Frequently Asked Questions

Questions our customers ask us most

Insurance, Insurance, Insurance, love it or hate it this is now becoming an absolute requirement for the working photographer and videographer. It comes in all different shapes and sizes, from equipment cover right through Public Liability and Professional Indemnity to Legal Expenses and Business Interruption. But how much do you need? What do you need? And where is the best place to get it from?

There are a number of different covers and different insurers on the market so which are right for you?

Insurance is in reality, a necessary evil if you are running your own business. For the amateur, it is a way of protecting their no claims discount on their household policy, and for professionals it is a legitimate business expense. The covers outlined above, are just a few of the ones available – you should always check that your needs are being adequately met.

Insurance Covers Explained

Q1. Why would I cover my Equipment?

Answer:

Some photographers feel that the equipment is their “life blood” and they couldn’t do without it so for them then insurance is the most sensible solution. It means they have some “hiring in costs” should the worst happen and they need equipment to continue with work commitments whilst any claim is being considered.

There are important things to think about when covering equipment for example making sure you insure ALL of it. All insurers operate a system called “averaging”. This means that if you have a total loss claim and you have not insured all your equipment, then you will only get a proportion of the value back.

For example, if you have €10,000 worth of equipment and only insure ½ of it – say €5,000 then under the averaging clause you should not expect to receive more than ½ of your claim back – €2,500. This is something that is not unique in just the photographic market so look out for it.

If you have equipment that you don’t want to insure as you don’t use it and you feel it has no value then try and get rid of it – maybe on ebay. If you are keeping it as a back up then you should be insuring it just in case.

Another way to ensure you don’t fall foul of the “averaging” clause is to list every item you insure. This means if you have a total loss, then the items on the list will be paid for at the values you have specified. The downside to this is if you have bought a new piece of equipment and not yet notified insurers of it, it will probably not be covered. When you insure your equipment, make sure you list any item over €1,000 with the insurance company. It is wise to let them know the make, model, serial number and replacement cost from the beginning then there should be no quibbling over value. In some cases, if you are going to be abroad for a while, and not be replacing equipment it is probably worth giving them a complete list. That way, if anything happens whilst you’re abroad, they have all the details to hand.

All Insurers who provide cover for professional photographers should offer new for old cover. After all, the equipment is important to you and should the worst happen, then you will want replacement equipment. This is no good if you are insured on a 2nd hand basis! Always make sure you insure your equipment to replace, as new, should the worst happen – and make sure the insurers are quoting on a new for old basis – if not, walk away! After all, it is lovely to have a Canon 5D that you paid €500 but it would cost you around triple to replace and Insurers aren’t going to hunt around for a 2nd hand one at the value you paid so you could end up losing out!

A large number of photographers tend to try and add their equipment onto a household policy. It is really important, that if you do this you realise should you have a claim this will affect your Contents cover renewal and you need to ensure that the Insurer knows exactly what is being covered, values of equipment and the fact you are using it professionally. Don’t just take a customer service advisor’s “yes” over the phone – if it isn’t a specific photographic insurer get it in writing! It is also important to get answers to the right questions – are they covering you in unattended vehicles? What about late into the evening?

Q2. Why would I need Employers Liability Insurance?

Answer:

Employers Liability insurance is the most misunderstood cover that is available for the photographer today, as the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) would be quick enough to prosecute you if they thought you should have it and you didn’t and there was an accident with someone who was assisting you.

If you don’t have EL cover and you should have then you could be taken to court and prosecuted – the maximum penalty being 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine although this would usually be as a result of an accident to someone who was assisting you.

However, you could face a large fine and be disqualified from running a company just for having incorrect insurance. For that extra premium it really isn’t worth it?

Firstly, if you are a husband and wife team, or your sons/daughters assist then you generally do not need EL cover. If you’re in doubt, then usually a good way round it is to insure them jointly with you – that way all the cover applies to them as well as you.

The exception to this is if you are a Limited Company with 2 or more working directors then you Should have this cover even if you are a husband and wife team. It is also usual for Employers Liability to be required if you have work experience students or volunteers assisting you even if there is no payment.

Don’t be fooled – you may only have a “friend” assist you, who is not getting any payment but if something happens to them, even if they don’t try and sue you, the HSA may take up the matter

The easy way to define the differences between EL and Public Liability (PL) would be to use the example of a wedding. If you gather the bride, groom and all the family together and ask them to step back and one of them falls off a ledge and injures themselves that would be a claim under Public Liability. If the same thing happened with a student that you were training or an assistant the cover would be under EL.

Q3. Why would I need Public Liability Insurance?

Answer:

DO NOT work without Public Liability (PL). You can never be sure what will happen and although you may feel that you won’t cause any accidents, what if it is out of your hands? Someone moves your camera bag and then a member of the public falls over it? In the very worse cases, PL can literally be a lifesaver.

I believe there was a case not so long ago that demonstrated this, where a photographer was undertaking work for a Local Authority – luckily he had €5 million PL cover. As he was taking pictures of the mayor shaking hands at a Civic ceremony, he stepped back and knocked an old lady who was behind him on the pavement. She wobbled and fell, hitting her head on the corner of the paving stone separating the pavement and road. The accident left her severely brain damaged and she required constant care 24 hours a day as she was unable to look after herself. The photographer was taken to court and the family won €3.1 million in damages to ensure her care for the remainder of her life. This was a case in the UK !

Courts take a dim view of some accidents now, and with the growth of the “where there is blame there is a claim” culture, it is very important that you arrange suitable cover.

Whilst these things do happen, it should be pointed out that an incident like this is very rare, in reality you have probably better odds winning the lottery but they do happen and therefore it is important that you are covered when your numbers come up…

The other thing PL covers is 3rd party property damage. This would cover you if you damaged someone else’s property whilst conducting some photographic work.

For example, you could lean against a wall and knock part of it over with your weight as you are taking the picture! The fact that the wall was not “secure” enough is no protection in law. You would be responsible for the repair to it – after all, the property owner would argue that the wall was fine before you leaned on it!

A simple accident like this could cost in the region of a €1500 – something you wouldn’t want to have to find as a photographer! Or, a more common claim, would be knocking over something in a client’s house whilst you were there on business.
Unlike other parts of PL cover, there is traditionally a €300 excess for 3rd party property damage, so it is worth remembering to try and be as careful as you can when your dealing with others!

PL cover is for damage to another person or their property whilst Professional Indemnity or PI as it is known, covers your liability for failing to produce work to a professional standard. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides you with financial protection for your business, the costs of defending claims made against you, including damages that may become payable. Claims can occur where a client or other person suffers financial loss as a result of alleged errors or omissions on your part.

Q4. Why would I need Professional Indemnity Cover?

Answer:

PL cover is for damage to another person or their property whilst Professional Indemnity or PI as it is known, covers your liability for failing to produce work to a professional standard. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides you with financial protection for your business, the costs of defending claims made against you, including damages that may become payable. Claims can occur where a client or other person suffers financial loss as a result of alleged errors or omissions on your part.

PI cover is a MUST for one off events like weddings, where you have been booked to provide photographs, but is unlikely to be needed at events where you would “sell” photographs afterwards to make money – after all, if you don’t get the shot that is wanted you won’t sell any pictures! You may be sued unfairly by a client who is merely dissatisfied, but has no valid claim. This would involve you in substantial legal costs and non-productive time. From the legal standpoint, the position with regard to the “duty of care” is the same for any professional. If you offer a service in a specific area or set yourself up as a specialist, you owe a “duty of care” to anybody who might reasonably rely upon your service and advice over and above that owed by the ordinary man in the street.

A good example of where PI would be useful is if you were to undertake wedding photography and the bride and groom felt the pictures you produced were substandard or you were unable to produce them as the film had been lost or stolen or the data card wiped. They may then choose to issue legal proceedings against you. If this was the case, PI insurance would cover the costs of defending and/or settling the claim.

Always look to buy this cover from a reputable Insurance Provider in your specialist market. A number of High Street insurance brokers will charge you €200 to €600 for PL cover but the most common carrier usually won’t cover you whilst your in someone’s home and a number of the other Insurers just don’t understand anything about photography!

Q5. Are Public Liability and Pro Indemnity important?

Answer:

Do I need Public Liability Insurance?

This is a question we get asked almost on a daily basis! There is an easy way to tell, if you accept any money, including expenses, for any work you undertake or have undertaken then you really should have Public Liability cover. As we often advise clients, the only photographer that doesn’t need it is the photographer that can afford to lose their home so unless you fit into this small minority then you should consider this important insurance before you step out of your house.

Public Liability, or PL as it is known, covers your liability for any damage you may due to another person, or property, accidentally whilst undertaking work. This could be a simple accident such as someone falling over a tripod to being “bumped” with a long lens right through to more serious issues that could leave people scarred or disabled for life.

How bad can it get if I don’t have any PL cover?

The short answer is very bad. I believe there was a case not so long ago that demonstrated this, where a photographer was undertaking work for a Local Authority – luckily he had £5 million PL cover. As he was taking pictures of the mayor shaking hands at a Civic ceremony, he stepped back and knocked an old lady who was behind him on the pavement. She wobbled and fell, hitting her head on the corner of the paving stone separating the pavement and road. The accident left her severely brain damaged and she required constant care 24 hours a day as she was unable to look after herself. The photographer was taken to court and the family won £3.1 million in damages to ensure her care for the remainder of her life. This was a case in the UK !

Courts take a dim view of some accidents now, and with the growth of the “where there is blame there is a claim” culture, it is very important that you arrange suitable cover.

Whilst these things do happen, it should be pointed out that an incident like this is very rare, in reality you have probably better odds winning the lottery but they do happen and therefore it is important that you are covered when your numbers come up…

Surely, I can get away without it?

Still not convinced? The other thing PL covers is 3rd party property damage. This would cover you if you damaged someone else’s property whilst conducting some photographic work. For example, you could lean against a wall and knock part of it over with your weight as you are taking the picture! The fact that the wall was not “secure” enough is no protection in law. You would be responsible for the repair to it – after all, the property owner would argue that the wall was fine before you leaned on it! A simple accident like this could cost in the region of a €1,500 – something you wouldn’t want to have to find as a photographer! Or, a more common claim, would be knocking over something in a client’s house whilst you were there on business. Unlike other parts of PL cover, there is traditionally a €300 excess for 3rd party property damage, so it is worth remembering to try and be as careful as you can when your dealing with others!

Can’t I buy PL insurance anywhere?

Well yes, but not if you want to be properly covered! A number of High Street insurance brokers will charge you €200 to €650 for this cover but the most common carrier usually won’t cover you whilst your in someone’s home and a number of the other Insurers just don’t understand anything about photography! Always, always, buy this cover from a reputable specialist Photography Insurance Company – after all, the only time you’ll find out that your not covered properly is when you make a claim and then it is too late!

What level of cover do I need?

Packages are available offering €2 million, €5 million and €7 million PL cover. If you are working in hotels, restaurants, for a Local Authority or in a shopping centre then the chances are you will be asked for the €7 million option. As with anything, the more cover you require the more expensive it becomes, but €5 million seems to be a popular starting point and you can always extend to €7 million for short term cover!

If you undertake work in airports, in the air, underwater or on the ground by the side of rails or track side at motor events then you will need the high limit and expect to pay slightly more as Insurers regard these activities as a greater risk.

What is the difference between Public Liability and Professional Indemnity?

PL cover is for damage to another person or their property whilst Professional Indemnity or PI as it is known, covers your liability for failing to produce work to a professional standard. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides you with financial protection for your business, the costs of defending claims made against you, including damages that may become payable. Claims can occur where a client or other person suffers financial loss as a result of alleged errors or omissions on your part.
PI cover is a MUST for one off events like weddings, where you have been booked to provide photographs, but is unlikely to be needed at events where you would “sell” photographs afterwards to make money – after all, if you don’t get the shot that is wanted you won’t sell any pictures!

Will I always need PL & PI Insurance together?

No. As I mentioned, if you are doing one off events on a commission, then it is important that you are covered. ( Always try in the case of weddings to get the Bride & Groom to cover themselves with wedding insurance too! ) If for example, you are a landscape photographer or deal solely in Portraits, if anything was to happen you could go back and take the pictures again. This is unlikely to be the case at a wedding!

How would having Professional Indemnity Insurance help me?

You may be sued unfairly by a client who is merely dissatisfied, but has no valid claim. This would involve you in substantial legal costs and non-productive time. From the legal standpoint, the position with regard to the “duty of care” is the same for any professional. If you offer a service in a specific area or set yourself up as a specialist, you owe a “duty of care” to anybody who might reasonably rely upon your service and advice over and above that owed by the ordinary man in the street.

What is a good example of a PI claim?

A good example of where PI would be useful is if you were to undertake wedding photography and the bride and groom felt the pictures you produced were substandard or you were unable to produce them as the film had been lost or stolen or the data card wiped. They may then choose to issue legal proceedings against you. If this was the case, PI insurance would cover the costs of defending and/or settling the claim.

What should I do next?

• Always make sure that the cover you have in force is suitable. If you have bought PL cover from a High Street broker, write to them and make sure that it will cover you for the work you do. Never accept their word over the phone – if they won’t put it in writing to you, even by email, then you have No proof that you are covered.

• Always use a reputable Insurer. If the company that you are with do not offer PL or PI cover, then the chances are they are not designed for the professional market. There are a couple of well known insurance companies that actively advertise photographic insurance but do not offer PI cover – don’t use them if you are a wedding photographer – they don’t offer the cover that is right for you.

• Try and always support your Association. They go to great lengths to find a reputable company for you to use, plus, if you are unhappy with the service the company offers you can always complain to the Association – they may have more sway on your behalf!

• Never, never, leave the house, or invite clients around without PL cover if you are earning money from photography. The risks are too great!

Insurance Companies want you to be safe and not make claims, as much as you do but my advice is don’t take the gamble – you can buy combined Pl and PI cover from as little as €270 a year from CameraInsurance.ie

Q6. Why is Wedding Insurance important to me?

Answer:

Weddings? Love or hate them they are the bread and butter of a photographer’s existence. Sometimes it can get a bit too much with the bride issuing instructions on one hand and the groom requesting something else – and watch out for the all important mother or mother-in-law too!

One photographer insured with us said,” I always follow what the bride has requested. If anyone else wants anything I tell them to channel it through the bride and as a result I have never had a claim or complaint. After all, it is the bride’s big day why shouldn’t she have everything the way she wants it?”

This is the way that this photographer works, it might not be the best for you but having a clear defined line of communication helps the couple and you enjoy the day!

It is very important when taking pictures at a wedding that you are protected as a photographer – not just for your own peace of mind with your equipment, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity but what if something goes wrong on the other side? What if the Bride or Groom don’t turn up? Fall ill or are hospitalised? Did you get your fee paid in full before you set out that morning? Did you turn down other bookings to be available?

There are some practical steps to making sure YOUR day isn’t ruined either, like ensuring the couple have signed a contract with you and that they are insured as well – after all if they don’t get married do you think they will still pay the remainder of YOUR fee? And what about the loss of revenue for pictures you might sell after the event to friends and family?

Wedding Insurance will often help to protect members indirectly should their service be contracted. Most Wedding Insurance providers will cover the Bride and Groom for: Cancellation, Rearrangement, Failure of Suppliers, Wedding Rings and Cars, Personal Accident and Wedding Gifts and Personal Liability. Wedding Plan is one of the UK’s leading Wedding Insurance providers and provides peace of mind for thousands of couples each year.

Here are some practical tips to ensure everything goes RIGHT for you:

1) Ensure the couple sign a contract with you.

This should limit your liability if anything goes wrong to the fee they have paid. This means that they are unlikely to try and claim thousands of pounds off you if something goes wrong. The average cost of a wedding today is around €18,500 and the last thing you want is the couple trying to claim that you ruined their “big day” and asking for that kind of cost off you!

2) Ensure you have Professional Indemnity cover.

If you do something wrong, miss pictures or wipe your hard drive or lose your film the couple will hold you responsible. What if you pack all your equipment away, with all the pictures you have taken and whilst you are shaking hands with the bride and groom someone steals all the equipment out of your car? Whilst they may be sympathetic on the night you can be sure that a solicitor’s letter will be on the way to you after their honeymoon! Professional Indemnity ensures that YOU do not have to compensate them yourself – and also helps to protect you against frivolous claims from couples who “over spent” on their honeymoon and now need to get some money back..

3) Get your fee paid IN FULL in advance.

If something goes wrong, or they are not happy on the day, they could refuse to pay you. Even if they have signed a contract, there will be considerable time and energy wasted trying to secure the money back from them and it may involve court proceedings. Get your money in full up front, means that you don’t have to worry about this.

4) Consider Legal Expenses Cover.

Legal Expenses cover is available to buy from us for just under €25 a year and will cover you up to €100,000 of legal costs. This will help if you have not been paid correctly or if you need to defend against a claim or someone uses your work without your permission.

5) Insist the couple have Wedding Insurance.

If the couple ask you “are you insured” then your answer should be “yes I am, are you?” In cases like this we suggest that you might like to avoid working for them unless they have Wedding Insurance. After all, if they are so concerned about you – shouldn’t you be concerned about them? In any event, this will help them if something goes wrong on the day / night. If they don’t have the cover, advise them to look on the web where there is more information available.

It is important to note, that a majority of weddings go off without a hitch but there will always be those where it seems that everything goes wrong, not just for the couple but for the photographer too! By following these 5 simple steps it will help protect your business, and let you get on with the important work of taking photographers secure in the knowledge that should anything go wrong there are Insurers and professionals to advise and deal with it on your behalf.

If you are ever in doubt, then give us a call and we can try and advise you further. If your not insured with us, then give your own Insurers a ring – they should be able to help you too… and remember to say cheese! After all, it’s your day too…

Q7. Should I insure my equipment for use as a Pro?

Answer:

This is always the most difficult question to answer but as long as you remember the most important insurance to have is Public Liability and then Professional Indemnity you should be ok.

Some photographers feel that the equipment is their “life blood” and they couldn’t do without it so for them then insurance is the most sensible solution. It means they have some “hiring in costs” should the worst happen and they need equipment to continue with work commitments whilst any claim is being considered.

Keeping clear of the Averaging Clause

There are important things to think about when covering equipment for example making sure you insure ALL of it. All insurers operate a system called “averaging”. This means that if you have a total loss claim and you have not insured all your equipment, then you will only get a proportion of the value back. For example, if you have €10,000 worth of equipment and only insure ½ of it – say €5,000 then under the averaging clause you should not expect to receive more than ½ of your claim back – €2,500. This is something that is not unique in just the photographic market so look out for it. If you have equipment that you don’t want to insure as you don’t use it and you feel it has no value then try and get rid of it – maybe on eBay. If you are keeping it as a back up then you should be insuring it just in case.

Listing equipment

Another way to ensure you don’t fall foul of the “averaging” clause is to list every item you insure. This means if you have a total loss, then the items on the list will be paid for at the values you have specified. The downside to this is if you have bought a new piece of equipment and not yet notified insurers of it, it will probably not be covered. When you insure your equipment, make sure you list any item over €1,000 with the insurance company. It is wise to let them know the make, model, serial number and replacement cost from the beginning then there should be no quibbling over value. In some cases, if you are going to be abroad for a while, and not be replacing equipment it is probably worth giving them a complete list. That way, if anything happens whilst you’re abroad, they have all the details to hand.

Laptops

I advise you list photographic equipment slightly differently from computer related stuff but always list laptops even if they are under the minimum amount! These are likely to be the most common item that gets stolen.

New for Old cover

All Insurers who provide cover for professional photographers should offer new for old cover. After all, the equipment is important to you and should the worst happen, then you will want replacement equipment. This is no good if you are insured on a 2nd hand basis! Always make sure you insure your equipment to replace, as new, should the worst happen – and make sure the insurers are quoting on a new for old basis – if not, walk away! After all, it is lovely to have a Canon 5D that you paid €500 but it would cost you around triple to replace and Insurers aren’t going to hunt around for a 2nd hand one at the value you paid so you could end up losing out!

Adding cover to a Household policy

A large number of photographers tend to try and add their equipment onto a household policy. It is really important, that if you do this you realise should you have a claim this will affect your Contents cover renewal and you need to ensure that the Insurer knows exactly what is being covered, values of equipment and the fact you are using it professionally. Don’t just take a customer service advisor’s “yes” over the phone – if it isn’t a specific photographic insurer get it in writing! It is also important to get answers to the right questions – are they covering you in unattended vehicles? What about late into the evening? With professional cover starting at around €113 with Camera Insurance it makes sense to ensure your current policy really is fit for purpose…

Where is the cover provided?

You can cover all your photographic / video making equipment, lighting, computer and film processing too! Cover is offered in the UK and Eire as standard and up to 60 days worldwide cover is provided with more available on request. Some insurers only go to 45 days so watch out! Alternatively, at Camera Insurance we have an insurer who will offer unlimited worldwide cover and you can call us to find out more on this.

What are the most important things to remember when I insure my equipment?

These are a few simple steps to remember – trying to stick to this should help you in managing your business:

1) Always act as if you have no insurance. That way, you are less likely to have a claim.
2) List all items over €1,000 to replace with serial, make and model and replacement cost and give this list to the Insurers.
3) Never under insure! It is ok to be slightly over, but never be under on your replacement costs.
4) Keep a list of all equipment you own and update it regularly. This will help if you need to make a claim.
5) Never assume you are covered on your household policy unless you have it in writing from your insure and they are fully aware of the equipment you have and the fact that you are using it for professional purposes.

By remembering these few steps, hopefully you will have a quicker response in the event of you having to make a claim. Remember, insurance can sometimes be a necessary evil…

Camera Insurance is a registered business name of the O'Loughlin Insurance Group. D O'Loughlin & Co Ltd. T/A O'Loughlin Insurance Group is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Registered in Dublin No. 104227. Registered Office: Little North Street, Swords, Co Dublin. Directors: Derek Balfe, Stephen Brack, Paul O'Loughlin, Michelle Richardson