Media liability insurance is a type of specialized errors and omissions insurance. It protects authors; publishers or broadcasters; advertising or PR agencies; and other media professionals if they’re sued for defamation, invasion of privacy, plagiarism and related claims. Policies may cost as low as $500, but average around $2,500. We’ve reviewed five policies here.
If you have a media company, you should make sure that your insurance carrier offers policies that are designed to meet the specific needs of your industry. The Hartford is one insurance company that offers coverage specifically structured to help media companies. Visit The Hartford today to get a quote in minutes.
Top Media Liability Insurance Providers
|The Hartford||Fast online quotes and bundled coverage for small businesses|
|Insurance321||Work with agents to shop for the best priced coverage. Get a quote in four minutes.|
|Axis Capital||Comprehensive coverage for traditional and digital media companies and non-media companies|
|Veracity||In-house underwriting and fast approval for specific media professionals|
|Philadelphia Insurance Companies||Bundling coverage for customized solutions based on business type|
The Hartford offers quick online quotes for comprehensive coverage for media professionals. The Hartford stands apart because it offers “Stretch” endorsements at affordable costs. These are policy add-ons that allow you to bundle different coverage types including policies protecting against general liability; property damage; data breach protection; and defamation or other claims based on your work.
Insurance321 stands out for their speed and convenience. Insurance321 gets your business the best coverage at the best price by shopping your exact coverage needs to multiple insurers. Get your free, no obligation quotes in as little as four minutes.
Axis Capital offers some of the broadest coverage of any provider. It protects media and non-media companies and includes pre-publication coverage for claims arising from acquiring information as well as claims arising from published work. Punitive damages are also covered, as are claims arising based on the work of independent contractors, temporary or seasonal employees, and volunteers.
Veracity is unique because it’s in-house underwriting allows applicants to receive a policy quote in as little as 48 hours from A-rated carriers. Policies are targeted towards authors; copywriters; journalists; graphic designers; press agencies; radio stations; social media agencies; telemarketers; and webcasters. Premiums start at just $500, which is lower than many other providers.
Philadelphia Insurance Companies
Philadelphia Insurance Companies makes it easy to obtain coverage required for specific industries. “Pro-pak endorsements” or specialized add-ons are available for film and program producers; distributors; publishers; authors; broadcasters; and spokespersons.These endorsements address the biggest risks for each media professional, such as protecting film producers for copyright claims arising from the use of music in film.
What is Media Liability Insurance?
Media liability insurance provides coverage for defense costs and settlements or judgments in the event of a lawsuit arising from offenses such as plagiarism, defamation, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement.
If you’re in the media industry, it’s important to purchase media liability coverage to protect yourself from claims arising from these types of offenses. That’s because while commercial general liability policies normally provide protection for these claims under a part of the policy called “Coverage B,” media professionals are specifically excluded from Coverage B.
Media professionals excluded from Coverage B who need to buy media liability insurance include:
- Film and TV producers and distributors
- Ad agencies
- Multimedia companies
- Digital content providers
- Brand managers
- Public relations firms
What Media Liability Insurance Covers
Media liability insurance policies cover costs incurred when content producers or creators are sued based on their work. Policies cover lawyer’s fees; court costs; defense costs; and judgments or settlements. However, deductibles apply to expenses and settlements, and policies often contain per claim limits capping the amount insurers pay per claim and aggregate limits capping total payouts per policy.
Covered claims include:
- Plagiarism: Passing off someone else’s original work as your own.
- Copyright Infringement: Reproducing or distributing copyrighted work without consent
- Defamation: Publishing or making false statements that cause reputational damage
- Disparagement: Publishing injurious false statements about properties, businesses, or products
- Invasion of Privacy: Intruding into someone’s personal life without justification
Covered claims may stem from both published materials and news-gathering activities including trespassing or gaining access to information using false pretenses. A policy might cover a journalist sued for using a false identity while undercover investigating a meat processing plant, as well as a journalist sued by the plant for publishing information that damaged the plant’s reputation.
What Media Liability Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Media liability coverage is narrowly tailored to offer protection only for claims arising based on professional work product, such as advertising materials or print, digital, TV, or film content. Coverage is limited to defense costs and settlements or damages, up to policy limits.
Media liability insurance policies do not cover:
- Claims made by a regulatory authority
- Patent infringement
- Breach of contract
- Data breaches
- Criminal acts if a policyholder is found guilty or admits to wrongdoing
- Bodily injury claims
- Property damage claims
- Securities fraud offenses
- Discriminatory employment practices
Keep in mind most media liability insurance policies include language that allows your provider to force you to settle (aka, hammer clause or consent to settle clause). If you choose to reject the proposed settlement, you’ll be responsible for some or all of the costs above the proposed amount. The purpose of this type of clause is to avoid a long and drawn out legal battle.
If you reject a $100,000 settlement a plaintiff and your insurer agreed to and the court subsequently finds for the plaintiff and awards $200,000 in damages, your insurer may agree to pay only the $100,000 plus 50% of the amount above the settlement cost. This would mean the insurer would pay just $150,000 and you’d be on the hook for the remaining $50,000.
Media Liability Insurance Cost
Median annual premium costs for media liability coverage varies based on the deductible, amount of coverage per claim, and total coverage each policy provides. A policy with a $250,000 total coverage limit and a $1,000 deductible has a median annual premium cost of just $370 while a policy providing $1 million in coverage per claim and $3 million in total coverage would have a median annual cost of $1,453 with the same deductible.
Media Liability Insurance Costs and Deductible
|Coverage Amount Per Claim / Per Policy|
|$250,000 / $250,000|
|$500,000 / $500,000|
|$1,000,000 / $1,000,000|
|$1,000,000 / $2,000,000|
|$2,000,000 / $2,000,000|
|$1,000,000 / $3,000,000|
Media liability insurance costs vary depending upon company size, exposure from clients, claims history, policy limits, and deductible. A national newspaper with many reporters and freelancers that do hard-hitting investigative journalism and have a history of being sued would pay much more than a small local news magazine with three full-time reporters covering only local events.
Tips on Getting Media Liability Insurance
When shopping for media liability insurance, it’s important to understand the different types of policies available and to comparison shop among insurers to find the most affordable coverage. These tips can help you find the policy best suited to your needs.
1. Understand claims made vs. per-occurrence policies
“Business owners should understand the difference between claims-made and occurrence policies,” advised Jeff Somers, President of Insureon.
“Claims-made policies cover claims only if both the incident and the claim happen when the policy is active,” Somers explained. “On the other hand, occurrence policies can cover any claim as long as the policy is active.”
Occurrence policies provide broader protection because you’re still covered even if a claim is made long after the policy is no longer in effect. You’re covered as long as the incident leading to the claim occurred while the policy was active.
If you have a claims made policy and decide to discontinue coverage, you may need to buy a “tail.” A tail is optional add-on coverage that protects you if claims arise in the future after you’ve cancelled your policy. Tail coverage prices are determined based on current premiums, and vary based on how long the coverage protects you. You might pay as much as 300% of your policy premium for tail coverage, so this protection can be expensive.
2. Compare quotes from different insurers
It’s best to submit a media liability insurance application and obtain quote quotes from at least three different insurers to get an idea of what a policy should cost. Be sure the policy quotes you’re comparing are the same policy type, provide the same level of coverage, and have the same deductibles so you can make a fair assessment of which coverage is best.
“When applying for insurance, it’s important for business owners to obtain multiple quotes in order to ensure they’re getting the best price and coverage,” Somers said. “Most small businesses can purchase media liability insurance for less than $1,000 per year.”
3. Review policy terms carefully
Not all media liability policies provide the same level of coverage. Some key things to look for when comparing policies include:
- Whether you’re covered for punitive damages
- Whether the policy provides international coverage
- Whether you can hire your own lawyer in the event a claim is made or must use a lawyer chosen by the insurer
Somers explained companies providing design, media, advertising, or publishing services face increased risk of lawsuits arising from libel and slander. Older reports from the Department of Justice revealed punitive damages are sought more frequently in libel and slander cases than other tort cases. Punitive damages can be substantial, so you may wish to prioritize policies that include this coverage.
Additional Insurance You May Need if You Need Media Liability Insurance
- Media liability insurance provides coverage only for claims arising out of specific intentional torts. Most companies need substantial additional coverage in addition to this specialized policy. This includes a business owner’s policy, cyber liability insurance, and data processing insurance, all of which are available from the five providers recommended above.
- Three additional types of coverage your business may require are:
1. A business owner’s policy
A Business Owner’s Policy combines two basic types of coverage important to most businesses, including media companies. The coverage included in a BOP includes:
- General liability coverage: This protects against claims arising out of injuries and property damage
- Commercial property coverage: This protects the place you do business along with equipment your company uses
Purchasing a Business Owners Policy that bundles these coverages can reduce costs for policyholders. However, as with most types of insurance, increased risk results in higher premiums. If your media company has valuable equipment or tools, expect policy costs to be higher.
2. Cyber liability insurance
Many ad agencies, PR companies and media organizations have access to sensitive, proprietary, and highly-confidential data. This renders them vulnerable to hackers in an age where data breaches occur with increasing frequency. Cyber and privacy policies provide protection for your company if you become liable for a data breach.
Cyber liability insurance policies typically cover:
- Crisis management costs
- Public relations expenses
- Data or system restoration
- Claims arising from invasion of privacy or disclosure of confidential data
- Regulatory action
- Website security liability
Cyber liability insurance can be purchased as part of a technology professional liability policy or as stand-alone coverage.
3. Electronic data processing insurance
Media companies today often rely heavily on technology to produce and publish work. Standard business insurance policies may provide only limited coverage for computers and their contents, as well as for peripheral devices and data. Electronic data processing insurance is focused on covering costs associated with computer exposures and is available from the providers listed above.
Electronic data processing insurance policies provide coverage for:
- Equipment: This includes computers, laptops, monitors, terminals, and servers
- Media: This includes all areas where data is stored, including CDs, DVDs, magnetic drives, disks, and disk drives
- Data: This includes expenses associated with data recovery, as well as loss of income due to data loss.
Policies typically include coverage in the event of vandalism, malware, or viruses as well as physical damage to hardware. If your company’s network is hacked shortly before publication and you lose access to your prepared articles, for example, the insurance could pay for data recovery, income loss due to printing delays, and specialized IT services to remove any malware and restore the hard drives back to full functionality.
Media Liability Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Purchasing media liability insurance can be complicated and it’s important to get all your questions answered to find the right coverage. These FAQs provide more insight into important considerations when shopping for media liability insurance. If you have questions not answered here, the Fit Small Business Forum is a good place to ask them.
Are independent contractors covered by a media liability insurance policy if they provide services on behalf of a media company?
Media companies increasingly rely on independent contractors so many need coverage for claims arising out of the conduct of 1099 employees. Many media liability policies provide coverage to independent contractors on the insured’s behalf. Review individual policy language to determine how broadly the policy defines who is “insured” or which individuals are considered covered individuals.
Do policyholders have to provide required notice of a claim – or potential claims – in order to be covered?
Policyholders are typically required by insurers to provide timely notice to the insurer when a covered claim arises. Policyholders must also provide notice of potential claims under most policies, especially claims-made policies. This includes when they discover acts or omissions that could result in potential future claims. The required notice is called “notice of circumstances.”
What kinds of legal actions are covered?
Media liability policies typically provide coverage for all claims arising out of published works. This includes cases filed in civil court, as well as claims handled in arbitration and civil and administrative proceedings.
If you’re a media producer, creator, or distributor and your business is excluded from protection under Coverage B, a general liability policy won’t protect you from some of the most likely sources of loss. You’ll need media liability coverage. Shop today for a comprehensive media liability insurance policy that provides protection from claims, including coverage for punitive damages.
To find insurance that meets the specific needs of your media company, start by visiting The Hartford. The Hartford offers policies with coverage that is specifically designed to help companies in the media industry. You can get a quote in minutes by visiting The Hartford today.