EXCLUSIONS: THE NO COST 'EXTRAS' YOU DO NOT WANT TO BUY
Not all policies are created equally. A review of some General
Liability and Property insurance products that are marketed to the
media community as "real insurance" reveals some scary and completely
unnecessary policy exclusions. If you are in the business of
photography or media industry, buyers beware.
Some examples of frequent exclusions to General Liability policies catering to the photographic and media industries are:
Why should your small business fear these General Liability exclusions?
- Erroneous Distribution
- Errors & Omissions
- Assault & Battery
- Exclusions or extreme limitations on Personal or Advertising Injury
You buy any insurance policy for the unpredictable and unpreventable
occurrences in your business life. Do you really want a claims adjuster
to interpret your insurance policy following a loss, only find the
unusual coverage exclusion? Unnecessary exclusions sure make denying
your claim easier.
Take Assault & Battery
Exclusions as one problematic example. You or your eighteen year old
assistant is accused of intentionally threatening physical harm upon
someone at a shoot? Stranger things have happened, especially
considering that an "assault" or "battery" is a broad legal term; in
fact an "assault" does not even require actual physical contact to
occur (see dictionary.law.com). Regardless of how ridiculous the
allegation against you might be, shouldn't your General Liability
insurance carrier at least provide you with a lawyer to defend you? You
won't have a prayer when you buy a policy that excludes coverage for
Assault & Battery. And, some other advice if your policy excludes
Assault or Battery: whatever you do, don't break up a fight at a
Take Personal and Advertising Injury Exclusions
as a second example. This coverage is fairly standard. So long as you
are not shooting original motion pictures, publishing original books or
other media for widespread public consumption, or are in the
advertising business, personal injury and advertising injury coverage
is not all that difficult to obtain. Should a photographer expect this
exclusion by default? Absolutely not.
Personal and Advertising Injury Liability can be built into your
General Liability policy. When it is, it covers invasion of privacy,
among a number of other liability concerns you should have, since all
artists, to some degree or another, invade privacy to obtain the right
lighting and angle. Even those professionals who manipulate existing
images face the potential for personal injury. Anyone in the media
business really needs this coverage.
Why do so many insurance carriers promote their insurance products
as the everyday coverage a photographer, graphic artist or other media
professional should buy, when you later discover, the coverage is
actually extremely diluted and probably not even worth the $175 you
paid to buy the policy? The Most Compelling Reasons Not to Purchase a Policy with 'Extra' Exclusions
Other Common Warning Signs of Weak Coverage
- Because if the brokers who offer the policy advertise that
they specialize in media, arts, or photography, and, at the same time,
will offer you substandard coverage with unnecessary exclusions, they
are not specialists in your field at all. They are just trying to sell
insurance to you, of any kind, at any cost, regardless of final
quality. When you are not doing business with a specialist, do not
expect special understanding of you or special treatment of your studio
when you have a question or file a claim.
you (the insured) will put yourself at odds with your insurance carrier
in the event you file a potentially excluded claim. Exclusions already
exist in EVERY insurance policy. So, it does not make sense to buy one
- Because unusual exclusions
reflect a lazy insurance broker. These unusual exclusions are inserted
into your policy, and in every other policy the broker offers, for one
clear reason. The insurance brokerage does not want to take his time to
(1) review your application for accuracy, (2) examine your website, (3)
inquire about previous losses or claims, and/or (3) discuss your true
insurance needs with you. To do so requires time and money the broker
does not want to commit.
Rather than evaluate your
particular needs and business operations, even when most media
businesses do not justify adding unusual exclusions, these unnecessary
exclusions become elemental to all policies sold by the broker when the
broker or carrier is unwilling to consider your business for what it is.
the carrier excluded coverage for a reason. Why else would the
insurance company add an unusual exclusion unless there is concern for
a large unanticipated or uncontrollable claim? Insurance companies
often exclude coverage for what most is the greatest uncontrollable or
unknowable risk. Most of these unusual exclusions should then be viewed
as the insurance company avoiding coverage for either very frequent or
very expensive claims.
- Because you might actually file a claim that is barred from coverage by one of these unusual exclusions.
you can find stronger coverage and better protection provided by other
policies. Stretch your insurance premium dollars further when you buy a
policy not diluted by coverage exclusions. You might pay $10 a month
more in premium, but you will receive the security you deserve when you
file a claim.
Besides actual Exclusions added to the policy, some programs offer
relatively weak coverage in other respects. Consider these
catch-phrases as being warning signs of weak coverage:
- Master Policy or Program. Often you will not even see a copy of the actual policy unless you
request it. Instead you will see a "certificate of coverage." In a
Master program, your business in essence entitles you to become a
shareholder in one large policy. The problem with purchasing coverage
in this manner is that your insurance policy is better when it operates
as a closed savings account only accessible to you. This approach
provides you, the policyholder with far better security and control.
- "Limits are shared by all members". It does not make smart business sense to pay a premium for coverage and
risk the availability of your insurance limits to the actions of other
insureds. Buy a policy for yourself.
- Policies that start at $150 dollars. Look you get what you pay for.