Business + Marketing

Photography Insurance: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business

June 15, 2021

By Pixsy

Photo © Reinhart Julian

Updated 10/11/22

Insuring your photography gear and business always comes with certain risks. Even the smallest photography companies require expensive cameras, lenses and computer equipment. How do you go about protecting your investment? By choosing the right photography insurance.

[Read: How I Stopped the Bleeding—Loans and Other Help]

Image protection platform Pixsy has compiled a list of options, along with solutions to common photography insurance mistakes that befall even the most experienced professionals. Below are excerpts from a blog entry on Pixsy’s website titled, All You Need to Know About Photography Insurance.

1. Photography Business Insurance Plans

The size and nature of your business determine what photography insurance you need, and at which price. In the U.S., for example, an individual can register themselves either as a sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC). 

[Read: Is Your Photo Business Ready to Face A Natural Disaster?]

Below are some common types of business photography insurance you can choose from:

Business Property Coverage

It won’t matter who’s name the photography gear is under—yours or your company’s—what matters is whether it’s used to make money. If so, you’ll need business property coverage. This protects your technical/ photography gear as well as studio furnishings like desks and chairs. Sometimes it also covers your office premises.

General Liability Coverage

General liability coverage, also referred to as photography liability insurance,  is another must-have, whether you’re photographing weddings or models in your studio. It could help pay for medical/legal costs in case of an accident (including consultations), or cover the replacement charge for any damaged items. Large clients will only hire you if you meet a minimum amount of coverage, so there’s really no option (or reason!) to avoid liability coverage.

Business Interruption Coverage 

It replaces your income in case of fire or any other disaster.

Inland Marine Insurance 

For when your property is stolen or damaged on location or in transit.

Auto Liability 

For, say, when someone breaks your car window and steals all your lighting equipment.

Studio Employee Compensation

Pays medical bills and lost wages for work-related illness or injury.

2. Become a Member of a Photography Society (for insurance)

Photography trade associations offer countless benefits to their members, and one of the most popular is insurance.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), for example, is partnered with various photography insurance companies and programs. It’s not only for photography gear: the ASMP offers access to various forms of business liability and health plans for individuals, groups, and freelancers.

[Read: Government Funding and Tax Deductions for Photographers in 2021]

For a yearly fee, this is obviously more affordable than other insurance options. You also get to enjoy various other perks such as photography festival/show discounts, portfolio listings, and free guides. [Another great option is Professional Photographers of America (PP of A).]

3. Using your Homeowner’s Insurance

Amateur, hobbyist, and dabbling photographers: take advantage of your insurance’s personal articles policy! This will differ between companies and countries, but many will specifically insure photography gear from theft and accidental damage, even if you travel.

Will it affect your premium rate? That all depends on how many additional items you add, and the size of any claims you end up making. Make sure you specify any large or expensive items in your kit.

Note that this won’t cover maintenance and any wear and tear. Furthermore, if you take photographs or sell work as an LLC, then your gear cannot be insured under a personal property or umbrella plan. 

4. Photography Equipment 
Insurance for Used Gear

Second-hand cameras and lenses make the burden of budgeting so much more bearable. Thankfully, preowned photography equipment is insurable, even if the original seller didn’t give you any proof of purchase.

The terms will vary between insurers. Some may ask for a list of the used gear, the nominal value of each item, and some proof of ownership. If the second-hand item is stolen or accidentally broken, then the insurer will usually pay out the market value. In practice, you should try and insure your used kit for a sensible replacement value.

5. Equipment Insurance for Rented Photography Gear

Most rental companies offer insurance at the time of rental. However, you should always read the terms & conditions carefully. Will they pay the full replacement value? Do they cover loss/theft as well as damage? Will you have to put the full cost of the rented equipment on your credit card as a hold?

Even if the company doesn’t offer insurance themselves, you can purchase short-term rental equipment coverage. The price may differ depending on whether you intend to use the item on or off-premises if the damage happens in another country, or if “loss of use” income is included.

How Much is Photography Insurance?

A photography insurance rate will depend on the amount of risk associated with your work and business as a photographer. The type of insurance you choose or you are perhaps required to have for a photography project will also influence rates.

According to Insureon’s data, for example, California photographers and videographers can expect to pay roughly $425 annually for general liability coverage, which is equal to the U.S. median cost. For general liability insurance, photography studio owners pay a median premium of $27 per month, or $322 annually.

There are many insurance companies that specialize in photography insurance. One popular example is Thimble, where you can get a quote online and in 60 seconds by entering only a couple of details such as your ZIP code and the type of your activity.

Furthermore, with most providers, you can choose photography insurance by the hour, day, week, month, or for a custom period such as the duration of a certain project you take on.

Look around the market and find the photography insurance that best suits your circumstances. [In addition to Thimble and Insureon, check some of these companies out as well: Hill & Usher (for coverage options), The Hartford (for employee coverage), Pro Photographers Insurance by RVNA, Hiscox and Insure My Equipment].

Featured image © Reinhart Julian