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Why Photographers & Videographers Need Business Insurance

Client and Extensia Studios at Video shoot - Photo by Cory Meli of Extensia Studios

Imagine this for a moment: You are hosting a conference for your company. You’ve hired a videographer to capture footage of the conference, including the on-stage presenters, interviews, the keynote speaker, and the overall event. While filming, one of the videographer’s 200W lights falls from a light stand and causes damage to property at the venue. Or worse, it results in an injury to one of your guests. Who is liable?

This scenario underscores the critical importance of liability insurance for event videographers, event photographers, and any company that produces and films video productions.

Everyone knows that insurance can protect a company from incidentals such as loss or theft of equipment, but it is also required to lease any office space. And more importantly, it protects the client should there be any damage or injury as a result of an accident while filming.

Insights I learned through Derrick

Many years ago, I was hired by an insurance brokerage company here in Toronto called PROLINK Insurance to produce a series of videos. The videos featured the company president and CEO, Derrick Leue, as he provided explanations of the various insurance opportunities and the benefits of the various coverages offered to the insurer. The scripts were very well written and explanatory, and they provided in-depth insights on the importance of insurance to any business.

Derrick elaborated on the benefits and even provided me with direct reasons why insurance was so important to anyone in my area of business (Photography and Video production). One of the key takeaways that I learned from Derrick was that proper coverage would protect me personally and my company (if incorporated) from any litigious claims due to damage or injury others allege that I caused. I just bought a new home, so my personal assets needed protection.

My previous business insurance policy was horrible. I knew that the insurance broker didn’t know how to prepare my business insurance policy, and I was overpaying for very questionable coverage. Since this policy’s term was coming to an end, I asked Derrick if he could help me build/find a policy to support the needs of my business - and he did. That was approximately 15 years ago, and ever since then, I have been a loyal client of PROLINK Insurance, knowing that they have my best interest in mind.

Why is it so important for people in my industry (photographers and videographers) to have business insurance?

Here are three examples of why we need proper coverage and why you (as a hiring client) need to be sure your event photographers and/or videographers all have insurance before they are hired.

Protecting the company: Scenario 1

Camera with flash and other photography gear - Photo by Cory Meli, Extensia Studios

Most people I know in my field have ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ invested in their equipment. This includes everything from cameras, lenses, lighting sets, sound recording equipment, computer edit suites and more. Should there be any loss of equipment (whether it be from theft or damage due to a fire), we need to be sure that all the gear can be replaced at full value. We need to get back to work quickly and efficiently, or other projects can suffer, snowballing into further financial loss for the company.

For example, my edit suite (Studio Mac with monitors) costs approximately $10,000, and I wouldn’t be able to resurrect my edit system if my Insurance policy were to reimburse me only a portion of the costs. I need coverage that would support the purchase of a new edit suite (Mac Studio with monitors) in the event of a total loss of that asset. A 50% payment for the loss of my gear (assets) would not be sufficient to rebuild.

We need to get back to work quickly and efficiently, or other projects might suffer, causing a snowball effect of additional financial loss for my company.

Protecting the Business Owner: Scenario 2

Behind the scenes shot of a videoshoot - Photo by Cory Meli of Extensia Studios

Every photographer and videographer I know works very hard to build their lives. A few years ago, a videographer I often worked with purchased a new home, and through our discussions, I learned that he did not have any business insurance. I remembered what I learned from Derrick and shared the same concern. Should there be any accident or injury on a location while filming, he could be personally sued for any damages. Bye-bye, new home! The team at PROLINK will explain to you that your homeowners’ insurance will not cover any liability resulting from your business.

I strongly urge all event photographers, videographers, and content creators to ensure that you all have appropriate business insurance coverage that protects not only your equipment but also protects you from any litigious claims against you personally. My insurance policy even includes an amount to cover any legal fees, including a designated amount for a lawyer, should there ever be a need to have counsel in any civil suit.

Protecting the clients: Scenario 3

As a business owner, I am responsible for my staff, the location, all equipment, and my clients' budgetary investments. Should my staff or equipment cause damage or injury on location during a shoot, then I am the one who should be held liable—not my client or their company.

As a client, you need to be sure that any external supplier you hire for your event or production has the proper Insurance coverage to cover any possible damage to property or injury. Ensuring that suppliers have suitable insurance coverage protects you and your company from any liability should an incident happen.

Selfie of a Client with Cory at a informational videoshoot - Photo by Cory Meli of Extensia Studios

How to approach the topic of insurance with your external suppliers:

I have had only a few occasions where a client asked me for a Certificate of Insurance (COI) prior to a shoot, which I gladly provide (at no additional cost).

If you (as a client) have hired an external photographer and/or videographer to be present on location for a shoot, then all you need to do is ask your supplier for a COI (Certificate of Insurance). Inform them that this is a requirement for your company—which it most likely is.

Be sure that the Policy number and certificate holder (you or your company) are clearly stated and that the policy has not expired. At the very least, your supplier should have a minimum of $2 million of commercial general liability coverage.

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