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CASE STUDY: Do photographers need professional indemnity insurance?

15 July 2019

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A shoot gone wrong, an unhappy client, an email from your client’s lawyer. Things don’t always go to plan. So, do photographers need professional indemnity?

christopher pillitz

© Christopher Pillitz, from Find a Photographer


Professional indemnity is an insurance product designed to protect you and your photography business. But what is professional indemnity insurance, and what does it really cover?

What is professional indemnity?
In very simple terms, professional indemnity covers you for mistakes or an allegation you’ve made a mistake.

Professional indemnity provides:

• Compensation to your client (or a third-party) in circumstances where you are liable due to professional negligence

• Defence costs, to defend you against un-justified allegations of negligence

A basic professional indemnity product will only protect you against allegations of negligence. The professional indemnity policy provided to AOP members covers a lot than negligence only. Matters such as breach of intellectual property including copyright infringement, breach of confidentiality and breach of confidence are often covered under more comprehensive professional indemnity policies.

What are the most common claims types of professional indemnity claims for photographers?

•Allegation by the photographer’s client that they are unhappy with the quality of the work.

•Allegation the photographer has breached copyright of a third party. These can be extremely costly to handle. Often accidental failure to seek appropriate clearances for the use for the use of material that is subject trademark or copyright, such as third party brands.

•Mistakes within the production of shoot, that result in allegations against the photographer. Simply mistakes can in some cases result in allegations against the photographer, such as failure to back up the production, failure to obtain model clearance or mistakes on the day of the shoot.

Can only clients make a valid claim under professional indemnity insurance?

Whilst traditionally professional indemnity would only cover claims from clients. Photographers can be at risk from claims from third parties that are not engaged as clients. For example, a production company could bring a claim against a photographer for breach of copyright, or even a model can allege you hadn’t obtained written clearance. A comprehensive professional indemnity policy will cover claims from any third-party, not just unhappy clients.

I’ve never had a claim before, do I really need professional indemnity as a photographer?

Professional indemnity claims are certainly less frequent than claims for damaged equipment but, they can be extremely stressful and expensive. It’s easy to quantify the value of the claim for a damaged camera. Quantifying the loss for a breach of copyright, for example, can be far more difficult.

In the unlikely event something does go wrong, there’s nothing worse than attempting to handle this matter yourself. If you are insured with a specialist media insurer, their claims handlers and solicitors are experts in these situations.


Associate and Accredited Photographer members get free PI Insurance worth £300.00 as one of the many member benefits. Find out more here

Williamson & Carson offer members discounted insurance rates - sign into the members dashboard to find out more.

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