Publisher’s liability insurance is a specialized errors and omissions policy designed for publishers of books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and other kinds of media. The policy covers their legal costs if they’re accused of negligence, plagiarism, defamation, or copyright infringement. Small publishing operations can usually get publisher’s liability insurance for $300 – $1,600 per year.
Hiscox offers broad publisher’s liability insurance that covers content in any form, including print and digital publications. Business owners can get a quote for coverage that suits their needs in minutes by filling out a short online application.
Publisher’s Liability Insurance Providers
Publishers should look for insurance carriers with industry experience and high financial ratings. That way, they can rest assured that policies cover their risks and their insurer has the resources to pay any covered claim. Our list includes carriers that fit this description as well as insurance brokers that can access multiple insurers for comparison.
Top Publisher’s Liability Insurance Providers
|Hiscox||Publishers who need broad coverage and high liability limits|
|CoverWallet||Media creators who want to compare quotes from multiple insurers|
|The Hartford||Publishers with printing operations who need errors & omissions insurance and other coverages|
|Philadelphia Insurance Companies||Publishers who need their liability coverage to extend to independent contractors|
|Axis||Publishers and advertisers who want to tailor through endorsements|
Hiscox is a large insurance carrier that earns high marks from credit rating agencies and can offer policies to small business owners throughout the U.S. They have an online quoting platform business owners can use to apply for coverage and get quotes in a matter of minutes.
Hiscox has a multimedia liability policy that covers a long list of content producers, including publishers of books, periodicals, and websites. It’s an open-peril policy, meaning it covers claims as long as the trigger event isn’t specifically listed as an exclusion in the policy and has coverage limits of up to $5 million. This makes Hiscox ideal for publishers that need broad coverage with high limits.
CoverWallet is an online insurance brokerage that specializes in small business insurance. They offer a seamless digital experience that allows business owners to get quotes, bind policies, and manage coverage completely online. Their application is short, easy to understand, and typically returns quotes instantly.
Publishers who want to compare offers or publisher’s liability insurance but don’t want to complete an application for each carrier should consider CoverWallet. As a brokerage, CoverWallet can get quotes from multiple carriers, which their technology lets them do through a single application.
The Hartford is a well-known carrier that insures over a million small businesses across the U.S. Their 200 years of insurance experience has led them to develop a variety of add-ons and packages to help small business owners customize their insurance.
The Hartford is the best source for publishers with printing operations. These business owners can add errors and omissions insurance to their business owners policy to help keep costs down.
Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) is a national carrier that specializes in errors and omissions insurance for small businesses in industries where business owners often struggle to find appropriate coverage. Their media liability program is designed to cover advertising injury claims for advertising firms, publishers, authors, and others.
Media producers who rely on independent contractors should consider working with PHLY. Unlike most insurers, PHLY offers media liability insurance that automatically includes coverage for 1099 workers who supply media activities on behalf of the policyholder. Publishers can be sued for an independent contractor’s work, so getting this additional coverage for outside workers is essential.
Axis is a specialty insurance provider, meaning they create coverage for niche markets and hard-to-insure industries. They’ve earned A+ ratings from both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s, and they’re commonly listed among top media insurance companies.
As a leading media, entertainment, and publishing liability insurance carrier, Axis offers 14 endorsements for their media liability policy. This makes them an excellent option for business owners who want to start with broad coverage and tailor it to their needs.
What Publisher’s Liability Insurance Is
Publisher’s liability insurance is a specialty errors and omissions policy that pays lawyer’s fees, settlements, and judgments in lawsuits over negligence, defamation, plagiarism, copyright or trademark infringement, and misappropriation. Policies are often purchased by the people and companies that prepare and issue books and periodicals, but policies are appropriate for media firms and broadcasters, too.
While many insurance companies offer liability coverage for publishers and other media companies, they don’t always refer to it as publisher’s liability insurance. Instead, many call these policies media liability insurance. You can learn more by checking out our ultimate guide to media liability insurance.
What Publisher’s Liability Insurance Covers
Publisher’s liability insurance covers lawsuits alleging a publisher made professional mistakes that harmed a client or customer. Often these mistakes are media-related errors such as libel or plagiarism, but they can also be other types of negligence. For example, a finance blog writer may be sued for negligence if their suggestions result in a reader losing money.
Other common examples of scenarios publisher’s liability insurance usually covers include:
- A book publisher being sued for copyright infringement after including an artist’s drawing in a text without permission
- A radio station accused of slander after a disc jockey insults a politician during a broadcast
- An advertiser being sued for misappropriation after posting a photo of a movie star using their client’s product without permission
In situations like these, publisher’s liability insurance typically pays the policyholder’s attorney’s fees, court costs, and judgements or settlements.
What Publisher’s Liability Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Publisher’s liability insurance only covers lawsuits related to a publisher’s professional knowledge or work, so policies usually exclude events related to other aspects of running a business. For instance, publisher’s liability insurance does not cover incidents stemming from employer-employee relationships or a customer’s slip-and-fall. These are usually covered by other types of small business insurance.
Publisher’s liability insurance also doesn’t cover claims for things like:
- Intentional or malicious acts
- Data breaches
- Patent infringement
- Damage to business property
- Employee dishonesty
- Breach of contract
- Allegations of wrongdoing by regulatory authorities
“The biggest mistakes publishers make is not knowing how copyright and trademark infringement or libel is covered. General liability insurance typically covers these advertising injuries, but this coverage is typically excluded for publishers. Thus, a publisher will need general liability insurance in order to cover bodily injury and property damage type of claims, but most importantly, they will need errors and omissions insurance to cover liability for libel and copyright or trademark infringement.”
– Miguel Findley, Account Manager, Calculated Risk Advisors, LLC
Some business operations may make it difficult for a publisher to get coverage through standard insurance carriers. Publishers that offer adult content, celebrity gossip, gambling content, or other controversial content may have to find a specialty insurer for coverage.
Publisher’s Liability Insurance vs General Liability Insurance
In many industries, general liability insurance covers advertising injury claims, such as libel, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, and misappropriation, by paying attorneys, settlements, and judgements. However, publishers, advertisers, and other content producers are excluded from this coverage in standard general liability policies because advertising injury claims are directly related to their professional services.
General liability is not meant to cover any business’ professional services, so insurers developed publisher’s liability insurance for individuals and businesses that publish content, produce advertisements, and provide marketing consultation.
How Publisher’s Liability Insurance Works
Publishers can be held responsible if the works they produce harm clients or customers. This responsibility is covered by publisher’s liability insurance, which pays for their legal fees if these allegations turn into lawsuits as well as any judgments or settlement costs. Publisher’s liability policies typically cover two types of claims: advertising injuries and negligence suits.
Advertising injuries are damages that result from an individual’s advertising activities and include libel, slander, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, and misappropriation of advertising ideas. Negligence suits usually stem from allegations of errors and omissions in professional work. For instance, a publisher might be sued if important instructions left out of a technical manual caused a customer to damage their product and lose money.
Publisher’s Liability Insurance Costs
Insurers consider a number of factors to determine the cost of publisher’s liability insurance, such as their business operations and revenue. However, coverage limits and deductibles also impact premiums. Depending on the coverage they get, small publishers can expect to pay between $300 and $1,600 for errors and omissions insurance.
Publisher’s Liability Insurance Costs & Deductibles
Per Occurrence / Aggregate
|$250,000 / $250,000||$300 - $600||$500 - $1,000|
|$500,000 / $500,000||$500 - $800||$500 - $1,000|
|$1 million / $1 million||$700 - $1,100||$500 - $1,000|
|$1million / $2 million||$900 - $1,300||$500 - $1,000|
|$2 million / $2 million||$1,100 - $1,500||$500 - $1,000|
|$1 million / $3 million||$1,300 - $1,700||$500 - $1,000|
Liability policies have two important limits: per occurrence and aggregate. The per occurrence is how much the insurer pays for each claim, while the aggregate limit is how much they pay over the entire policy term. Increasing either limit increases your premium. However, a higher deductible typically lowers your premium.
Other factors that can impact your publisher’s liability insurance costs include:
- Content: Some subject matter poses a greater risk for libel suits. As a result, a fiction writer typically pays more for publisher’s liability insurance than a newspaper publisher.
- Business operations: Publishers who consistently use written contracts, obtain copyright permissions and releases, and have works reviewed by publishing attorneys usually pay less for coverage.
- Claims history: Multiple prior claims can make a publisher look risky, so insurers may charge a higher rate for coverage to protect their own interests.
- Sales revenue: In general, publisher’s liability insurance costs more for businesses that earn more because they are more likely to be sued.
Each insurer weighs these and other factors differently in their calculations, so publisher’s liability insurance costs vary. Publishers should get at least two or three quotes to compare before they decide on a policy.
Tips on Getting Publisher’s Liability Insurance
Publisher’s liability insurance is essential for any business that produces content because it covers third-party accusations of negligence or advertising injuries such as defamation, misappropriation, or plagiarism. Getting the appropriate policy is a key component to protecting your business assets.
Here are five tips to help you find the right publisher’s liability insurance for your business:
1. Consider Publisher’s Liability Insurance With International Coverage
Publishers with foreign exposure should look for publisher’s liability insurance with international coverage. The sale of any publication outside of the U.S., even online publications, can put publishers in jeopardy of being sued in a foreign court. Most insurance policies only cover claims brought in the U.S., so publishers need international coverage if their publications are distributed in other countries or contain foreign sources.
2. Know Your Risks So You Can Get the Appropriate Coverage
Publisher’s liability insurance is never a one-size-fits-all policy. There are simply too many different types of publishers for a single policy to be the right one for all of them. As a result, publishers need to evaluate their risks before they can get the publisher’s liability coverage that’s right for them.
Media and entertainment attorney and author Lloyd Jassin at CopyLaw.org offers this list of key coverage details to check:
“Make sure the policy covers media perils such as copyright infringement, defamation, invasion of privacy, violation of publicity, and trademark infringement. If the policy covers intentional infliction of emotional distress or misappropriation of ideas, that’s a bonus. Also, ask about optional coverage for bodily injury or property damage resulting from negligent publication of advice or instructions. Negligent publication is a claim for publishing information that encourages or instructs readers to engage in dangerous or harmful conduct that results in injury or worse, death. While publishers should include appropriate disclaimers in their books, a disclaimer won’t shield you from liability. A disclaimer may discourage some people from filing a lawsuit, but if you want to sleep soundly at night, consider purchasing a media perils policy.”
3. Look for an Occurrence Policy
Publisher’s liability insurance is sold as occurrence or claims-made policies. Claims-made coverage only pays claims made during the policy period. Claims filed after the policy’s explanation date typically aren’t cover it. Occurrence coverage, however, pays for losses that occur during the policy period even if the claim is made after the policy has ended.
“The biggest mistake publishers make is going to a generalist agent who, though highly professional, may have handled perhaps one other publisher or author. When this happens, the well-meaning agent will send their client to what we call a surplus line or wholesale insurer, who will offer what appears to be a good quote, but one that’s on a claims-made basis, and the publisher may not be aware of the pitfalls of such a policy.”
– Mike Mansel, Certified Insurance Counselor, Aegis Insurance Markets
4. Ask About the Hammer Clause
Errors and omissions insurance often includes a hammer clause that lets the insurer decide when to settle lawsuits. If you refuse, the insurer may drop your coverage. Getting coverage without a hammer clause may cost more, but it might be the right choice if you want to decide how long to fight for your reputation.
5. Get Quotes From Multiple Insurers
Publisher’s liability insurance policies have a lot of options that can impact premiums, so business owners should apply to multiple carriers for coverage. That way, they can compare offers both in terms of how much the policies cost and what each policy has to offer.
Publisher’s Liability Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about publisher’s liability insurance.
Who needs publisher’s liability insurance?
Publisher’s liability insurance is appropriate for businesses and individuals who create, prepare, and issue content of all kinds. While the name makes it sound like coverage is only necessary for newspaper, magazine, and book publishers, many policies can cover advertisers, authors, graphic designers, and broadcasters.
Does my publisher’s liability insurance cover independent contractors?
Whether your publisher’s liability insurance covers independent contractors depends on your specific policy. Most of the policies that include 1099 workers require you to add them as additional insureds, and that usually costs more. Some insurers, however, automatically extend coverage to freelancers, so it’s important to carefully review policy documents.
Do I need publisher’s liability insurance if I have general liability?
Publishers sometimes skip publisher’s liability insurance because they think their general liability covers advertising injuries like defamation, copyright infringement, and misappropriation. Unfortunately, standard general liability insurance excludes publishers and advertisers from this coverage, making a separate publisher’s liability insurance policy necessary.
Publisher’s liability insurance is an errors and omissions insurance policy specifically designed for business owners who create and distribute content. It covers lawsuits stemming from allegations of negligence, defamation, and plagiarism. While some of these claims are covered by standard general liability insurance, publishers are excluded and would have to pay for their defense out of pocket if they didn’t get publisher’s liability insurance.
Hiscox offers publisher’s liability insurance that features both broad coverage and high limits, making it ideal for most businesses in the publishing industry. Additionally, publishers can get fast quotes online at the company’s website.