If You Break A 2600 Year Archaeological Specimen Worth $300,000 During A Shoot Are You Covered?

May 3rd, 2012

According to a recent article in PDN:

According to a lawsuit filed April 24 in New York state supreme court, the 2,600 year-old archaeological specimen was destroyed when “photographers” hired by Art + Auction magazine to photograph the statue moved it. The “photographers” aren’t named in the lawsuit, which is against Art + Auction’s owner, Louise Blouin Media. But the New York papers have identified the photographer as fashion shooter Eric Guillemain.

When this kind of problem comes up you want to have a good solid insurance company to turn the whole ugly thing over to.

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.

Here are some contacts for business insurance brokers that specialize in coverage for Photographers:

Check out what works best for you, you’ll be glad you did. I’m sure Eric Guillemain is glad he had an insurance company to turn his problem over to!

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7 Responses to “If You Break A 2600 Year Archaeological Specimen Worth $300,000 During A Shoot Are You Covered?”

  • Actually, according to the article — liability insurance typically won’t pay for something like that, because it is “property of others in the care, custody or control of the insured” (aka not covered).

    This is something I’ve worried / wondered about — I’m always shooting on location in people’s homes, I’ve got a tripod and light stands I’m moving around; sometimes I’m doing minor rearrangements of items. I assumed my liability insurance would cover me if I screw up, but sounds like it may not — I’ll need to revisit my policy to confirm.

    And be EXTRA careful on future shoots!

  • Ahhh…That will buff right out. 🙂

    While the “property of other’s in care” clause would set up the insurance battle on which insurance company cover – yours or the homeowner’s, more concerning is the “prop” exclusion clause. Essentially, if taking a picture of a home, everything in is – by a selfserving definition – is considered a prop.

  • I don’t known how it works there but here I’m covered when I visit a house with a client, or a photographer. Imagine that I go to a clients house to shoot some photos with a photographer and the photographer destroys something, MY insurance will cover that.

  • I spoke with my insurance agent, Richard Reyes, with Hill & Usher today about this. In MY specific case, my insurance covers up to $5,000 for items in my “care, custody & control” and I also have coverage for props, etc.
    The explanation about “care, custody & control” is this: If I accept an object to photograph or if I personally touch and object to move it, even to protect it then that object is under my “care, custody and control”. If I’m there to photograph a home and not a specific object and I damage that object it is covered under my general liability policy, up to the limits of the policy, again, UNLESS I pick it up or move it.
    Bottom line is – If you need something moved ask the homeowner or the owner of the object to move it!


  • imo bottom line never say you “moved” something. just say you inadvertently destroyed it. $5000 is really low… My insurance is 150000€ and I think it’s low. lol
    I also advertise the insurance, it’s one more good thing to mention and clients never really think about it.
    Never used the insurance. Fortunately never happened to me. But I known some cases where bad things happened. But generally just small things. The bigger one I knew was an agency that was stolen with all the keys from hundreds of properties on it, the insurance paid for all the new locks and keys for all clients.

  • The “care, custody and control” is $5K. My GL coverage is $2M / $4M and also includes coverage for my equipment, fire etc. I generally don’t accept items to photography and if I break something in a venue that I’m photographing GL will cover it, AND I NEVER move anything!

  • I learned my lessons early. DON’T TOUCH NOTHIN! I had a homeowner say I tracked mud into a room I hadn’t even walked into. I’ve backed up into (and broke) two lamps. I left the door open and an expensive cat ran outside. I’ve opened blinds that everyone (but me) knew not to open, because they didn’t come back down. Silly stuff, and worked out fine, but not funny when they want you to pay for it.

    34,000+ shoots since, and no problems. 🙂

    We carry liability insurance, of course, and we also require our contract photographers to carry their own insurance, plus all my customers must sign off on our terms and conditions which say…

    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.

    In addition, we expressly state in our client correspondence that our photographers are not permitted to move anything.

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