tops our list is because of its easy application that returns fast quotes from multiple carriers. This gives photographers a chance to choose the coverage that best suits their operations and budgets.
Simply Business Strengths
Simply Business Weaknesses
Provides multiple quotes for photographers liability insurance
Photography equipment coverage not always available
Simple, online application
Financial rating and claims process varies by carrier
Does not charge a brokers fee
No online account management
Online quotes and purchasing available
- $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate limits for general liability
- $1 million per occurrence and $1 million aggregate for professional liability
- $100,000 limit for premises rented to you
- $5,000 limit for medical expenses for injured third parties
- $1 million limit for personal and advertising injuries, such as defamation and copyright infringement
These limits aren’t set in stone. You can opt for general liability limits between $100,000 and $2 million, plus professional liability limits as high as $3 million. Selecting higher limits increases your premium.
Additionally, Simply Business specializes in liability insurance, so you may have to buy property insurance elsewhere. The quotes we received include business personal property, such as coverage for your photography equipment but not your business’ physical location, with limits between $5,000 and $25,000.
We saw general liability quotes between $950 and $1,400 per year for commercial photographers. While that premium is higher than what we found from other carriers and brokers, it’s for a policy that includes professional liability and equipment coverage. More importantly, the coverage we found through Simply Business had similar limits as what we found elsewhere.
Hiscox: Best for Home-based Photographers
Hiscox is a top small business insurance carrier that offers quality products at affordable prices to a wide range of industries, including photographers. Its minimum premium for general liability is $350, plus photographers with home studios may qualify for an additional 5% off.
Strong appetite for business with zero to 10 employees
Professional and general liability not available in Alaska
Discounts for home-based businesses and purchasing multiple policies
BOP not available in 31 states
Online quotes, purchasing, claims filing available
Some coverage outsourced to online brokers
A (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best
Photographers can turn to Hiscox for general liability, professional liability, and BOPs. In particular, Hiscox’s general liability policy includes:
- $2 million aggregate limit available online
- $100,000 for premises rented to you
- Up to $25,000 in optional business equipment coverage
Photographers can also opt for a BOP with coverage limits of $500,000 for their studios, $250,000 for the contents of their studios, and $10,000 for computer interruption and loss of electronic data. Other policies like commercial auto are available, but they’re outsourced and won’t be written by Hiscox.
Hiscox is one of the few carriers that lists its minimum premiums on its website. It takes some searching, but they are:
- General liability: $350 per year
- Professional liability: $270 per year
- Business owner’s policy: $500 per year
While few photographers pay the minimum, many can find affordable coverage through Hiscox. We’ve seen quotes in the $600 to $800 range for general liability and BOPs. Professional liability tends to be a bit more expensive, around $900 to $1,000 per year.
Other key cost features from Hiscox include a 5% discount for buying multiple policies, a 14-day, money-back guarantee, and no extra charge for choosing a monthly payment plan.
Hill & Usher: Best for Media Professionals
Photographers and videographers who want multiple coverages combined in a single program should look at Hill & Usher’s Package Choice. It offers a long list of policies designed specifically for media professionals, including errors and omissions (E&O), another name for professional liability, and property coverage for both primary location and equipment in transit. The minimum premium for Package Choice is $500 per year, but Hill & Usher also has basic policies for less.
Hill & Usher Strengths
Hill & Usher Weaknesses
Combines multiple policies in a single, affordable package
Limited flexibility in coverage options
Can include drone insurance
E&O not available in Hawaii
Online application and quotes available
No online platform for policy management
No deductible for E&O coverage
No online assistance for application
The standout offering from Hill & Usher is its Package Choice program for media professionals. Offered to photographers, videographers, and design firms, Package Choice bundles essential photographer insurance policies, including coverage for:
- Cameras and equipment, including rented and leased photography equipment
- Studio contents
- Computers, software, and data
- Allegations of physical injury or property damage
- Accusations of professional negligence
In the insurance industry, “program” typically describes a set of policies purchased by a group with similar risks. This gives small businesses the opportunity to buy quality coverage at a lower price, but it can mean limited coverage options. Package Choice looks like a fairly robust program as it offers general liability with up to $2 million per occurrence and $4 million aggregate limits, plus several extensions and endorsements, such as coverage for valuable papers, records, and film.
The Hill & User site claims that the minimum premium for its Package Choice program is $500 per year in most states. In some states, the minimum premium is as low as $400. This price will most likely go up based on your business’ risks, the coverage limits you select, and any endorsements you add to your package.
The Hartford: Best for BOP
The Hartford is another carrier with a long history of tailoring insurance policies for small businesses. For photographers, tailored insurance starts with a BOP that bundles general liability, property, and business income coverage that automatically includes damage to electronic data and lost income from cloud service interruptions. Photographers can then customize their BOPs with potentially valuable endorsements like worldwide liability coverage.
The Hartford Strengths
The Hartford Weaknesses
Broad BOP with industry-specific coverage options
Cost information only available by applying
Top workers’ compensation provider
No chat assistance in application
Online quotes, purchasing, and claims reporting
No coverage in Alaska or Hawaii
A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Bestt
As a large national carrier, The Hartford can provide photographers with more than general and professional liability policies. Photographers and videographers who work with the carrier can also get workers’ compensation, commercial auto, and cyber liability.
The Hartford’s standout policy for photographers, however, is its BOP, called the Spectrum® Business Owner’s Policy. Like all BOPs, this one combines general liability, commercial property, and business interruption insurance. However, photographers can also choose a Stretch Endorsement that automatically covers fraudulent transfers and contract penalties, as well as optional coverage for:
- Government fines after a data breach
- Valuable papers and records
- Lost income after electronic vandalism
- Employee dishonesty
The Hartford, like many insurance carriers, does not list minimum premiums on its site. However, you can fill out an online application to see quotes listed in three premium levels: Good, Better, and Best. We found quotes for BOPs for a one-person photography business BOPs in the following ranges:
- Good: $440 to $650; property and liability coverage only
- Better: $500 to $800; everything in the Good level, plus hired and nonowned auto and a waiver of subrogation
- Best: $950 to $1,200; everything in the Better level, plus data breach, drone coverage, and water damage liability
Photographers can also mix and match all the coverages offered to customize their BOPs further.
Professional Photographers of America: Best for PPA Members
Photographers who join the PPA, the largest nonprofit photography association in the world, get $15,000 of equipment coverage included in their memberships and can increase coverage at a low cost. The membership level that includes equipment coverage costs $323 per year.
Equipment coverage included in membership
Only available to PPA members
BOP, general liability, and data coverage available
No policy management portal
Online application and purchasing available
No online claim filing
Limited flexibility in coverage options
PPA members automatically get $15,000 in equipment insurance, a plan called PhotoCare that pays the cost of replacing stolen or damaged items minus depreciation. Deductibles for PhotoCare start at $250 and increase an additional $250 for each subsequent claim. Breakage claims are subject to an additional $250 deductible.
Members can pay for two other coverages:
- PhotoCare Plus: This option increases your equipment coverage to $100,000 and covers the full replacement cost up to your policy limits. Other highlights include a steady $250 deductible and coverage for non-PPA member employees.
- PPA General Liability: The general liability policy from PPA provides standard coverage amounts of $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate. Drone coverage is available with this policy.
PPA does offer a business owner’s policy, but members must call in for details and a quote.
Like Hill & Usher, PPA offers an insurance program. While this limits how much you can tailor your coverage, the premiums are hard to beat:
- PhotoCare: Free with your annual membership
- PhotoCare Plus: Starts at $175 per year
- PPA General Liability: Starts at $250 per year
Why Photographers Need Insurance
Photographers, even freelancers and sole proprietors, need to protect their business assets. Insurance does this by covering certain costs, like attorney’s fees if you’re sued or repair bills if your camera is damaged. Without business insurance, photographers would have to pay these expenses out of their own pockets.
This is true for home-based businesses, too. Most homeowner’s policies exclude business activities, so photographers with home studios should consider getting commercial coverage.
How We Evaluated the Best Insurance for Photographers
Our criterion for the best photography insurance companies starts with photographers’ two main concerns: cost and coverage. Beyond that, we wanted to find insurers and brokers that make buying insurance easier, so we looked for certain online features, such as simple applications, purchasing options, policy management platforms, and claims reporting.
Photographers have several options when it comes to buying insurance. The best offer affordable policies that cover their key exposures, namely expensive equipment and client lawsuits, but that describes a lot of companies. Picking the right one for your photography business comes down to comparing offers based on price and policy terms. That way, you can see if your cheap photography insurance covers the risks you face.