Business Insurance Requirements for Photographers and Videographers in California

As a professional photographer or videographer in California, a wealth of opportunities awaits just beyond your shutter. You could specialize in capturing a couple’s special day as a wedding photographer in San Francisco, or shoot corporate videos in Los Angeles. However, operating a small photography or videography business in California also comes with its own set of special considerations, costs, and requirements. That’s where photography and videography business insurance can help.

One insurance policy for photographers and videographers you may want to consider purchasing is general liability insurance, which can protect you from the costs associated with third-party property damage and injuries. For example, if a wedding guest trips over your camera equipment and breaks a wrist, your general liability policy can pay for the medical bills. Professional liability insurance can pay your legal bills if a client sues, claiming the images you delivered were not high quality. Finally, if you have any employees, you are legally required by state law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.

Insureon makes shopping for insurance easy with industry-leading technology that gathers quotes from top U.S. carriers to fit your business needs. Read more to find out which policies are most common for photographers and videographers in California, and start an application to get your free quotes today.

Find the right insurance policy for your photography or videography business

The most common policies for California vary depending on a number of factors, including revenue, client contracts, and partnerships. The table below illustrates which policies might work best for your business type.


Business type General liability / BOP Professional liability Workers' comp
Sole proprietor X X  
Partner X X  
Contractor / freelancer X X  
Employer X X X


General liability insurance: One of the more affordable policies for photographers and videographers, general liability comes in handy for freelancers and studio owners alike. If you break a window with your boom mic during a commercial shoot or an actor trips on the stairs leading to your recording booth, general liability can take care of any medical and legal expenses that arise.

Business owner’s policy: Videographers and photographers sometimes qualify for a business owner’s policy, or BOP. This package helps your business save money by bundling commercial property insurance with general liability coverage at an affordable rate. A BOP is perfect for both photographers and videographers. Not only can it provide camera insurance to protect your valuable equipment, but if you rent your studio space, your landlord will likely require that you have general liability coverage. This way you get two valuable policies at a price typically lower than if you purchased them separately.

Inland marine insurance: While property insurance can cover equipment that stays at your primary business location, inland marine insurance can cover items you use in the field, such as cameras and lighting equipment you take to photograph a wedding. These items move from location to location, which subjects them to more opportunities for loss, damage, and theft. That’s why they require special coverage.

Professional liability insurance: This type of coverage, also known as errors and omissions insurance, protects videographers and photographers when a third party claims you failed to deliver on agreed-upon services. Even when events occur that are beyond your control, clients may not always be so understanding. The end result is often lost time and money for you. Avoid the hassle and expense with a professional liability policy.

California workers’ compensation insurance: A broken lens is bad. A broken bone is even worse. When someone working for you gets injured on the job or experiences a work-related illness, this is the policy that helps pay for medical expenses and lost wages. California requires all businesses with one or more employees to purchase workers’ comp. Failure to follow the law can result in penalties up to $100,000 and jail time. If you are a sole proprietor, you aren’t required to purchase workers’ comp coverage, but it’s still a good idea in order to protect your income and avoid paying medical bills yourself. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most commonly reported injuries for photographers and videographers in the United States are overexertion and bodily reactions, followed by slips, trips, and falls.

Common Workplace Injuries for Photographers and Videographers in the U.S.

Business insurance costs for photographers and videographers in California

California photographers and videographers can expect to pay roughly $425 annually for general liability coverage, according to data gathered from insurance applications through Insureon. This is the same as the U.S. median cost. A BOP will likely cost $550 per year, a little higher than the national annual median cost, and errors and omissions (professional liability) policies will likely cost California photo and video professionals $270 each year – about $70 less that the national average. At $1,232 per year, workers’ comp is the priciest form of coverage typically purchased by photographers and videographers in California, but is only about $200 more than the national median.

Median Business Insurance Costs for California Photographers and Videographers

Save time and money with Insureon

Insureon’s industry-leading technology helps photographers and videographers in California save time and money shopping for insurance by comparing policies from dozens of top U.S. carriers. Simply apply online and review quotes for the policies that best fit your business needs. Our insurance specialists are licensed in California and can answer your questions as you consider coverage.

To make the application go even quicker, have this information ready:

  • Workforce details, such as the number and types of employees.
  • Current and projected revenue.
  • Business partnerships.
  • Insurance history and prior claims.
  • Commercial lease insurance requirements.

Apply for free photographer and videographer insurance quotes today.