To protect your tattoo studio, you may need a wide variety of insurance to cover your studio’s liability, the building, equipment and lost income after taking damage. But some companies are making the process easier by offering all the coverage you need in a tidy package.
Your tattoo shop needs the same types of business and employer insurance common to many businesses. However, it also needs protection for the specialized risks of creating permanent art on your customers’ skin.
Tattoo-specific business insurance needs
Necessary coverage because of risks specific to owning a tattoo shop may include:
Equipment breakdown. Insures you for equipment malfunctions, so you can get it repaired or replaced.
Medical malpractice. Safeguards customers when getting the tattoo leads to an injury or illness. Also pays legal costs for a liability claim, regardless of if your shop was negligent.
Product liability. Protects you if you sell a product that injures a customer or causes other damage, such as a skin rash caused by your lotion.
Tattoo insurance packages. Bundles all the necessary coverage together into one package.
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General liability. Pays for your legal defense against claims for physical injuries, property damage or advertising mistakes.
Public liability. Covers you if customers or visitors hurt themselves on your property and decide to sue. Injuries covered aren’t related to tattooing.
Workers’ compensation. Protects your tattoo artists if they suffer a work-related illness or injury.
Commercial property. Covers your tattoo shop, inventory and equipment from weather or theft damage.
Business interruption. Kicks in if you shut down your business for any event covered under your property insurance, such as fire or vandalism.
How does tattoo insurance work?
Since tattoo insurance covers your business’s liability, it can come as a claims-made policy or occurrence policy.
Occurrence policy means you’ll receive coverage as long as the work happened during the policy period.
Claims-made policy means that you must have performed the work during the same policy period as the customer made the claim against you.
However, a claims-made policy may allow you to purchase coverage that extends to previous work when starting a new policy period.
Also, your policy comes with a coverage limit per claim and an aggregate limit. The aggregate limit is the maximum amount the company will pay during the policy period.
What do tattoo insurance packages cover?
Different companies offer a variety of coverage with their tattoo insurance packages, but common coverage includes:
Personal injuries like slander, libel or advertising mistakes
Medical payments for customer injuries
Communicable diseases — Covers legal defense and costs if customers claim they received a transferable disease at your tattoo shop
Assault or sexual abuse — Protects against claims that your tattoo artists assaulted a customer
Are there requirements for tattoo insurance coverage?
To weed out increased risks, your insurance company may require certain guidelines to get coverage. Requirements may include:
A minimum number of years in business
Specific safety and sanitation procedures
Signed waivers from customers
What should I watch out for?
Your policy may include a list of exclusions, although these differ based on the insurance company. Some companies exclude or limit these items, while others cover these risks at an additional cost:
Guest tattoo artists. Some companies won’t cover artists working at your shop temporarily, while others allow guest artists with a certain level of experience.
Conventions. Make sure your insurance covers you if you’re tattooing at an event.
Extensive tattooing. Some companies won’t protect customers who get tattoos across a large part of their bodies.
Tattoo removal. This service adds extra risk and may not be covered by every company.
Illegal acts. Any injuries or damage that happens because of criminal actions won’t receive coverage.
Examples of tattoo shop risks
Your tattoo shop carries a variety of risks that involve the health and well-being of customers. Some examples include:
Someone slips and falls at your shop
A client doesn’t like your work
A client gets an infection from your needles
A client has an allergic reaction to the ink
An artist gives faulty aftercare instructions
A stranger vandalizes your shop, damaging equipment
Compare business insurance for tattoo studios
A packaged tattoo insurance policy may offer all the coverage you need, including standard business insurance and coverage for communicable diseases, sexual assault and professional liability. But many insurance companies vary in their offerings, while others include requirements to qualify. To find the best fit for you, compare several tattoo insurance companies on the market.
Frequently asked questions about tattoo insurance
Tattoo insurance can cover a variety of work, including:
Mobile tattoo art
Tattoo art or body piercings for minors
Stretching or gauging
Yes, some insurance companies start coverage as soon as you’re approved.
It depends. If the freelance tattoo artist works at a parlor or shop, the owner may offer insurance coverage to contractors. Artists not covered under the shop’s insurance should consider purchasing a separate policy.
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