It is very important that you insure your camera equipment properly when you are out taking pictures in case of unforeseen eventualities. As you are earning an income it is very important that even if you don't insure your equipment that you do have Public Liability (PL) cover in case you injure or damage members of the public or their property.
Keeping clear of the Averaging Clause
There are important things to think about when covering equipment for example making sure you insure ALL of it. All Insurers operate a system called "averaging". This means that if you have a total loss claim and you have not insured all your equipment, then you will only get a proportion of the value back. For example, if you have £10,000 worth of equipment and only insure ½ of it – say £5,000 then under the averaging clause you should not expect to receive more than ½ of your claim back - £2,500. This is something that is not unique in just the photographic market so look out for it. If you have equipment that you don't want to insure as you don't use it and you feel it has no value then try and get rid of it – maybe on ebay.
Camera Insurance Policy
The Aaduki professional camera insurance policy is designed for the working photographer. It includes new for old cover on ALL your equipment anywhere in the UK and up to 60 days worldwide. We can also include Public Liability (PL) cover and Professional Indemnity (PI) as well as Employers Liability (EL) and other covers you may need. All of our policies are bespoke, you only include the cover you need!
Full theft cover
Our insurance policy covers you for "full theft". That means if you put your camera bag down, wipe your brow on that hot sunny day, and then reach down to pick up your bag and it has gone, you are covered under our policy. Watch out – some policies will only cover violent and forcible theft which is no good in these circumstances.
Public Liability and Professional Indemnity
DO NOT work without Public Liability (PL). You can never be sure what will happen and although you may feel that you won't cause any accidents, what if it is out of your hands? Someone moves your camera bag and then a member of the public falls over it? In the very worse cases, PL can literally be a lifesaver. Courts take a dim view of some accidents now, and with the growth of the "where there is blame there is a claim" culture, it is very important that you arrange suitable cover.
The other thing PL covers is 3rd party property damage. This would cover you if you damaged someone else's property whilst conducting some photographic work. For example, you could lean against a wall and knock part of it over with your weight as you are taking the picture! The fact that the wall was not “secure" enough is no protection in law. You would be responsible for the repair to it – after all, the property owner would argue that the wall was fine before you leaned on it! A simple accident like this could cost in the region of a £1,000 – something you wouldn't want to have to find as a photographer! Or, a more common claim would be knocking over something in a client's house whilst you were there on business. Unlike other parts of PL cover, there is traditionally a £250 excess for 3rd party property damage, so it is worth remembering to try and be as careful as you can when you're dealing with others!
PL cover is for damage to another person or their property whilst Professional Indemnity or PI as it is known, covers your liability for failing to produce work to a professional standard. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides you with financial protection for your business, the costs of defending claims made against you, including damages that may become payable. Claims can occur where a client or other person suffers financial loss as a result of alleged errors or omissions on your part.
PI cover is a MUST for one off events like weddings, where you have been booked to provide photographs, but is unlikely to be needed at events where you would “sell" photographs afterwards to make money – after all, if you don't get the shot that is wanted you won't sell any pictures! You may be sued unfairly by a client who is merely dissatisfied, but has no valid claim. This would involve you in substantial legal costs and non-productive time. From the legal standpoint, the position with regard to the "duty of care" is the same for any professional. If you offer a service in a specific area or set yourself up as a specialist, you owe a "duty of care" to anybody who might reasonably rely upon your service and advice over and above that owed by the ordinary man in the street.
A good example of where PI would be useful is if you were to undertake wedding photography and the bride and groom felt the pictures you produced were substandard or you were unable to produce them as the film had been lost or stolen or the data card wiped. They may then choose to issue legal proceedings against you. If this was the case, PI insurance would cover the costs of defending and/or settling the claim.
Always look to buy this cover from a reputable Insurance Provider in your specialist market. A number of High Street insurance brokers will charge you £60 - £100 for PL cover but the most common carrier usually won't cover you whilst you're in someone's home and a number of the other Insurers just don't understand anything about photography!
Where is the cover provided?
Aaduki Camera Insurance Policies cover you anywhere in the UK and up to 60 days worldwide – that's 2 months on holiday or working away and if you need more it can be extended for a small charge. We also have an Insurance Company that will offer unlimited worldwide cover although this costs more.
We will also provide cover for theft from unattended vehicles. Please check the specifics on this though as you should always be sure that you have the right insurance for what you are doing. We do not cover equipment left in vehicle unattended overnight!
Employers Liability Cover (EL)
Employers Liability insurance (EL) is the most misunderstood cover that is available for the photographer today, so confusing are the rules and regulations that surround it even the Government are not sure! However, don't let that put you off, as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would be quick enough to prosecute you if they thought you should have it and you didn't and there was an accident with someone who was assisting you.
If you don't have EL cover and you should have then you could be taken to court and prosecuted - the maximum penalty being 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine although this would usually be as a result of an accident to someone who was assisting you. However, you could face a large fine and be disqualified from running a company just for having incorrect insurance. For that extra premium it really isn't worth it?
Do I really need it?
Firstly, if you are a husband and wife team, or your sons/daughters assist then you generally do not need EL cover. If you're in doubt, then usually a good way round it is to insure them jointly with you – that way all the cover applies to them as well as you. The exception to this is if you are a Limited Company with 2 or more working directors then you MUST by law have this cover even if you are a husband and wife team under the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. There is an exception to this legal requirement which is a Limited Company with only ONE working person who is a director and owns fifty per cent or more of the issued share capital, i.e. there are no other persons whatsoever doing any work in the company.
It is also usual for Employers Liability to be required if you have work experience students or volunteers assisting you even if there is no payment.
Don't be fooled – you may only have a "friend" assist you, who is not getting any payment but if something happens to them, even if they don't try and sue you, the HSE may take up the matter or indeed the Police may decide to prosecute for negligence. Remember, EL is dealt with under criminal law - the same as murder, assault and arson!
Could I be held responsible if someone injures themselves whilst following instructions from me?
Absolutely yes! The easy way to define the differences between EL and Public Liability (PL) would be to use the example of a wedding. If you gather the bride, groom and all the family together and ask them to step back and one of them falls off a ledge and injures themselves that would be a claim under Public Liability. If the same thing happened with a student that you were training or an assistant the cover would be under EL.
What is the definition of an employee?
This is the million pound question and where the regulations get confusing, for example, someone that assists you to whom you pay a "day rate" would be classified as an employee even though you are not responsible for their tax and national insurance contributions!
You are responsible for the health and safety of your employees while they are at work. Your employees may be injured at work, or they or your former employees may become ill as a result of their work while in your employment. They might try to claim compensation from you if they believe you are responsible. The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 ensures that you have at least a minimum level of insurance cover against any such claims.
In general, you may need employers' liability insurance for someone who works for you if:
You deduct national insurance and income tax from the money you pay them;
You have the right to control where and when they work and how they do it;
You supply most materials and equipment;
You have a right to any profit your workers make although you may choose to share this with them through commission, performance pay or shares in the company. Similarly, you will be responsible for any losses;
You require that person only to deliver the service and they cannot employ a substitute if they are unable to do the work;
They are treated in the same way as other employees, for example, if they do the same work under the same conditions as someone you employ.
In general, you may not need employers' liability insurance for people who work with you if:
They do not work exclusively for you (for example, if they operate as an independent contractor);
They supply most of the equipment and materials they need to do the job;
They are clearly in business for personal benefit;
They can employ a substitute when they are unable to do the work themselves;
You do not deduct income tax or national insurance. However, even if someone is self-employed for tax purposes they may be classed as an employee for other reasons and you may still need employers' liability insurance to cover them.
These are only guidelines – you have to decide yourself if your situation would fall into either of these categories although my advice would always be err on the side of caution if in doubt!
Can I buy EL Insurance on its own?
Generally no. Most Insurers will expect you to bundle this with PL cover as well – after all, you will need both! In many cases, responsible Insurers will not allow you to purchase ANY PL cover if they believe you require EL as well. Whilst you may find this as annoying, the Insurer is actually assisting you as they trying to prevent you breaking the law! I have had different advice from 2 different Insurers which one is right? There is no easy answer to this – they could both be correct! Neither Insurer will understand the exact circumstances that you work under. The thing to remember is unscrupulous companies may be saying “no" just to keep the premium low to make sure you insure with them! If you believe you need it, buy it – that is the best advice or if they say you definitely don't need it – get them to put that in writing to you – they will only do that if they are completely sure!
What should I remember?
If in doubt – buy it! Whatever the premium, is preferable to a jail sentence.
Students, work experience and models CAN be classified as employees even if you don't think they are!
Take reasonable steps to try and protect your employees – try to avoid exposing them to circumstances that are likely to result in an accident.