Professional photographers need photographer insurance to protect their assets from the cost of lawsuits and property damage. Typically, that means having general liability, professional liability, and equipment coverage. Insurance for photographers may cost $250 to $600 per year depending on your clientele, venue types, and the equipment you use.
Getting affordable insurance for your photography business is easier when you work with a broker like Simply Business. You can use its simple online application to get multiple quotes and buy the right insurance for your business in minutes.
How Photographer Insurance Works
Photographers need business insurance to protect their assets. Most need general liability insurance in case they’re sued over injuries or property damage, like a client suing over an accident at a photo shoot. Photographers also need property insurance for their valuable equipment. These can be combined in a business owner’s policy (BOP) for around $500.
Insurers who understand a photographer’s risks may also offer riders to the BOP. A rider is an endorsement that adds to or changes the coverage of a policy. For photography insurance, that may mean adding professional liability to cover legal bills if a client sues for negligence.
Photographers may also need additional business insurance for the following situations:
- They’ve hired employees – Adding staff increases risk and makes workers’ compensation insurance a mandatory policy in most states.
- They store client information in computers – Photographers should consider getting cyber liability insurance in case hackers access digital data, such as credit card numbers or client images.
- They carry expensive equipment to offsite photo shoots – Commercial property insurance only covers property at the address listed on the policy. Equipment in transit requires inland marine insurance.
- They work in advertising – General liability covers advertising injuries like copyright infringement, except for businesses that engage in media-related activities.
- They run a live movie set or produce films – Filmmakers may need entertainment production insurance to cover their extensive property and increased liability risks.
Providers of the Best Insurance for Photographers
Photographers usually have three options for getting insurance. The two most common options are photography insurance companies, or the carriers that create their own policies, and brokerages, which are usually independent sellers. Additionally, photographers can get insurance through professional trade associations. This options typically requires membership to the association.
Providers of the Best Insurance for Photographers
Comparing quotes for general liability and professional liability insurance
Photographers and videographers who own a studio and need tailored policies at a low cost
Photographers and videographers who have employees or want customized insurance
|Photographers who don’t own a studio or want all coverage in one package|
|Photographers and videographers who want to quote multiple carriers with one application|
As an online broker, Simply Business works with multiple top-rated insurance carriers to bring policies to small business owners. Photographers who need affordable general liability or professional liability coverage should fill out the company’s online application. It takes just minutes to complete and allows photographers to compare offers, so they know they’re getting the best value for their money.
Hiscox has been writing commercial policies for over 100 years. While it’s best known for covering small technology and consulting businesses, Hiscox also offers quality products for a wide range of industries, including photographers.
Hiscox is the best business insurance company ideal for photographers who own a studio. It offers a business owner’s policy that covers their most common causes of loss by combining general liability and commercial property insurance. These policies are competitively priced, starting at $22.50 per month.
The Hartford is another small business insurer with a long history of writing commercial insurance policies. Over the years, the company has developed quality products that business owners can tailor to their risks by adding industry-specific endorsements.
For photographers, tailored insurance starts with a business owner’s policy that includes coverage for business income. Business owners can then add riders for data breaches and lost income from cloud service interruptions. Photographers with employees can also get liability coverage for employment practices and employee benefits.
Hill & Usher is a lesser-known agency that originally focused solely on the construction industry. It has since grown into a full-service firm and offers a broad selection of personal and commercial insurance products.
Hill & Usher calls its photographer and videographer program Package Choice. It offers a long list of policies designed specifically for photographers and videographers, including errors and omissions and general liability insurance. The property insurance in Package Choice is a good option for photographers without a studio because it covers business personal property—coverage for business-owned buildings is optional.
Insureon is an online insurance agency with access to some of the top small business insurers. Through these relationships, Insureon is able to quote coverage for over 20 industries, including photographers and videographers.
As a business insurance brokerage, Insureon’s relationships with carriers and its ability to transmit customer data directly to all available carriers is a huge benefit for small business owners. Instead of completing applications for every carrier, you fill out just one to get multiple quotes to compare. This makes Insureon ideal not only for customers who want to save time, but also save up to 10% to 20% on coverage.
Types of Insurance for Photographers
There are several policies that make up videographer and photographer insurance. Some policies insure your equipment, while others cover your liability if third parties sue. There are also policies you only need if you have employees. Knowing what’s available and what each policy covers can help you decide which policies are right for your business.
Most Common Types of Photography Insurance
|Type of Insurance||What It Covers|
|General liability||Accidental bodily injury or property damage to third parties|
|Professional liability||Legal costs from lawsuits over professional errors, omissions, and negligence|
|Commercial property||Business-owned photography studios and/or business personal property that gets damaged or destroyed|
|Inland marine||Insured value of your photography equipment as it moves to different locations|
|Commercial auto||Your liability in accidents in business-owned vehicles|
General Liability Insurance for Photographers
General liability insurance covers your legal fees in third-party claims for bodily injury or property damage. It’s a core coverage because liability lawsuits are a significant financial risk for most photographers. Many venues also require photographers to carry a minimum amount of general liability before they’ll contract with them.
Third parties are essentially any non-employee, so a general liability lawsuit might pop up when:
- A client claims your assistant shattered their plate glass window with your tripod
- A delivery person trips on the sidewalk leading to your studio
- An electrical fire in your studio causes smoke damage in a neighboring shop
General liability pays your legal fees if events like these turn into lawsuits. Many policies also include coverage for immediate medical attention if someone is hurt in the course of operating your business.
Professional Liability Insurance for Photographers
Professional liability insurance, sometimes called errors and omissions, covers your legal fees when someone claims your negligence caused them a financial loss. For photographers, negligence claims usually stem from allegations that you failed to provide, or made mistakes in providing, the contracted services.
You may be accused of professional negligence if:
- You miss specific shots at a client’s wedding
- An assistant overexposes your film
- You failed to send all the requested proofs by the client’s deadline
As a photographer, you know client expectations can be hard to meet. They may sue simply because they don’t like your work. Professional liability usually pays your legal fees even if the lawsuit turns out to be frivolous.
Commercial Property Insurance for Photographers
Commercial property insurance covers business-owned structures and the contents of those structures. For photographers, that usually includes studio and office space along with any furniture and fixtures.
Commercial property usually covers damage from:
Photographers who rent studios and offices still need property insurance. These photographers can buy contents-only coverage, while their general liability covers damage they cause to rented premises.
Inland Marine Insurance for Photographers
Inland marine insurance is a type of property coverage known as a floater. It’s called that because the coverage moves, or “floats,” with the property it insures. Some insurers may also call this equipment coverage or an equipment floater.
Some instances when inland marine covers your equipment outside your studio include:
- You meet clients at the pier for a photo shoot and drop your new camera into the ocean
- You leave your gear unattended and someone steals it
- You’re transporting lenses, computers, and cameras and they’re destroyed in a car accident
Commercial property only insures items at the location listed on the policy. Any photographer who works at locations other than their studio most likely need this coverage.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Photographers
Commercial auto insurance covers both business-owned automobiles and business driving in personal vehicles. The most basic coverage is for your liability in an accident, paying for the damages and injuries you cause. However, you can add other coverages for more protection.
In addition to liability coverage, photographers might want to add:
- Collision – Pays for damage your business-owned auto sustains in an accident
- Comprehensive – Pays for damage caused by something other than an accident
- Medical payments – Pays for immediate medical care for you, your insured driver, and your passengers
Photographers who drive their personal automobiles for business purposes are usually underinsured if they don’t have commercial auto coverage. Many insurers exclude commercial use in their personal auto policies, but some let you add a commercial auto rider to your general liability insurance.
Failing to get the right business insurance can cost a photographer money. Get more information in 25 Small Business Insurance Mistakes.
Other Types of Insurance for Photographers
Most photographers need a combination of general liability and professional liability coverages, and the best insurance for photographers is a business owner’s policy that bundles these policies for a reduced rate. However, there are a few other coverages you may need depending upon your specific business operations.
Some types of insurance that photographers may want to add include:
- UAV Coverage – Photographers who use unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, may need to add a UAV rider to their general liability insurance. Operating a drone increases your exposure to liability claims that aren’t included in other policies.
- Umbrella Insurance – This coverage extends the limits of underlying liability policies. For example, if your professional liability limit is $1 million but a client sues you and wins $1.5 million, the umbrella policy can cover the extra $500,000.
- Workers’ Compensation – This policy is only necessary if you have employees and your state requires workers’ compensation coverage. It pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs if an employee is injured at work or suffers a job-related illness.
- Cyber Liability Insurance – This policy covers compromised client data, including images and other financial information, when it’s lost or stolen. Photographers who store digital data most likely need cyber liability.
- Media Liability Insurance – Photographers who work in advertising may need media liability insurance to pay for advertising injuries, such as copyright infringement and misappropriation.
Photographer Insurance Costs
For most photographers, the yearly cost of insurance is $250 to $600. The cost is driven by a few primary factors, including your business operations, your equipment’s value, the number of employees, and whether you own or rent your studio. Photographers who own studios and have employees are likely to exceed $600 per year.
Photographer Insurance Costs by Insurance Type
$2 million aggregate*
|Business owner’s policy|
$2 million aggregate
5% - 10% of drone cost for property coverage
*Per occurrence limit is the amount your insurer pays for each event. Aggregate limit is the amount they pay for the entire policy term.
**Insurers usually don’t require a deductible, but you may be able to request one to lower your premium.
***Equipment only means the policy covers the contents of your workplace, not the workplace itself.
This chart shows the typical premiums for all of the different coverage types for photographer insurance. However, it’s unlikely most photographers need every policy. Most professional photographers, especially those who work on location and without a studio open to the public, see premiums within the $250 to $600 range.
Other factors that can affect the cost of photographer insurance are:
- Deductibles – Higher deductibles generally decrease the premium but mean more out-of-pocket cost to you when you have claims.
- Coverage limits – Lower coverage limits also place more financial risk on you but can decrease the cost of your annual premium.
- Your revenue – Insurers assume that a business that makes more money has more to lose, and raise your costs accordingly.
- Your employees – In addition to making workers’ compensation necessary, hiring more staff usually means greater liability risk. This can increase your premium.
- Your claims history – This can be a red flag for insurers, and they typically charge higher rates if they think you’re going to cost them money by filing more claims.
One of the best ways to find affordable photographer insurance is to combine coverages into a business owner’s policy. Most professional photographers need general liability, professional liability, and commercial property insurance. A business owner’s policy can combine all three coverage types for a greater value than buying the coverages separately.
Tips on Getting Photographer Insurance
Before you start shopping for the right insurance policy, it’s smart to do a little bit of homework. That can help you get accurate quotes and possibly reduce the cost, and it can also ensure you get the appropriate coverage for your business.
Here are three things you can do to get the best insurance for your photography business:
1. Gather Your Business Information
An agent or broker needs accurate information about you and your business to correctly assess your risk and recommend the policies that suit your individual needs. The more information you can provide, the more likely you are to receive accurate quotes.
Make sure you have this information ready before you apply for videographer and photographer insurance:
- Address and contact information
- Business history and background
- Equipment you use and its estimated value
- Products you sell or provide to your clients
- Extent of travel required
- Claims history (at least the past three years)
- Business leases, if applicable
If you’re applying for insurance online, you’ll be responsible for entering the data into the digital application. However, gathering your business details makes the process smoother even if you’re working with an agent.
2. Get Multiple Quotes
It’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple carriers because each company has its own way of determining premiums. As a result, you can often get offers with different rates and terms. Working with an independent agent or broker can simplify the process. They typically have access to more than one carrier and can help you shop for competitive rates.
3. Be Smart about Your Liability Limits
Photographers often worry about insuring their cameras, lenses, and other equipment because they’re expensive and critical for business. However, it’s also important to consider liability coverage, too, even if you don’t own a studio.
Photographer Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Hopefully, we’ve answered your questions related to photography insurance. We’ve listed a few additional questions and their answers here.
Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover My Photography Equipment?
Most home insurance either excludes business equipment or has loss limits too low to cover your photography equipment. Photographers who run their businesses out of their home should consider getting a business owner’s policy or adding a home-based business endorsement to their homeowner’s policy.
What Insurance Covers My Photography Equipment on Location?
Standard commercial property policies usually cover equipment at the address listed on the policy, but not much beyond that. You may need a rider for equipment that’s stored at another location. Equipment that travels to other locations, like an offsite photo shoot, needs inland marine insurance.
Why Do I Need a Certificate of Insurance?
Vendors often require the businesses they contract with to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. A certificate of insurance is a standardized, one-page document that lists your business’ policies and their coverage limits. You can use this to show vendors you meet their requirements.
Most professional photographers can cover their greatest risk exposures by purchasing general liability, professional liability, and equipment insurance. Insurers typically offer a business owner’s policy that combines these three coverages into one high-value, low-cost policy.
Photographers can easily get liability insurance with Simply Business. The online application is short, and their team of licensed agents shop your business to multiple top-rated carriers, helping you find coverage that’s right for your business at an affordable price.