BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Aja B. Valencia


is it required to have insurance if you are a freelancer? or is there some sort of contract to void this to have clients sign....kinda just wanting to know some ins and outs....ive been reading stuff for months my brain is overloaded lol....

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3/13/2008 4:12:27 PM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Is it required? Probably not. Is it smart to have? Yes. Why would you want to take thousands of dollars worth of equipment out with no protection?

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3/13/2008 4:17:40 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Todd is right. Some of us purchase insurance, liability and loss and damage insurance through our professional associations like National Press Photographers, American Society of Media Photographers, PP of A, among others. Others buy business insurance. I always build the cost off insurance into my general cost of doing business on every single assignment I shoot. It's one reason why I charge commercial clients upwards to $1600 a day plus usage fees and expenses.

Insurance not only to covers loss or damage to equipment but injury to others caused by your own mistakes. While equipment can cost you thousands of dollars, injury to property or others can run into the millions.

Accident or liability insurance in addition to having workers comp for assistants is another matter. If you have an assistant who gets injured and [s]he isn't separately covered, you're liable as the person who retained them. If the state finds out, you're out of business plus liable for all their medical expenses.

And to ask a client to sign a waiver in the ordinary course of doing business with them IMO will potentially and more likely than not, cost you the assignment because their insurance carrier probably won't indemnify them for the loss caused by the negligence, errors or omissions of an independent contractor. When I started shooting for one corporation, I had to provide them a copy of the face page for my liability coverage AND post a million dollar bond (That cost me $50 bucks with my insurer) to get a municipal shoot permit to work along a rail right of way in one city they serviced.

Again, IMO, if you don't run your business like a real business, you shouldn't BE in this business but ought to find something else to do.
Take it light.

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3/13/2008 5:20:30 PM

Aja B. Valencia   aww see I didn't think about insurance for my items...i was referring to clients....and I mis wrote what I meant as a far as the contract I was wondering if you need to have a contract signed stating that they know u have insurance and all that jazz....

aja b ><>

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3/13/2008 8:01:25 PM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Yes, you need insurance on your equipment and you need liability insurance in case someone breaks a leg after tripping over your tripod, etc. As far as the contract question I'll defer to Mark.

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3/14/2008 5:40:21 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I don't mention to clients or prospective clients that I have various kinds of insurance unless they specifically ask me whether I do. And if they do, I usually ask them why they want to know in case I'm getting set up to work in a dangerous situation.

I have had some clients, however, specifically request that both me and any assistants sign a liability waiver when shooting on their properties, like a railroad in case we got hit by a runaway train. I agreed to sign the waiver noting in writing on the agreement that it was invalid if it was ultimately determined that the railroad was grossly negligent and in that case would be liable anyway. :>) They balked at that but agreed and before we starting shooting I had to provide them with a face sheet copy of my insurance.

You might be surprised about the myriad of mishaps in the studio that can lead to injury, workers comp claims and or lawsuits including the ones Todd mentioned. Tripod trips, falling lightstands that spray hot shards of glass on innocent children, garments that catch fire during fashion shoots, someone getting hit on the head on a clothes rack setting off a chain reaction of catastrophes...OH !! The humanity of it all !!!

Remember Aja, we live in a litigious society. You just have got to protect yourself and your business. Insurance is a cheap investment in what you do for a living regardless of your business.

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3/14/2008 10:35:13 AM

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