The most respected and experienced photographers are in great demand. But make a bad judgement without professional indemnity insurance (PI) in place and one costly mistake could be your only lasting memory.
You take great photos. You make special occasions look exceptional. That’s what you do. People rely on you to capture their precious digital (and film) moments.
That’s great while the sun is shining and everything you do works out perfectly.
But what happens if you make an error? Your client’s one-off, magical day could be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Why Would Someone Make A Claim?
These days, so many things are left open to interpretation. As a professional photographer, you know your job and you can recognise the perfect angle, the right moment and a great image.
For clients that could be very different.
On a very simplistic level, Professional Indemnity Insurance covers you if one or more of your clients do not like the photographs or video you capture. Unless you have agreed specific details, in writing, they might accuse you of not delivering the range of photos they requested and expected.
That ‘special’ event cannot easily be recreated, and they might feel wronged. They might want compensation.
What If The Camera Breaks?
Every photographer or videographer’s worst nightmare is encountering a technical problem with equipment. Most professionals carry back-up gear, an additional lens (or five), batteries and a spare camera body.
Sometimes things just go wrong. It could mean that you can’t give your client something you promised – something out of your control. A memory card error, nowhere to charge your spare battery.
The result: some vital pictures missing from the portfolio.
For example, the [not-so] happy wedding couple could demand that you pay the cost of getting guests back together, rehiring the venue and taking wedding photos again – at great expense.
PI also covers you for things like infringement of intellectual property. You are proud of the pictures you have taken at an event. You decide to showcase them on your website, but you have forgotten to ask the original client’s permission. That could lead to serious problems if action is taken against you.
Do Photographers Need Professional Indemnity Insurance?
Yes and No. Like many professions there is no golden rule stating that you must have insurance. In an ideal world, an apology and a retake of photos would be sufficient.
However, if you are a member of the British Institute of Professional Photography or Master Photographers Association, you should know that having public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance are compulsory.
Also, some clients might insist that you have proper cover in place before they award you any work.
Photographers need cover for a variety of reasons. They make claims for lost or damaged equipment. They also need public liability insurance, because you can never guarantee how the people around you will act or behave!
Having professional indemnity insurance means that you can rest easier when it comes to your reputation. PI covers the work you do, and the consequences of others believing (right or wrong) that your work has caused them damage of some kind.
If things do go wrong, photography insurance keeps you safe. So you continue clicking.
You’ll only need professional indemnity insurance when you need it. That’s the nature of being properly insured, to cover you when you require it.
Hopefully that time will never come, but if it does it could be too late. That’s why photographers need professional indemnity insurance arranged before they start taking client photos or even discussing commissions.