Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical costs and lost wages for work-related injuries and illnesses. This policy is required in almost every state for businesses that have employees.
If a photography assistant is injured after a falling at an on-location shoot or a gaffer drops a sandbag on his foot and breaks it, it can lead to expensive medical bills, not to mention lost time at work.
Workers’ compensation insurance can pay for medical expenses if an employee is injured at your photography studio or out on a shoot. It can cover ambulance rides, surgery, and rehabilitation expenses, also partial lost wages while the employee is unable to work.
Typically included in a workers’ comp policy, employer’s liability insurance provides protection if an employee sues a business owner over an injury.
For example, if an employee mentions a work-related injury and you fail to take action, that employee could file a lawsuit months later if the condition worsens. In that case, liability insurance can help cover:
Even if a lawsuit is frivolous, you could find yourself paying out of pocket for a costly legal defense if you don't have the protection included in a workers’ comp policy.
The amount you pay for workers’ compensation is a specific rate based on every $100 of your business’s payroll. Your premium is determined by the type of work done by your employees (classification rate), your experience modification rate (claims history), and your payroll (per $100).
The formula is:
Classification rate x Experience modification rate x (Payroll / 100) = Premium
The laws regarding workers’ comp will vary depending on where your employees live, since the requirements are set at the state level. For example, photography and videography businesses in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance as soon as even one employee is hired. However, in Georgia the workers’ comp requirement doesn’t kick in until a business hires its third employee.
While self-employed or independent contractors, sole proprietors, and partners don’t have to carry this policy, you can purchase workers’ compensation to protect yourself and your livelihood, too.
Learn more about workers’ compensation laws in your state.
In certain states, photo and video businesses must purchase workers’ compensation insurance through a monopolistic state fund. Those states are:
If you purchase workers’ comp through a monopolistic state fund, it might not include employer’s liability insurance. However, you can purchase it from a private insurer to fill this gap in coverage.
Shooting photos, short videos, or films may not seem like a dangerous profession, but it’s not completely without risk. Injuries can happen in any workplace. A cameraperson could get hit in the face with a boom mic, or a photo developer could trip on a cord in a darkroom. If an employee is hurt while working it could lead to an insurance claim – and a rise in your premium.
You and your crew often need to work quickly to get a shot, but you should also make sure everyone is working safely. Manage the risk you and your employees face by providing periodic safety training and eliminating potential hazards in the office, such as a broken step or a wet floor. Taking these steps could reduce workplace injuries along with insurance rates.
Workers’ compensation insurance offers protection for your employees, and to some extent your business, but it doesn’t provide coverage for all risks. Photography and videography business owners should also consider:
General liability insurance: This policy protects against basic photography and videography risks. It can cover damage to a client's property, or a slip-and-fall injury at your studio that leads to a lawsuit.
Business owner’s policy: A BOP bundles general liability insurance with commercial property insurance at a lower rate than purchasing both policies separately. If a client is injured at your office or a thief steals your camera equipment, your BOP can cover the costs.
Professional liability insurance: Also called errors and omissions insurance, this policy covers lawsuits related to work performance. For example, if a wedding videographer misses the bride and groom’s first kiss, or a photographer accidentally deletes the images from a catalog shoot, professional liability insurance can pay for legal expenses if the client sues.
Are you ready to protect your photography or videography business with workers’ compensation insurance? Complete Insureon’s easy online application today to compare quotes from top U.S. carriers. Once you find the right policy, you can begin coverage in less than 24 hours.