Tuesday Tips - The Importance of Insurance
Firmly Believing in Community Over Competition - "A rising tide lifts all ships" - JFK
(Please note that I am not an attorney, accountant or insurance agent. My discussions during Tuesday Tips will be based on my personal experiences as a business owner only.)
When I heard the word insurance, I thought "HOW BORING!?!?!", until I was in a car accident while seven months pregnant with our baby girl Charlee. At seven months pregnant with pre-existing complications, the immediate need to be seen my a medical team was required. An ambulance ride, trauma room visit, and an overnight stay in the hospital racked up quite a large bill and made me seriously think about what insurance does for all of us on a daily basis. The bills from our accident mounted quickly and while it wasn't our fault, those bills sat in our name and on our credit for a long time, until the insurance company sorted through everything.
Basic Liability: Business insurance is just as important as car insurance and when running a legal business, you really want to make sure that you are covered properly. In my business we see the smallest babies, the wildest toddlers and some intoxicated folks in bridal parties. If we are directly responsible for an accident, we are directly responsible for compensation for that accident. If a toddler slips while in my studio and needs stiches, there is a really good chance that the parent's medical insurance will not cover the visit, if you tell the hospital what happened and where it occurred. The medical insurance will seek out compensation from my liability insurance, and during that time, all of those bills will sit in the parents' names and on their credit, much like my car accident. If I didn't have insurance, it would most likely become a civil matter, and often times difficult to collect. Making sure we have insurance is so important to me. I know that my clients are protected if an accident should occur. I have become more sensitive to this issue recently because I have become aware of an unregistered, uninsured photographer (in another state) that dropped a newborn baby during a newborn shoot. Please protect your clients! It is so very important to insure their safety and protection! Basic liability insurance for your business is not that expensive! Please know that if you are sued by a client to gain compensation and you are not insured, you are subject to loosing anything you may own.
Beyond the basics, there is so much that may not have been thought of when it comes to insurance.
Equipment Coverage: Do you know that your car insurance/renter's insurance/home owner's insurance may not cover your equipment if lost, stolen, damaged if they know that you are using it for business purposes? Make sure to check with your insurance agent! Something as simple as putting a sign on your car for your business can effect how you, your car, or your equipment are covered. Another item to consider is at what value your equipment is covered at. Make sure to ask if it is covered at retail value or depreciated value. Replacing professional gear can be extremely expensive and you want to verify this before finding out the hard way.
Venue Requirements: We are encountering many venues that are requiring certificates of liability from all vendors when on their property for weddings or events. My insurance agent e-mails venues directly with their name on the policy! It is really important to me to have a great relationship with an insurance agent to make these business to business interactions seamless. My insurance agent is Rick McFeely at Nationwide. He can be reached at [email protected]
Leasing/Renting Your Studio: When leasing a studio, it is often required within the lease to carry specific amounts of insurance. A good commercial realtor, a lawyer and your insurance agent can answer all of your questions on requirements. Please also know that if you have a client that is injured within your home and you do not have your business properly insured, your home owners may not cover it. It is extremely important to make sure that you, your family and your clients are all covered. Be open and honest with your insurance agent. They will inform you of what is covered with your current policy and what is not. Running a legal, licensed and insured business is not always easy or cheap, but it can save you a lot in event of an accident!
I could go on forever about operating a Studio, but that will have to wait until next weeks Tuesday Tips - Studio Stuff!
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected]!