Some professional photographers will be more familiar with the legal risks of their profession than others. For example, experienced press snappers no that pictures can sometimes cause offence and prompt legal challenges, rightly or wrongly. Commercial or wedding photographers may be less aware of some of the legal complications which can arise, although they may have an overview of some of the problems which can come up. As experts, professional photographers are expected to do a high quality job which is why they may face legal action if a client feels they have fallen below their responsibilities. Photographer professional insurance can provide an invaluable safety net by covering the cost of legal defence and even compensation.
This is relevant to some of the smaller agencies and freelance photographers, and large multinational picture agencies. In a sense both levels of company faced similar risks. If a client who has paid a considerable amount of money for an assignment thinks they have received for pictures you to a mistake by the photographer, they can seek to recover not only the cost of the assignment also any compensation they think they might be due.
For Example, a wedding photographer my face a claim from a couple who feel that the pictures were of poor quality due to an error made by them, and may also seek compensation costs. Likewise an agency hired to cover a higher profile awards ceremony might be on the wrong end of an action if they missed a crucial picture which other agencies picked up on, meaning the client loses out on potential publishing profits.
Photographer professional insurance with liability as an element will pay for the cost of legal bills in such a situation, and even the amount of compensation, should it be awarded against the defendant. In exchange for a regular premium, an insurance company agrees to pay legal fees up to a set amount, which can be decided by the policyholder.
This kind of cover also typically protects against allegations of unintentional defamation, which is possible in the taking of or editing of pictures. Breach of confidentiality or copyright is also covered by a typical policy. Note that any breach of intellectual property rights must be unintentional for the policyholder to be covered by their insurance.
Photographer professional insurance can also include an excess, as with many straightforward domestic insurance policies, which can be used to reduce the premium. You can also specify some extras like public liability insurance, which may be included as an extra or be available for an additional fee. Other common additions include run-off cover, useful for avoiding periods when you are not insured when you are changing insurer, winding down a business, or retiring.
Even with the best equipment money can buy, and plenty of training, a photographer can sometimes end up not doing the best job for a client. It may not even be within their control – an assistant or employee may make a slip up, or the weather may simply affect how an assignment is lit and end up producing a set of poor quality pictures. But should a client complain and ask for a re-shoot or worse still, take legal action to recover costs and any losses as a result, a photographer could face a legal challenge and a solicitor’s bill for their services. Photographer professional insurance takes away much of this concern, by ensuring you get financial assistance for legal advice should you ever be accused of making a mistake.
A professional insurance policy which includes a professional indemnity element will simply pay for the cost of your legal defence if you face a challenge from an unhappy client or member of the public. It effectively ensures you are not left out of pocket, or even financially on the ropes, after a legal incident.
The normal official term is that it will cover you if you are accused of making a mistake, omission, or committing an act of negligence in your regular business. All of these things could result in a legal challenge and a complainant may even be awarded compensation by a court. Do not worry, a photographer professional insurance policy which includes professional indemnity would even cover the cost of compensation should it be awarded against you.
This is why many consultants and creative companies offering their services on a consultancy basis take out cover. It makes sure that someone does not have to worry about the company getting deep into the red if they have to defend a legal claim. Of course, an insurance company will pay out indefinitely and the ceiling will have to be agreed when you take out the policy. Large photography agencies employing dozens of employees may typically want a greater level of protection than a lone freelance, for example.
You can even arrange for a policy to include an element of overrun cover, protecting you for a period after you cease trading or change jobs. This ensures you are still protected against any retrospective claims which suddenly arrive. You can even get cover which protects against past claims which arrive after you buy the policy but which relate to something which happened a long time ago.
Photographer professional insurance may also cover against the likes of claims you have infringed someone’s copyright or confidence, particularly useful if you have ever worried about someone claiming you have altered or stolen their images, which may seem unlikely but can happen after a mistake. It even protects against things like defamation, and the loss of a client’s pictures or documents.
From straightforward wedding pictures to higher level national press work, the roles of photographers are broad and diverse. Whether a professional is part of a large agency, media organisation, or acting as a freelance, they are likely to get a wide variety of work. As someone providing a professional service which can also involve a good degree of public exposure, a photographer’s job therefore carries certain legal risks, not all of which might be immediately apparent. A photographer professional insurance policy will help guard against these risks and can help cover almost any possible pitfall.
Cover which includes professional indemnity insurance can be crucial for some professionals as it guards against the risk of being sued by an unhappy client or member of the public. For example, a freelance photographer might take a range of shots in a public place and then post them on a web site for sale. Rightly or wrongly, any member of the public who is depicted in the shops could feel they have been defamed in some way by the pictures’ publication. Indemnity cover could help protect against such an action if it reaches court and runs up legal bills.
The policy will kick in and pay legal costs of hiring a legal team and even pay any compensation if it is awarded to a complainant. Defending even a wrongful claim in court can be expensive, and photographer professional insurance with professional indemnity cover will take away this factor, up to agreed limits.
Policies will also provide protection against any legal case which arises because a photographer has committed an unintentional mistake during the normal course of their business. This could be useful for commercial photographers who are hired to shoot pictures designed to be part of a campaign which promotes a company. Cover will also be provided for things like breach of copyright and breach of confidence.
Some professionals might be covered by a policy which covers any organisation they belong to as an employee. Others may need cover but not at the level of which a large agency would. To this end, policies are quite flexible, and are available with different excesses and payout limits.
Professionals who are changing career or retiring can often arrange overrun or run off cover for any claims which arise after they have ceased trading. Likewise, those changing insurer or setting up a policy for the first time can opt for retroactive cover providing protection for any event which occurred in the past which results in a sudden and unexpected claim in the present. Photographer professional insurance can therefore be arranged for virtually any business, big or small, and could provide a vital lifeline in the face of what would otherwise be a stressful legal experience.