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Do Real Estate Photographers Need To Be Bonded?

Published: 17/10/2016

InsuranceJessica in NC/SC asked:

Do real estate photographers need to get bonded to do real estate photography? If so, what kind of bond would your recommend for NC and SC?

Blog reader Ken answered your question quite well in a comment to a similar question a couple of years ago as follows:

I wouldn’t worry about getting bonded unless you have a customer that specifically requires it and they are paying well enough to cover the cost. Bonding covers the customer in the event of the bonded individual being convicted of a criminal act against the customer, ie; stealing, where standard commercial insurance does not cover criminal acts by the insured. The bonded person is responsible to the bonding company for any money paid out, so it’s not like insurance.

There are all sorts of bonds. Contractors often have to post a completion bond to guarantee that a job will be completed and sometimes a performance bond to guarantee that a job’s milestones will be completed on time. Occasionally, there will be requirements for bonds that guarantee that the materials a contractor uses are compliant with the job specifications.

I doubt there are any special requirements for real estate photographers in NC and SC.

I do suggest that real estate photographers carry business liability insurance.

Larry Lohrman

4 comments on “Do Real Estate Photographers Need To Be Bonded?”

  1. Over the years (many) I have come to a simple answer for those seeking a bond, cert of insurance, etc.... If they want it, then they can pay for it. I have no problem meeting any of their expectations, but they have to pay for it.

    So far, in over 40 years, not one agent has thought it that important to pay for.......

  2. Have to agree with Jerry as have never had a Realtor even enquire, much less, require. With their being so price conscious and the volume of low price "some guy with a camera" it is almost like they don't want to know. Perhaps it is even more critical now with drones and the damage they can do - but insurance is never a discussion and not a part of licensing by the FAA. Somewhat ironic as Realtors are usually required by their broker to carry E&O insurance and the subject of articles in professional publications, but can't ever recall an article in the same publication discussing vendor insurance and their liability should the vendor not have insurance. After all, if you are uninsured and break an irreplaceable Ming vase...who is the homeowner's lawyer going to go after - both and anyone else (i.e. the broker) with deep pockets.

  3. Generally, as I understand it, most bonding policies protect a business owner. When a plumber advertises "bonded", it means the business owner is protected if an employee steals the silver while on a job. When I was a board member of our homeowner's association, the homeowner's association had a bond policy covering all five board members. The homeowner's association was protected if one of the board members did something wrong that would have been a liability to the association, such as the treasurer absconding with $10,000 from the association bank. It would not surprise me at all if a broker carries a bond for his agents so that when an agent damages a client property, he is covered if named in the lawsuit.

  4. A surety bond guarantees that your company will meet its legal and contractual obligations. As such it protect your client from you not doing your job. Given that most of us do jobs that are under a couple hundred dollars, being bonded is not really needed.

    Insurance on the other hand protects you. If you damage a clients property, you are liable and will be required to pay for the damages. Depending on the amount of the damages that could mean having to sell off property or declaring bankruptcy.

    I don't see a need for being bonded, however doing this without insurance is foolish.

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