About General Liability Insurance
All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).
Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHER
Example 1: During a customer photo shoot, your client trips on a power cord. This causes a light tower to fall and injure the client. General liability insurance would cover you against bodily injury claims and potential payouts.
Example 2: You are hired as a personal photographer for a high-profile property. After the photoshoot, pictures from inside the house, taken on a smartphone, appear on social media. The owner accuses you and your team of taking and posting the pictures, then files a lawsuit against your business. A general liability policy may be able to cover the legal fees and any money awarded to the property owner.
Example 3: While taking pictures of a client’s property, you accidentally crack an antique mirror. The mirror is one-of-a-kind and quite expensive. Your general liability policy may be able to cover the cost of the damaged antique.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
Cost Of General Liability Insurance
On average, real estate photographers in America spend between $300 - $600 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
Other Types Of Coverage Real Estate Photographers Need
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all real estate photographers should obtain:
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance, commonly known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) is a coverage every real estate photographer should consider. As a photographer, events often occur that are out of your control. If a memory card fails, causing you to lose pictures from an event, you could face a court challenge. Whether from human error or faulty equipment, a professional liability policy protects you from such claims.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Real estate photographers use their own vehicles to drive from one client home to the next. Since most personal auto policies will not cover business pursuits, your state will require you to carry a certain level of commercial auto insurance.
In addition to requiring insurance, your state may also mandate the minimum coverage all drivers must carry. To shield you properly against potential losses, consider your personal and professional financial situation when selecting your commercial auto insurance limits. Consider selecting a limit higher than required by your state.
You can typically purchase commercial auto insurance as part of a business owners’ policy (BOP).
Types Of Coverage Some Real Estate Photographers May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your real estate photographer may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Home-Based Business Insurance
Since this type of business involves regular work in the field, many real estate photography business owners opt to operate out of their homes. If you then store your equipment in your residence when it’s not in use, you’re leaving a potential insurance coverage gap. If your home suffers a loss, or an accident occurs as a result of business activities, you may find you are uninsured or underinsured for these losses. Home-based business insurance fills in those gaps, protecting against losses excluded by a standard homeowners policy.
You can typically purchase home-based business insurance as a part of a business owners policy (BOP). For an additional premium, some homeowner’s insurance policies offer this coverage as a rider (an extension of coverage).
Additional Steps To Protect Your Business
Although it’s easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business’ financial losses after an incident occurs, but it’s much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to protect your personal assets. (Visit our step-by-step guides to learn how to form an LLC or corporation in your state.)
- Stay up to date with business licensing.
- Streamline your business’ internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
Steps After Getting Business Insurance
Depending on where you are in your business building process, here are some other actions you may need to take before getting started:
- If you’re just starting, finding the best name for your business is a great first step. Check out TRUiC’s Business Name Generator.
- After finding the perfect name, get a logo with our Logo Generator.
- Every business needs a website. Using a website builder like the GoDaddy Website Builder or Wix makes building a website simple and fast! Check out our review of the Best Website Builder.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner's policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company's needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it's best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can't buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.