April 13th, 2015
Dean recently asked the question:
I don’t recall any posts or discussions about insurance, specifically, for those who aren’t covered by some form of liability as an agent. So, how is this addressed by both photographers and agent/photographers. My concern would be the new photographer who should secure some form of coverage, especially if they’re shooting as an independent contractor. Your input and that of others about limits, ballpark figures, etc. would be great.
First of all my guess is (I’m not a lawyer) that if you are an agent/photographer the liability insurance you have through your broker does not cover you when you are in a home in the capacity of a photographer.
Also, listing agents typically are responsible for all contractors that they give access to a property that has a listing agreement signed. This is why for the 10 years I was agent member of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service in Seattle, there was a $5,000 fine by the NWMLS for leaving a contractor unattended in a listing.
As a photographer, along with general business liability insurance you need to have your equipment insured. You should be able to get a general business insurance policy that covers your business for liability and for loss of your equipment for somewhere between $500 to $1,200 a year depending on the details and extent of your coverage.
About 3 years ago, when discussing this subject, a high volume real estate photographer in the San Diego area gave some great advice that has kept his company out of trouble for 34,000+ shoots:
- Don’t touch anything.
- Carry liability insurance.
- Require your contract photographers carry liability insurance.
- Have your customers sign a TOS that includes: “Client agrees to defend and hold Company and photographer harmless regarding any damage to property or furniture, including accusations of theft. In the event that photographer accidentally breaks or otherwise damages personal property while in the course of photographing the property, client agrees to reimburse seller for any and all expenses involved and will not demand reimbursement from Company or photographer.” This is because according to a famous article in PDN liability insurance typically doesn’t cover you if you break something,
- In all his client correspondence it’s stated that photographers are not permitted to move anything.
Here are some contacts for business insurance brokers that specialize in coverage for Photographers:
- T.C. Pickard & Co.
- Hill & Usher through National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)
- Hoffberger Insurance Group
Check out what works best for you and understand exclusions up front.