Setting up a professional photography business is the dream of many snappers – whether they specialise in press, corporate or advertising shots. Equipment costs, the insurance for buildings and contents, and other administrative concerns are straightforward and elementary. But legal protection may also be necessary, depending on the nature of a photographer’s work. Photographer professional indemnity cover can provide an all round package which will guard against some of the more common legal risks a professional may face.
Anyone who has ever heard of indemnity cover before may associate it with people like graphic designers and medical professionals. It is a type of insurance which pays out towards legal advice and defence if you are ever accused of making a professional mistake. But these days it can also apply to just about any professional which offers advice and services as a base of their business. Errors can be costly, and if a client feels they have suffered what is known as a financial injury, they can take legal action.
There is no shortage of legal firms which would fight someone’s case for them if they feel they have justification for a legal claim. This means it is important to have something in place should you ever face the unpleasant prospect of being sued.
Photographer professional indemnity cover also applies to a wide range of circumstances, not just mistakes, omissions, or alleged acts of negligence. It will also cover claims of unintentional defamation, a possibly important aspect for anyone who takes pictures of other individuals for a living. Importantly it can also pay out for the defence of a claim that you have breached someone’s copyright or confidentiality.
Indemnity cover may also include an element of public liability insurance, which can also be necessary for some photographers, and you can sometimes get this thrown in as a bonus or a free extra, while other companies may be able to get you a deal on it for a discount on top of your main indemnity policy.
Photographer professional indemnity cover also involves a straightforward premium as with other kinds of insurance cover, and this is often related to the amount of protection you want. A policy like this will not pay out for an indefinite amount of legal advice and compensation, so you need to decide a policy limit when you take out a product. The higher the cover limit, the higher your premium may be, but it is also important not to end up under-insured, or with a limit which would prove inadequate if you faced a case, leaving you to pick up the difference in terms of legal bills or compensation – which could be thousands of pounds or more in some circumstances.
One of many photographers will be aware of the legal risks of their profession, particularly those who have worked for newspapers or other media. But all types of commercial picture taking have their legal implications. One wrong choice on an assignment can mess up the shots and mean a client ends up with an inadequate set of pictures. Members of the public who later see themselves in pictures and were not aware a photograph was being taken at the time can also take offence and seek legal redress. This is why photographer professional indemnity cover is an important consideration for anyone working in the sector.
Indemnity cover, for those not familiar with it, is a straightforward type of insurance which pays out should you be accused of making a professional error. It covers your legal costs and even the cost of meeting compensation. It normally applies if you are facing an allegation that you have made a mistake, omission, or committed an act of negligence in your day to day work. It applies not just to photographers and similar professionals but to just about anyone who offers their advice and services on a consultancy type basis.
A typical example could involve a photographer being hired to take wedding pictures. A mistake with the lighting of some shots may lead to them being unusable, and the couple may take legal action to recover their costs and maybe even seek compensation. Indemnity cover will protect you by providing cash support for the legal bills associated with defending such a case. Of course many disputes are sorted out amicably, but sometimes the legal system is the only way some people believe a problem will be solved.
Therefore photographer professional indemnity cover is vital for many people as they would not be able to pay out the large sums associated with hiring a law professional and paying compensation if it is awarded. This type of cover normally also guards against claims that you have breached confidence or copyright in your work, that you have defamed somebody, and even if you have lost a client’s important data or documents, perhaps erasing a set of valuable pictures by mistake.
Indemnity cover can therefore potentially save some people thousands of pounds or more. You will need to agree a policy limit and can even negotiate an excess as with other forms of cover, depending on your chosen insurer. Public liability insurance may even be thrown in with some policies, and it is worth checking out the different features of different products which you may be able to find.
Photographer professional indemnity cover can even be arranged to protect you after you have ceased trading, guarding against any late-arriving legal claims which turn up perhaps after you have changed jobs or decided to retire. Such extras can also help prevent any vulnerable periods when switching insurer.
Taking pictures for a living can be rewarding both professionally and financially, but anyone working in this form of media is vulnerable to certain risks. Due to the nature of the job, there will be times when clients are not completely happy, and mistakes can even lead to a legal claim. This is when photographer professional indemnity cover can provide a lifeline and pay for the legal costs of defending yourself in court. The main features of this cover include protection if you are accused of making an omission, or committing an error or act of negligence during your day to day work.
It will also normally cover you if you are accused of unintentional defamation. There are also times when you will need to pay out to fix one of your own errors, for example if you make a mistake when setting up on a job, meaning you later have to return to take a second set of pictures at the client’s request. In such circumstances photographer professional indemnity cover would pay for your extra costs.
Also included in most policies is protection for allegations of breach of confidence and even breach of copyright. All of these things are potential hazards for photographers, and could end up costing an awful lot of money to sort out if you do not have protection in place. Solicitors can be expensive to hire, and some cases can go on for a considerable period of time. If you have the right insurance in place you may not have to pay a penny beyond a possible excess.
As with most types of insurance, you will need to select the cover level and this will depend on the size of your business and what clients you normally deal with. Large picture agencies may want a higher payout ceiling than an individual freelance, for example.
As with other forms of cover, you can use your excess to reduce your premium. An excess is simply an initial fee you agree to pay before the cover kicks in in full. So if you have £100,000 worth of cover, and an excess of £1,000, you’ll pay the first £1,000 for any legal expenses, before the policy kicks in.
If you are retiring, changing job, or simply winding down the business, it can be sensible to get a period of ‘runoff’ cover which will continue to protect you even after you have stopped trading. Even then you may find a letter arrives on the door mat relating to a past incident, and if the photographer professional indemnity cover policy were to simply stop when you stopped working you would not be covered for this. If you are just sorting out cover or changing insurer, what is known as retroactive cover can even protect you against claims which relate to something which happened at the past.
It takes hard work and dedication to become a professional photographer, but with a little planning it is possible to turn what some people treat as a casual hobby into a profession. As anyone in the business knows, there is more to simply taking pictures, and keeping clients happy is all part of the job. If anyone ever decides you have done a bad job, you can end up not just dealing with angry phone calls but ultimately with a legal complaint. In such circumstances photographer professional indemnity cover can help take away the worry of how you will pay for any legal advice that might be required.
Photographer professional indemnity cover helps a snapper pay for legal bills if they are accused of an error, omission, or act of negligence, and will also cover other circumstances. A freelance might be hired by a company to take pictures of their premises for a business brochure to help boost sales. If the pictures turn out to be inadequate due to the settings being incorrect on the camera, the clients may ask for a re-shoot. Indemnity cover would pay for the cost of this re-shoot – this is just one example of how it can help.
Policies normally also protect against things like allegations of accidental defamation, breach of confidence, and even a breach of copyright. All of these things are potential pitfalls for photographers, and can be extremely financially damaging if someone does not have protection in place. Lawyers cost money, and few people can afford to casually pay every legal bill that comes their way.
Indemnity cover, subject to certain limits agreed with your insurer, will pick up all the bills associated with defending a case. It will even pay any compensation which is awarded to the complainant. How much cover you can expect to get depends on your circumstances and what you think is adequate. A large photographic agency will need a higher cover limit than an individual freelance, for example.
As with other types of insurance, it is possible to agree an excess with your insurer, meaning you will pick up an initial amount of the bills which you have to pay for from a solicitor. This can be used to change your premium, making it more or less expensive. So a policy with an excess of £2,000, for example, is likely to cost less than one with an excess of £800.
Photographers who are thinking of retiring, or changing their career, can also get what is known as run off cover, which protects you even though you’re not trading any longer. It will provide photographer professional indemnity cover for a few months while you’re in your new occupation, guarding against the worry you would have to endure if a legal claim relating to something which occurred a long time ago appeared.