Business Insurance for Writers & Authors
Being a writer may not seem like a risky job at first glance, but you do have to worry about:
- Missed deadlines.
- Contract disputes.
- Copyright issues.
Writers insurance can protect you if you get into legal trouble over an article you wrote or if a client claims you didn't deliver what they asked for. Let's take a look.
General Liability Insurance
General Liability Insurance provides lawsuit coverage for common business risks. For starters, it can help pay for third-party bodily injuries (e.g., when a client gets hurt in your home office) and third-party property damage (e.g., when you spill coffee on your client's only copy of their manuscript).
However, General Liability's advertising injury coverage is probably the most useful for authors. This can help pay for legal expenses when you're sued over:
- Copyright infringement.
Both of these risks are common for freelance writers. For example, say you're hired to write about public figures. If they don't like what you have to say, they could hit you and the publisher with a libel lawsuit.
No doubt you know better than to plagiarize someone else's work – but your clients may not. If you incorporate a client's borrowed work into the project, you could be sued for copyright infringement. That's why it's important to vet all materials your clients provide – and to have insurance in case something gets overlooked.
It won't set you back much either. A typical policy for a writer costs around $425 per year, which is only about 35 bucks a month.
For a more in-depth look at advertising injuries, check out our free eBook Tweet or Twibel: The Small-Business Owner's Guide to Advertising Injury [PDF].
Business Owner's Policy
A Business Owner's Policy (BOP) is another helpful type of insurance for authors. It combines General Liability and Commercial Property Insurance and is only available to small businesses, like freelance writers.
Commercial Property Insurance can pay to replace or repair your business property, such as laptops and monitors, that's lost because of:
- Frozen pipes.
- Theft or burglary.
Many authors assume their renter's or homeowner's insurance will cover their business property in a home office, but that's not the case. You often need a commercial policy for that protection.
Errors & Omissions Insurance
Errors & Omissions Insurance, also known as Professional Liability Insurance, can protect you against one of the biggest challenges writers face: contract disputes.
You probably already use a signed contract with your clients that clearly spells out:
- The scope of the project.
- Payment terms.
- Your revisions policy.
That revision policy is especially important. Without clear language in your contract about how rewrites are handled, you might end up writing the same piece of copy for a client multiple times and only getting paid once. If you refuse to perform unpaid rewrites, you client could sue you for breach of contract.
That's where your E&O Insurance can help. It can cover your attorney fees and settlements or judgments when you're sued over missed deadlines or allegedly not delivering promised services. An average E&O policy costs about $65 per month for writers, but it could save you thousands in legal fees for contract disputes.