Gotcha Covered – Insurance Resources for Artists

By Carolyn Edlund

 

You might be under the impression that your homeowners or renters insurance will cover your home studio and your business. You would be wrong.

You might think that you can’t afford to purchase business insurance because it’s too expensive.  Compared to being a defendant in a liability lawsuit or losing your studio, office contents and inventory in a fire or disaster, insurance premiums are an incredible deal. And, you might be surprised that they aren’t as expensive as you thought.

Homeowners insurance covers personal liability, your home itself and your personal property (furniture, clothing, etc.) but not business property or liability.  When applying for homeowner’s coverage, let your agent know that you have a home business. A home business endorsement can be included as a rider on your policy.

Please note that no homeowners, renters or business policy covers loss due to floods. Flood insurance can be obtained from the government. See their website here.

A Business Owners Policy (BOP) is type of policy that could serve your needs. Contact an independent insurance agent in your area, who can shop several different carriers and quote on your best possible coverage and price. Not all insurance companies that offer home and auto insurance (personal lines) also sell business insurance.

Another source for artists to obtain business insurance (or even health insurance) is to go through a guild or arts organization. Check out the Artists Help Network for more details on groups and master agencies that can help with coverage.

A terrific resource for artists and craftspeople is CERF+. They do not sell insurance, but offer a wealth of information on getting the proper coverage for your business. CERF+ also has disaster relief available to craft artists in the form of grants and loans in the event of a career-threatening emergency.

When buying insurance for your business (or your home, whether owned or rented), it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of your belongings. This can be of immense benefit in the event of a claim, helping to settle them more quickly and accurately. Take photos of everything in your studio, and either store them offsite (in a safe deposit box or with a relative, for example), or store them online.  Know Your Stuff from the Insurance Information Institute has free software for you to list your inventory and upload photos – and they store it free as well!

Insurance can be confusing, and it’s easy to overlook or avoid by procrastination. Spend some time today getting more information, making it easier to get yourself and your business covered  –  and get peace of mind.

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this! It’s time for me to solve it, and I really appreciate having options beyond my own insurance company.

  2. I received a comment from a reader (although not posted on this article) which says:

    Might want to amend your insurance advice in today’s column. Insurance requirements vary from state to state. In general the BOP (business owner’s policy) does a poor job of insuring art inventory & supplies. If you check the limitations, exclusions and definitions, you are likely to find that there is NO coverage while art is on exhibition; that completed work is covered only for the cost of materials; that there is a dollar limitation of the covered value. Do not count on your agent to read the policy for you. The BOP will cover your studio equipment and your general liability, but artists will almost surely find they need property coverage from an art specialist company.

    While I agree with the commenter that many BOPs aren’t the best insurance product for artists, my readers are diverse, and it’s entirely possible that a BOP will serve some well. Liability is a concern, especially if you invite shoppers into your space (open studios, for example) to do business.

    Some artists will not pursue guilds, organizations or specialty insurance. They should contact an agent and give them as much information as possible about their business so the agent can look into companies that can provide coverage for them, or refer them to other providers.

  3. Great read, however, the Artist Help Network link is dead. It appears the domain is up for sale. Do you have advice on somewhere else to look?

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