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April 11, 2022

What insurances should a freelance photographer have?

Written by Dinghy

Whether your thing is weddings, family portraits, product photography or photojournalism, we here at Dinghy love supporting freelance photographers and keeping them snap-happy.

While, most of the time, life as a freelance photographer is picture-perfect, there’s always the chance that things can go wrong – unhappy clients, studio mishaps or tech troubles to name just a few. That’s why we always recommend that our freelance photographers are kitted out with proper business insurance before they start work. But what exactly do all the different types of business insurance mean, and which ones do you need when working as a freelance photographer?

Our article will help you see the bigger picture, so you can make sure that you’re perfectly framed to get going with your freelance photography business.

Professional indemnity insurance for freelance photographers

It might sound a bit more James Bond than portrait photographer, but professional indemnity insurance is a must for anyone setting up their own photography business. This insurance protects you from claims of negligence, bad advice or mistakes in your work. As a photographer, it’s often the case that clients don’t see the final outcomes of your work until some way down the process – when a lot of hard work has already been done. Professional indemnity insurance is there to step in when a client claims your work has left them out of pocket or caused them loss or reputational damage. This could include things like:

  • Negligence: mistakes or careless work that affects your clients
  • Bad advice: if you told your client to do something a certain way, but it all goes wrong
  • Defamation, libel & slander: if something you write or say about someone else is untrue and causes them reputational damage or distress
  • Copyright breach: when you’re accused of stealing or copying someone else’s work or images
  • Breach of confidentiality: if you let slip personal or sensitive data

Example professional indemnity claim for a photographer:

After a busy, long day covering a wedding, you return home via taxi and fall into bed. The next day you reach for your camera bags to make sure you back-up the photographs of the couple’s special day as soon as possible. Unfortunately, one of the memory cards has fallen out of your bag somewhere along the way and all the photos of the ceremony are lost. Your heart sinks as you know those pictures are completely irreplaceable. The clients decide to claim against you for not providing the service you’ve promised and being negligent in losing their precious memories.

If you are insured with Dinghy, professional indemnity insurance will step in here and provide legal expertise and cover the costs of defending this case and putting things right, including any damages that are awarded to the other side. However, if you were uninsured, you could find yourself scrambling around trying to find legal support, and scraping together finances – not an easy task if you have an uncertain income.

Public liability insurance for small photography businesses

Public liability insurance is heavily recommended if you work out and about as part of your photography business. If you visit studios, venues, client premises or shoot out in public, you will come into contact with the general public, clients and employees of other businesses.

Accidents happen all the time, especially when there are hazards about, like the trailing wires, light stands, equipment bags that you find on a typical shoot. Public liability insurance provides a type of cover that protects other people and their property from harm, injury or damage caused by your actions in the course of your business. You’ll find that it’s often a contractual requirement if you’re shooting on location or in venues like hotels and churches.

Example public liability insurance claim:

You’ve set up a tripod in a public park to take some relaxed family portraits for a client. Unfortunately, a father running after his toddler trips over the leg of your tripod, and injures his arm and back, meaning he needs eight weeks off work as a builder. He makes a claim against you for expenses and lost income related to his injury and recuperation. Dinghy public liability insurance would kick in here; the legal team take on the handling of the claim, and defence costs and any damages or compensation that need to be paid to put things right are covered. If you were uninsured, you could find yourself with hefty legal bills and need to take time off your job to get your defence and legal representation sorted out.

Gadget and business equipment insurance for photographers

The tools of the trade for a photographer tend to be pricey ones: high-end cameras and lenses, top-spec laptops, powerful lights and a whole host of little bits and pieces that need carrying out and about when you’re working. But you’d find it really hard to get on with your job without them. And could you afford to replace them from your own pocket? Having camera equipment insurance that covers loss, theft or damage to your precious gear is highly advised for freelance photographers.

Example business equipment insurance claim:

You’re hanging out in the lobby of a client’s headquarters while you wait for someone to come down and escort you around to take some shots and professional portraits for their website. You wonder if you’ve been forgotten about, so you head over to the reception desk again to ask what the delay is. As your back is turned, someone casually strolls over to where you were sitting and swipes two bags containing your laptop and an expensive DSLR camera. You’re devastated – and unable to work until you find a replacement. Dinghy’s business equipment insurance promises cover against loss, theft and damage for any equipment owned by your business, anywhere in the world. We offer a 24-hour replacement policy – we’ll get you new gear like-for-like or the cash in your bank the very next day so that you can get back to freelancing.

Cyber insurance for freelancer photographers

A growing and ever-present threat to anyone who does business online is cybercrime and ransomware attacks. If you use email, store client photographs digitally, operate a website or social media, these could all be avenues of vulnerability to unscrupulous cybercriminals. Cyber insurance is a new product on offer to our freelancers, to help protect them against the threats of criminal activity online.

Example cyber liability insurance claim: You’ve just finished editing a product photoset for a client’s new catalogue. They need the photographs by the end of the week so that they hit their print deadline. As you log onto your laptop to transfer across the finished files to the designer, panic sets in. You can’t seem to get your computer to start up…and there’s an utterly terrifying ransom message across the screen, demanding a huge sum of money to regain control of your files. You’ve been the target of a cyber-attack. What can you do?

If you’ve got cyber insurance cover from Dinghy, we can step in at this point and help you through to the other side. You’ll have a team of legal and tech experts in cybercrime ready to step in from ReSecure, who have a 24-hour helpline and can guide you through the process of determining the cause of the breach, recovering your data and getting your systems back up and running again. The policy will also provide financial support in providing ransoms, restoring data, any interruptions to business and any penalties that you become liable for up to policy limits.

Get insured today – with added Freelancer Assist

Designed with freelance creatives like you in mind, Dinghy freelancer insurance offers you the option to add all of the above policies and the ability to pause your policies when you’re not working (handy if your business is largely seasonal, like wedding photography). All our policies also come bundled with our Freelancer Assist service at no extra cost. This service is the freelancer’s sidekick, offering access to tax, counselling and legal advice helplines as well as a dedicated invoice-chasing service to help you recover unpaid debts from clients.

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