Find out what type of insurance you need as a photographer, what's included and how much it's likely to cost.
What is photography insurance?
Photography insurance is business insurance tailored to the needs of photographers.
Professional photographers usually have expensive specialist equipment, and often carry expensive cameras around with them. Insurance for photographers combines some of the standard elements of business insurance, like indemnity and liability insurance, with cover for the tools used by photographers in the course of their work.
What insurance does a photographer need?
Depending on the type of work you do or photography business you run, you will need different elements of cover.
A common thing all photographers are likely to need is cover for cameras and other equipment. Professional photography equipment can run into thousands of pounds, and, as your business is dependent on at least some of this gear, you’d want to protect it to make sure you can get back to work as quickly as possible if your tools of the trade are damaged, lost or stolen.
Other than that, depending on where you work and in what capacity, you might also need professional indemnity insurance, public liability cover and employers’ liability cover.
You might also want to consider things like legal expenses cover, personal accident cover and van insurance if those are relevant to your business needs.
More information on all of these cover types can be found further down the page.
Why do photographers need insurance?
Professional camera equipment can cost several thousands of pounds. Other equipment used by professional photographers, like tripods and reflectors, can also be very expensive. Getting insurance cover for these items will make it easier to replace them if they are lost, stolen or damaged, without going into potential financial difficulties or losing out on income if you can’t afford to replace them straight away.
Additionally, if a photographer takes jobs or commissions from other people, like weddings or studio photography, having indemnity and liability insurance in place is a good idea in case anything goes wrong, as third party claims can sometimes go up to millions of pounds in compensation payouts.
What does photography insurance cover?
Policy specifications will vary by insurer and depend on the level of cover you choose to suit your needs, but business insurance for photographers can include the following:
- Photography equipment insurance. As you are likely to spend a lot of time out and about on assignments, your cameras and equipment can be stolen or lost, or become damaged while you’re on location. Some of the tools of your trade, like camera lenses and tripods, can be particularly susceptible to breakage and theft, and replacing them can be expensive. This type of cover helps with that.
- Professional indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance covers you against claims of negligence by clients. For example, if you’re hired as the photographer for a wedding and either something goes wrong or the client is not happy with the results, this type of policy can help with legal costs and compensation payments, up to the limit of your policy (this can vary from a few thousand pounds to several millions).
- Public liability insurance. Whether you have your own studio or not, public liability cover protects you in case a member of the public is injured or their property is damaged and your photography business is legally liable. For example, if someone trips over some of your equipment on a shoot or is injured on your premises.
- Employers’ liability insurance. If you employ staff, you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance, to protect both your crew and yourself in case legal action is taken against you.
Other types of cover you might wish to take out include:
- Van cover. If you carry around a lot of equipment, you might choose to drive a van to your appointments. If this is the case, van insurance is for you. This type of policy often includes cover for equipment, as well as other benefits found in regular car insurance. It’s important to note that most car insurance policies don’t include business use, so it’s worth checking the details of your policy if you use your car for work.
- Legal expenses. While liability compensation payouts can run to millions, other costs involved in a court case can also be a serious burden. Legal expenses cover can help make the whole experience less stressful.
- Personal accident. Photographers can sometimes find themselves in stressful or even dangerous situations, which can lead to injury. Personal accident cover helps out with lost income, medical costs and hospitalisation benefit in case of serious injury or even death.
- Contents insurance. If you have your own studio, business contents insurance can help you replace things like fixtures and fittings if they are damaged by an insured incident, as well as camera equipment and employees’ personal belongings, if they’re damaged, lost or stolen.
What equipment is covered under photographer insurance?
This will depend on the type of policy and your needs, but most photographer insurance policies will include cover for the following:
- Cameras (including SLRs and DSLRS)
- Camera lenses
- Flashguns and strobes
These are just a few examples of equipment that can be included in your photography cover. Some policies might also offer cover while your equipment is in your car or van.
If you have your own studio, you can also take out business contents cover that protects the fitting and fixtures in your studio, as well as other items on your premises.
Common claims examples
- Wedding day disaster. Working at a wedding can be great fun, but also a lot of pressure, as you are creating a record of one of the most important days of the couple’s life. In most cases, it’s likely that you will end up with beautiful pictures and happy newlyweds, but mishaps can happen and so it’s best to be protected. For example, your memory card might become corrupted and all your pictures are lost as a result. The bride and groom are likely to be extremely disappointed if this happens and, even though it may not be your fault, they are within their rights to take action against you. Having professional indemnity insurance in place can help you with legal costs and any compensation payments you might have to pay.
- On-set accidents. Photoshoots can be chaotic places, with many people running around. This can lead to someone tripping over a bit of equipment you own, like a tripod. If this happens, you could be liable for any injury this person sustains. Taking out public liability cover can help you with legal expenses and compensation payments.
- Theft of equipment. Having your property stolen is always devastating. However, when your livelihood depends on these items, it can have an even greater effect on your life. For professional photographers, some of this equipment can be very expensive to replace, and so getting insurance cover can mean the difference between being able to jump back in the game, or having to turn down jobs while you save up for new camera equipment.
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