For many businesses and organisations these days, their website is everything. It’s their advertising, branding, sales portal, customer database, shop window and much, much more. So when a client gets you in to work on their web presence, they are putting a whole heap of trust in your hands. Once something is published on the web, there’s no taking it back. We’ve seen how, even if you can edit and correct mistakes, all it takes is for the site to have been archived or a screenshot taken, for a bad decision or a careless mistake to go viral.
That’s why here at Dinghy we always recommend that our freelance web designers get a good package of business insurance in place before they start work.
The world of business insurance can be confusing. There are lots of different types of policy, and they all seem to come with incomprehensible jargon that makes them impossible to understand. In this guide, we have laid out simply what different types of freelance business insurance a web designer should consider. We recommend having cover in place before you start work because there’s always a risk that things could go wrong or you could make mistakes, but if you haven’t yet sorted out insurance, today is better than tomorrow, and tomorrow is better than never.
Professional indemnity insurance
Think of this as the policy that protects you, your finances, and your reputation. In some ways, it acts as a guarantee on your work. If a client accuses you of making a mistake in the course of your work or claims that something you’ve done has caused them a loss, they may try to take you to court to recover that money. This could be for things like: negligence (if you don’t take proper care); giving bad advice; defamation; copyright breach; or breach of confidentiality.
In this instance, if you didn’t have insurance, you’d be out on your own, footing heavy bills, trying to sort out a legal defence. Having a claim against you is likely to cause you stress, worry and fill your to-do list with tasks that take you away from the rest of your work. With professional indemnity you would typically get a team of expert lawyers to fight the case on your behalf, and cover any legal fees and compensation awarded to the other side. It’s also worth remembering that even if you don’t think you have made any mistakes, you would still have to defend yourself against an allegation if a client made one. Proving that you’re in the right can be a costly business. Professional indemnity claims also might not emerge straightaway – a client typically has 6 years to claim against your PI insurance.
Example claim: You’ve created a website for a jewellery business. While you wait for images to be ready from a photographer, you pop some stock images in as placeholders. However, when you publish the website, you forget to switch the images over. The original copyright owner sees that the images have been used without permission, and tries to claim for copyright infringement.
Public liability insurance
This is the policy that protects other people around you and their property. It insures against injury or harm to another person, or damage to property and belongings, caused by you in the course of your business. This could include things like accidents when you’re working out and about, damage to a client’s premises when you’re visiting or accidentally breaking a client’s expensive equipment. These types of claims can be costly and stressful, especially when people have been hurt.
Example claim: You’re working from a coffee shop, just putting the finishing touches to a client’s new website. A barista rushes past with a tray of hot drinks, and trips over the strap of your laptop bag. They are badly scalded and have turned their ankle, meaning they can’t work for a few weeks. The barista lodges a personal injury claim against your business.
Business equipment insurance
This is the policy that protects expensive kit and gear owned by your business. As a web designer, your computer or laptop is an essential tool that enables you to do your job. If it’s damaged, lost or stolen, you’re stuffed. You can’t work without it, and it’s not cheap to replace. As a freelance graphic designer, you may want to consider a policy that offers a quick claim turnaround time. For example, at Dinghy we offer a no-quibble business equipment insurance policy for freelancers, where we’ll replace your gear with new or send you cash to get a replacement within 24 hours. This policy offers worldwide cover for any equipment that is owned by your business.
Example claim: A friend in a co-working space is helping you take a closer look at the code for a webpage you’re struggling with. As they lean in, they knock a coffee all over your precious MacBook, and the screen goes black.
Business insurance tailored for freelancers
Dinghy lets you pick and choose the elements that you need to build the perfect flexible freelance business insurance package for your business. All policies are pay-monthly with no hidden fees and admin charges. Because we understand the ebbs and flows of freelance life, you can turn your policy on to lite mode when you’re on holiday or between projects, saving you money when you’re not working. A quote for web designer insurance takes just 30 seconds from our website.
All Dinghy business insurance policies for freelancers also come with the added bonus of our Freelancer Assist service. This is how we make sure that our freelancers know that they’re not alone. Through Freelancer Assist, we offer tax, legal and counselling helplines; support in the event of a tax investigation; and lost earnings cover if you’re called up to do jury duty. We also know that sometimes, the real struggle for freelance web designers is getting paid. When a client ignores your invoices at the end of a project, where do you turn? Freelancer Assist will help you chase up any unpaid invoices worth more than £200, getting our expert team of lawyers on your side to recover the debt. This allows you to focus on your web design projects and not waste time sending chaser emails and trying to get through on the phone to unscrupulous non-paying clients! Often a little nudge from our team is more than enough to get the money in your bank account sharpish.