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.

COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS

Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.

Example 1: When a client visits your studio to discuss wedding photographs, she trips over an exposed cable and breaks her wrist. She demands your business pay for her medical care. General liability insurance would cover the cost of her medical treatment.

Example 2: A competitor decides you libeled them in your latest marketing campaign. While you’re uncertain what they consider libel, you know you need a legal defense as soon as possible. General liability insurance would cover your legal fees.

Example 3: After setting up your equipment inside a client’s building, you leave to eat lunch. When you return, you discover a fire — and the client claims your equipment is the cause. If a court finds you responsible for the fire, general liability insurance would cover the repair costs because your policy pays for damage to client property.

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

The average commercial photographer in America spends 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:

Graph showing average price of general liability insurance prices per industry

Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:

  • Location
  • Deductible
  • 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.

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Other Types Of Coverage Commercial 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 commercial photographers should obtain:

Commercial Property Insurance

You’ve made major investments in photography equipment and supplies to establish your business. If you own the building in which you operate, you’re responsible for all business-related property housed there in the event of a fire, burglary, or natural disaster. And, you can’t work without the proper equipment. Commercial property insurance would cover the cost of repairing or replacing your photography equipment and supplies after an accident so you can recover quickly.

Professional Liability Insurance

While you work hard to avoid making mistakes, there’s always a chance one of your clients could claim your photography services caused them damage or injury. Professional liability insurance protects you and your employees in the event of an on-the-job error by covering your legal fees if you face a lawsuit.

Types Of Coverage Some Commercial Photographers May Need

In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your commercial photography business 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.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Any vehicle you or your employees use primarily for business requires commercial auto insurance to protect the vehicle, driver, and others on the road in the event of an accident. Be sure to select a policy that covers not only accident-related vehicle repair costs and medical treatment for anyone injured, but also sufficient protection for any special equipment you carry in your vehicles.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

While your general liability insurance policy covers most claims, some accidents or lawsuits may be so catastrophic that they threaten to exhaust the limits of your primary coverage. Commercial umbrella insurance protects you from paying out-of-pocket for any legal fees and awarded damages that exceed your primary policy.

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) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
  • Streamline your business’ internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.