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As a self-employed photographer, you could be called upon to take photos of magic moments in the lives of others, snap an iconic cover shot for a fashion magazine, or even capture an event that comes to symbolise a key moment in history.

However, it only takes somebody tripping over a carelessly laid wire, or your expensive equipment being stolen, for the magic to be dispelled, potentially leaving you with legal fees and compensation or replacement costs.

You can’t guarantee the worst won’t happen but, by taking out a comprehensive photographer insurance policy, you can be financially protected if it does.

What is public liability insurance for photographers?

Public liability insurance can cover legal or compensation costs you’re liable for in the event that a member of the public is injured, becomes ill or dies, or their property is lost, stolen or damaged, as a result of your photography work.

Public liability insurance is especially important if you work at busy events, such as weddings or graduation ceremonies, where there is an increased risk of accidents involving a third party. For example, you could back into someone on a busy dance floor and knock them over or ask a graduate in a group shot to move to the right, causing them to fall off a stage.

» MORE: Everything you need to know about business liability insurance

What other forms of business insurance should a photographer consider?

Professional indemnity insurance for photographers is another type of cover you should consider adding to your policy. It could cover you if a client makes a claim against you for loss or damages as a result of professional negligence, as well as for breaches of confidentiality, or loss of documents. In a photography context, this could be a client alleging your photos are of poor quality or don’t meet their brief.

And you might want to protect all your expensive photography equipment under equipment cover, which will cover the cost of fixing or replacing a camera that is accidentally broken or stolen laptop.

If you’re worried that your camera might malfunction in the middle of a photo shoot, and it’s not due to accidental damage, then you may want to take out equipment breakdown insurance, But you won’t be able to claim at all if your camera isn’t working simply due to wear and tear.

If you run your business from an office or studio, consider adding contents cover to your policy. This will contribute to repair and replacement costs if an event such as a fire, theft, or flood results in loss or damage.

» COMPARE: Business insurance

Do I need photographer insurance?

The only type of insurance you are legally required to have as a professional photographer, if you employ any members of staff, is employers’ liability up to £5 million. The only exception is if your staff are close family members or are based abroad.

That said, if you want to join either the Members of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) or Master Photographers Association (MPA), having both public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance is a condition of membership.

And, even if you don’t have any staff or want to join a professional organisation, it could make financial sense to take out a photographer insurance policy. It could be a cost effective way to protect yourself from the financial consequences of an unforeseen disaster.

» MORE: Do I need business insurance?

What does photographer insurance cover?

What photography insurance covers will depend on the exact policies you choose, but generally it will cover you for any accidents caused by you or your employees that result in injuries or damage to property. It can also insure you against claims of negligence and cover your photography equipment for loss, theft, and damage.

Photography insurance usually includes:

  • public liability insurance
  • professional indemnity insurance
  • contents cover
  • equipment cover

Whether you need all of these policies, or additional ones, will depend on your business requirements. Often, you can tailor your insurance package to match your specific needs.

What isn’t usually covered by photographer insurance?

You should check exactly what activities will be covered by your photography insurance policy. Many providers will exclude certain high-risk scenarios including:

  • aerial photography
  • underwater photography
  • photography in hazardous locations such as a war zone

If you use a van or car to transport your equipment between shoots, you may also want to check you are fully insured for driving to events. A car or van insurance policy will get you back on the road as soon as possible after an accident and replace any belongings stolen after a break-in.

For example, if you’re driving to and from events using your own vehicle, you will need to be covered by Business Class 1 car insurance. This will likely be a seperate policy taken out with a car insurance provider and not included in your business insurance package.

How much does photographer insurance cost?

The cost of your photography insurance depends upon the types of cover you choose to include in your policy, the maximum cover limits you opt for, and the size and location of your business.

For example, a photographer who mostly works at events – where there is a greater risk of an accident involving a member of the public – may need a higher level of public liability insurance than a photographer who just works in a studio.

How to choose the best photographer insurance policy for your needs?

Once you have assessed your specific requirements and decided which types of cover you need and what your maximum cover limits should be, you can compare policies to find the right one to suit your needs.

You can do this using the comparison tool on this page.

Photographer Insurance FAQs

What insurance do I need as a freelance photographer?

Although legally you may only be obligated to have employer’s liability insurance. Photographers could consider taking out public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, contents or equipment cover, business premises cover (if you have a photography studio or office) and van or business car insurance if you use it to drive to events.

You may also be required to have certain types of insurance, as a requirement to membership of professional organisations for photographers.

Do videographers need public liability insurance?

As a videographer, it can be a good idea to have public liability insurance, especially if your work brings you into frequent contact with third parties.

» COMPARE: Public liability insurance

Do photographers need insurance in the UK?

Photographers in the UK are not legally required to have insurance unless they have employees (who are not family members), in which case they would need to take out employers’ liability insurance. However, it could be a good idea to protect yourself with a photography insurance policy.

What insurance do I need for a photography studio?

If you have a photography studio, it may be a good idea to have business premises insurance, contents cover, and public liability insurance in case a model or client is injured or their property is damaged while on the premises.

About the author

Henry Williams
Henry is passionate about helping individuals and businesses stay informed. Over the last 8 years, he’s written for startup and small business sites, with a focus on finance, insurance, and websites. Read more
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