Photographers and videographers typically need to find insurance coverage to protect them against the potential costs of both lawsuits from their performance and damage to their equipment. Regardless of whether you have a large photography business or are just a hobbyist taking jobs every once in a while, every photographer needs at least a little bit of insurance coverage.
Potential liability for photographers typically falls under the categories of “breach of contract” or “misrepresentation.” Depending on what type of photography your business does, you could also be on the hook for “misappropriation” of the images you take. While the normal costs of breach of contract are the costs it takes your client to be made whole, which is typically not more than what you were paid, a misappropriation claim could be thousands of dollars.
Having the right insurance coverage can give you peace of mind and protect you in the event that something goes wrong. The best insurance companies for photographers will offer affordable rates with more than enough coverage, in both amount and types, to cover anything you may be working on. After looking at more than 18 of the best insurance companies we’ve selected the top five below.
The 5 Best Photography Insurance of 2021
Thimble: Best Overall
We chose Thimble as our best overall because of their affordable pricing, ease of use, strong customer reviews, and strong coverage options for small businesses that are a good fit for most photographers. Thimble makes it extremely easy to manage your insurance policy right from your phone, even allowing you to pause coverage or only get insurance for as little as an hour. Plus, you can get a quote within 60 seconds.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of Thimble’s coverage:
- Pricing: Starting at $17 per month
- How to get a quote: Online, takes as little as 60 seconds
- Coverage amounts: $1,000,000 to $2,000,000
- Types of coverage: General liability, professional liability, and errors and omissions insurance. Other coverage, such as drone insurance, can be added on through a sister brokerage.
Per their reviews on Trustpilot, customers seem to generally love their service, especially how easy it is to get access to a certificate of insurance and add on new coverage for specific events. Thimble is a great option for most small businesses, especially photographers without many employees.
Hill & Usher: Best for Coverage Options
Hill & Usher is our choice for the best photography insurance company for coverage options because their Package Choice coverage includes everything any photographer needs. Their coverage includes general liability, errors and omissions, and property coverage for most needs. If you know you need a lot of coverage, this could be a good option for you.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of Hill & Usher’s coverage:
- Pricing: Starts at $500 annually or around $41 per month
- How to get a quote: Fill out an application online, which takes five to 10 minutes
- Coverage amounts: Standard policy amounts of $1 million or more
- Types of coverage: General liability, property, errors and omissions
Hill & Usher doesn’t have many online customer reviews, which isn’t surprising because they aren’t as digital-friendly as most options on this list. The reviews we have found were generally very positive. Complaints tended to be about frustrations about their lack of options for managing their policy and about speed.
The Hartford: Best for Employee Coverage
The Hartford is our most traditional coverage option on this list. We chose it as our best for employee coverage because of their experience and options for covering worker's compensation and employee liability. The Hartford is one of the largest insurance companies focused on helping small businesses in recent years and can generally be a good option for many businesses.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of The Hartford’s coverage:
- Pricing: Website doesn’t disclose, but it can be higher than some of our other options due to it being a more comprehensive small business coverage
- How to get a quote: Can get a same-day quote by filling out an online application
- Coverage amounts: Varies, but as much as $2,000,000 of coverage
- Types of coverage: General liability, property, errors and omissions, drone, business income; can get most wrapped into a Business Owner's Policy (BOP)
The Hartford has varying customer reviews online, with positive ones pointing to their fairly easy application process. The poor reviews point to slow claims handling, which is fairly common among insurance companies of their size, but it should be considered for a small business that typically needs claims processed quickly.
Full Frame Insurance: Best for Hobbyists
Full Frame Insurance is a company that focuses on coverage for photographers and videographers. It is our best insurance company for hobbyists because it’s one of the few options that allow you to get insurance only for a specific event. If you’re only providing photography services part-time or every once in a while, this is a perfect solution for you to get protected without unneeded coverage.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of Full Frame’s coverage:
- Pricing: Starts at $59 for a single event or $129 to $658 for annual coverage
- How to get a quote: Apply online, unless revenue is greater than $200,000 annually (then you’ll have to speak directly to an underwriter)
- Coverage amounts: Up to $2,000,000
- Types of coverage: General liability, equipment
Full Frame Insurance is one of the newer options on the list, making it difficult to find many customer reviews. Full Frame Insurance doesn’t yet operate in all 50 states, but they are in most states and adding more all the time.
Insureon: Another Coverage Option
Insureon is a marketplace website that lets you compare coverage and prices from many insurers. Choices that cover a wide range of small business owners in many professions, including photography, are available. Its coverage and process are focused on what is right for each type of business applicant. It offers an easy-to-use online option to apply and get started quickly with coverage.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of Insureon’s coverage:
- Pricing: Varies with insurer
- How to get a quote: Can submit an online application
- Coverage amounts: Varies with insurer
- Types of coverage: General Liability, BOP, professional liability, worker's compensation, commercial auto
What Is Photography Insurance?
Photography insurance is coverage specifically designed to protect photographers and videographers from a big financial loss, typically via either damage to their equipment or due to a lawsuit. The right insurance coverage can protect your business (or you personally, depending on your business formation) from things such as breach of contract, damaged property, professional liability, or worker's compensation for businesses with employees.
What Does Photography Insurance Typically Include?
As a photographer, you can choose to get insurance coverage in two ways, either choosing à la carte the exact coverage you need, or you can choose to get a business owner's policy (BOP) that covers most small business needs. Using a BOP is typically more affordable for businesses that don’t have a lot of potential liability, including freelancers or hobbyist photographers. Here are the typical types of coverage that can be included in the term “photography insurance,” but the type you need varies by the size of your business:
- General Liability Insurance: This is a generic coverage that can include several things, depending on your policy, such as client injuries or some property damage.
- Property Insurance: This is a more comprehensive coverage option to protect your important equipment. Typically this isn’t needed unless you have a larger business with a lot of equipment and are completing high-risk jobs.
- Business Owner’s Policy: Combines both general liability and property coverage in a more affordable package.
- Professional Liability Insurance: Often called “errors and omissions” insurance, this protects you from potential liability you incur with the delivery of your work performance.
We asked Darryle Stafford, CEO, Veracity Insurance, about the various types of insurance a photography business would need.
“A photographer who shoots on an irregular basis can get an event policy that includes basic liability coverage.
A full-time photographer will want a longer-term policy (usually annual) that includes general & product liability coverage and, depending on the work they're doing, they may want to look into additional insured options (this would cover a third-party venue the photographer is using). Since many full-timers have invested in their own equipment, they'll also probably want to consider a policy that includes equipment insurance as well, which is often sold as an add-on.
A photography business with multiple employees would want all of the aforementioned coverage options, and they'd also want to look into a worker's compensation policy.
Photographers should look for terms like general liability, product liability, damage to rented premises, and they should look for coverage limits of $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.”
What Does Photography Insurance Typically Exclude?
Insurance coverage will help most photographers in most of the situations they might encounter. However, insurance is never going to cover everything. For photographers, that means that if you commit fraud or serious negligence, you may not be covered. An example of fraud is if a photographer sold services, collected money from their client, failed to deliver, and didn’t refund the money. Negligence is a bit tougher to prove but essentially means that the photographer failed to do something that they should have done, which caused the problem. Negligence is carved out of insurance policies in different ways, so you should read the fine print.
Your photographer's insurance policy might not cover specific types of events or activities. So if you’re into high-risk photography that could impact the safety of your property, like marine or drone photography, then you’ll need to be sure this is covered in your policy. This could require you to have a totally different coverage type, like inland marine or drone insurance, each carrying an additional cost.
What Does Photography Insurance Cost?
The costs of photography insurance vary by state and the amount of coverage you need. You can get general liability insurance for as little as $59 to cover a single event, like a wedding, all the way up to paying several hundred dollars per month for a larger business. Below are some of the items that could impact your total costs:
- The value of your equipment
- Company revenue, or freelancing revenue from the photography services you offer
- Photography services offered
- Where your business is located
- How many employees you have, if any
- What coverage and options you select
Who Needs Photography Insurance?
Every business, freelancer, or hobbyist who performs services in exchange for money should likely have, at a minimum, general liability insurance coverage. A BOP is a safe and affordable way to cover most photographers from any potential liability issues that most photography businesses will face in the lifetime of their operation.
Many individual photographers who only perform services every once in a while think they don’t need any insurance because they aren’t an official business or aren’t at risk because they only perform services for friends and family. This is incorrect because not only is your equipment at stake, but also your clients, even if they're family, will likely want financial protection in case something goes wrong while you're working. To truly be protected and have peace of mind in your endeavors, you should find an insurance policy that works for you and your business.
The list of the specialty types of photographers that need insurance includes:
How We Chose the Best Photography Insurance
We looked at more than 18 of the best insurance companies to determine what their coverage options look like for photographers and videographers. We compared factors such as coverage options, whether they focus on photographers, how much each policy or add-on costs, and what current customers have to say. With this information, we narrowed the list to our top five photography insurance providers.
Trustpilot. "Thimble Is Rated ‘Excellent’ with 4.7/5 on Trustpilot." Accessed Jan. 15, 2021.