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Thread: Do I need public liability insurance?

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    Do I need public liability insurance?

    OK I'm sure this has probably been discussed plenty of times on here before but a search couldn't locate the answer I'm after.

    I'm offering to friends and friend of friends to do family photo shoots to build my portfolio for a few months.

    I'm not charging them per se but I am providing a bit of a picnic spread and they are re-imbursing me for the costs of the food and drink.

    As much as I'm not charging them, as far as most of them could see I am operating as a business who is offering a 'special deal' for example.

    So, do I need public liability insurance? I will be operating in public places and not at my own home.

    For those photographers that have it, what are your premiums for $10 mil coverage? or could you recommend a company to enquire with?

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    My first response is to seek professional legal advice as to whether you are regarded as carrying out a business by way of " photos for food " but in the long run if all goes pear shaped at a shoot that you organise or are asked to perform whether for reward or not there is probably a legal eagle out there that can convince the aggrieved party that they can sue you.

    Many insurance companies offer PL policies separately and others will combine it with your house and or contents insurance so the reasonably priced offerings are probably good value to have in case of mishaps, photography related or not.
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    Personally I would ay based on where you are at, ie not operating professionally, no.

    Andrew, usually this is quite specific insurance when operating professionally and I don't believe that your normal h&c policy will cover it
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Darren, no, when operating commercially, ordinary household policies won't cover you but that is the point with this thread that legal advice needs to be sought as to whether operating on a "photos for food" is commercial or not.
    If it is not deemed to be commercial work then an extension to your ordinary household policy to cover events away from home may be a good idea as if one is found to be the cause of an incident then you are still going to be needing something other than small change to cover your butt if someone starts to sue.
    The question regarding being in public places and maybe relying on the policy of whoever administers the public place is not the way to go as they may have many clauses in their blanket cover relating to what is covered under "reasonable use" of the public place. A public place such as a local government run recreation reserve may say that someone that falls over and breaks a leg while be playing frisbee is doing an activity within that space that the place was designed for but by the same token they may argues that a non commercial undertaking such as "photoshoot" doesn't fall within their bounds of acceptable use.

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    Agreed.

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    It's not 'photos for food' as such rather that I'm supplying a spread and they are covering costs.

    Really I don't think it's about what else other than the photography is supplied, more that as far as they are concerned I'm a professional providing a special deal (ie some free shots).

    For immediate friends and family I don't see an issue at all, it's rather the friends of friends that I'm worried about.

    Any ideas what this insurance usually costs as a standalone policy? It may be what puts the kybosh on my idea really as I don't see myself attempting to earn any 'real' cash from this anytime soon.

    I agree that legal advice is certainly the way to go but I wonder if the advice may cost as much as the insurance.
    Last edited by bb45pz; 29-12-2010 at 10:49pm.

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    If you cause any loss/damage for any third party when out in public regardless of whether you are undertaking a paid professional activity or not, you are liable for that loss/damage where it is a result of your negligence.

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    My policy cost about $450, incl professional indemnity though

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    If you cause any loss/damage for any third party when out in public regardless of whether you are undertaking a paid professional activity or not, you are liable for that loss/damage where it is a result of your negligence.
    So, based on this, serious question, why take on insurance for photography, when you probably don't have one for riding a bicycle based on risk ?

    Interesting topic for most I think

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    For a genuine all PL risks policy think about $600 for $20m but that only covers your risk. The risks you insure will be highlighted. If someone were to take a photo for you they are usually not covered. By the way, it doesn't cover you for any property risk, just PL. If you are in a place where you shouldn't be the policy will be null and void. I would forget about the term "professional" and make sure your friends understand this is purely an amateur/enthusiast event. Who supplies the food is of no relevance and certainly shouldn't be considered payment for any work. We all eat and share costs (well, most of us anyway - except Kiwi's)
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    No, I'm the grinch that stole Xmas

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    My policy cost about $450, incl professional indemnity though
    Swap ya! I spent over $120k on insurance since June. And that's project based (film industry) for docos. Over the years I've only ever had one claim and that was from the State Government and they were negligent anyway. Thank God.

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    Hi guys,

    I'm a Freelance photographer based in Sydney.

    I currently have one quotation from AON for PL Insurance and insurance for my camera equipment.

    Can you recommend me two other companies I can obtain quotations from.

    Just want to compare them all.

    Thanks for your help!
    Canon 7D with various lenses...

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    Photo direct is who I use, just shop about and ring around, or use a broker

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    Like Kiwi says, use a broker. Or you could try CGU direct.

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    Thanks for all the advice guys, I'll shop around a bit but as I don't want to tag myself as just an enthusiast/amatuer so I guess that's the problem. I'm in the grey area between amatuer and pro at the moment, sort of prepping myself to go part time pro in a year or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bb45pz View Post
    Thanks for all the advice guys, I'll shop around a bit but as I don't want to tag myself as just an enthusiast/amateur so I guess that's the problem. I'm in the grey area between amateur and pro at the moment, sort of prepping myself to go part time pro in a year or so.
    Actually, there is no grey area. You're either an amateur or a professional much like golf or tennis or boxing or even law or engineering. When you turn professional (irrespective of qualification) you gain the benefits of that profession but also pay the bills. If you're not ready to pay the bills and meet the commitments then you're not professional. It really has nothing to do with how good you think you may be at your chosen hobby/occupation.
    Anyway, any person who wants to give up their "amateur" status simply for a "professional" title has rocks in their head. Case in question and contrary to what I said above: Several years ago I went to the Andre Reiu festival in Brisbane. Asked if I was a professional (and knowing they wouldn't let me in without accreditation) I told them I was an enthusiast (with a D3X and 300mm lens) and no worries. Authorities love people who aren't making a profit. Unless you make heaps of money from your photography, stay amateur and be proud of it.

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    Funny you say that as I've been getting permission around different locations in Sydney lately and all seem to be of the same opinion, if you're amateur then it's OK otherwise 'No' or 'you have to pay' etc etc.

    I'd call this a grey area. I'm amateur in the sense that I'm not earning money from it yet but have some of the responsibilities of a professional just due the perception of the clients that I'm taking photographs of (hence insurance etc).

    It's a step on the pathway to becoming a full time professional. I also disagree that becoming a professional and working at photography full time is a bad thing. Sure beats fixing fire alarms for the next 30 years

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    If you are charging money or in kind your professional. Acting professionally doesn't count

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    What are you saying, I can get away with charging and not acting professionally?

    I don't entirely subscribe to that theory. I think there needs to be a casual clause in there about being successful at it. Plenty of people charging money that get very few jobs and don't pay any bills from it I would think...still professional?? Not IMO.

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