Business Insurance

Acquiring affordable business owner’s insurance that adequately covers your biggest potential risks is a process that takes some time and effort on your part, but the resulting security is worth it. Business insurance includes a diverse set of over a hundred coverage components while other types of insurance involve only a few. Auto insurance, for instance, only has five coverage components. This means that for proper coverage, each business requires a customized approach to analyzing its insurance needs. It’s a smorgasbord as opposed to a vending machine!

Steps in Getting Coverage

PREPARE A BUSINESS “COMMENTARY”

To help your insurance agent understand your business, prepare a one to two page description of your background, experience and scope of operations. The agent will use this information to weed out underwriters who have little interest in your type of business.

IDENTIFY EXPOSURES

The insurance agent can help with this, but if you have done a thorough job with safety precautions (see above), then you have a good idea of what risks your business is exposed to. Make a list of these risks, whether or not they are insurable, from most serious to least.

Read a Studio Protector blog about doing a studio property inventory>

COMMON SPECIFICATIONS PREPARED BY AGENT

Armed with relevant knowledge of your business from the above steps and knowledge of the insurance industry, your agent will organize specifications for quotation and identify desired options. These specifications are transcribed into insurance policy applications.

WEIGH THE MERITS OF QUOTES GATHERED

Ideally, your agent will list each suggested coverage, including its particular cost factor, in order of the catastrophic potential that risk represents to the business. This way, you can make educated decisions about adding to or cutting back coverage to achieve the best cost/benefit balance.

Cost of Doing Business

The cost of business insurance is not prohibitive; however, replacing your studio and not being able to work are. CERF+ has seen too many businesses unable to bounce back after an uninsured emergency. Remind yourself that having good coverage is one of the costs of doing business and part of your responsibility to yourself, your business and others who depend on you. The rates for coverage will vary depending on where you live and which underwriter you work with. A basic business owner’s policy will cost between $400-$1,000 annually. Of course, every business is unique and yours may require special coverage, which can raise the overall cost.

Things to Watch Out For

  • Proper protection — Don't be under-insured. If you can't afford complete coverage, purchasing some insurance is better than having none. Do avoid unnecessary coverage.

  • If you rent — Too often we hear from  artists who didn't have business insurance because they thought they'd be covered under their landlord's policy. WRONG! The landlord's building is covered under his/her policy, but not your equipment, tools and inventory.

  • In-home studios — Homeowners policies provide little (typically $2,500 for business equipment) or no coverage for business related assets. You may be able to add endorsements to your homeowners policy, but for adequate coverage most in-home  art business need a separate business insurance policy.

  • Gaps in coverage — Make sure you understand the scope of your coverage. If there are known gaps due to cost, understand what they are and make an alternate plan.

  • High deductibles — Be careful not to be tempted into purchasing a policy with a high deductible in an attempt to keep costs low. Can you really afford to pay a $10,000 deductible if something occurs?

  • Exclusions — Know what they are and don't be afraid to ask questions!

  • Quotes — Shop around and get at least three quotes; rates vary widely.

  • Stability of the insurance carrier — It’s a good idea to check the financial stability of the insurance company before signing up for the policy. Independent agencies, such as A. M. Best and Standard & Poor’s provide free basic rating reports on insurance companies as well as complete reports at a cost. There is more information on these rating services in Resources.

  • Good corporate citizen – Is your current or potential insurance carrier a good company to work with, or even licensed in your state? United Policyholders, FBIC and your state insurance commission’s office can help answer these questions. Details found in Resources.

  • Claims — Ask your insurance representative if any claims have been made on the type of insurance they're offering and what turn-around time you would expect in the event of a claim. If no claims have been made or you feel service is unreasonable, choose a different company with which to work. 

Types of Business Insurance Coverage

BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY COVERAGE

  • Building — Covers the physical structure of your studio.

  • Business Personal Property — covers the contents of your studio such as tools, equipment, raw materials, inventory in progress, finished products, valuable papers and records, and electronic data processing.

  • Business Interruption — covers the loss of business income incurred during the period of time your studio is closed due to an emergency.

  • Inland Marine — covers your work while in transit to shows or elsewhere. This can cover your work, booth, shelves, display cases, and so on.

  • Personal Property of Others — coverage for those who work on other people's property in their own studio.

GENERAL LIABILITY COVERAGE

  • Liability — Liability insurance protects you if someone is injured while on your property or if your property causes damage to others.

  • Umbrella — Protects beyond liability coverage, kicks in when all other liability coverage is exhausted, usually in increments of $1 million.

OTHER COVERAGE

Keep in mind that basic business insurance policies cover risks to property like fire, lightning, explosion, windstorm or hail, smoke, riot, theft, water damage, vandalism, weight of snow, and so on. It may be called "all-risk" coverage, but will most likely have exclusions. Often times flood, earthquake and acts of terrorism are not covered in a standard insurance package so if you feel at risk for these, you may want to investigate additional coverage. Understand what the exclusions in your policy are. Also know the amount or limit of coverage (e.g., up to $25,000 for studio contents, $25,000 for work off-premise, in-transit, etc.) and make sure you get as much protection as you need.

  • Extended Business Income — extends payment for losses of business income beyond Business Interruption coverage time limits.

  • Extra Expense — pays for re-location of your studio, if necessary, due to a significant loss.

  • Employee Dishonesty — covers losses due to dishonest acts of employees.

  • Product Liability — covers you in the event your product injures someone.

Video from Insurance Information Institute about BOP's or Business Owner's Policies

Finding an Insurance Representative

Finding a good agent or broker should be relatively easy if you ask friends and/or colleagues whom they use. Make sure to choose a representative you feel comfortable working with, someone who is communicative and responsive to your needs. You may decide to work with an agent who represents a specific company or companies, or go with a broker who independently and directly represents you to the marketplace. Brokers may offer a broader range of coverage options because they represent you and not the insurance company, but either choice is fine. Just be sure your representative understands your insurance needs and helps you to design a package that provides the coverage appropriate to your situation. It's okay to be wary of insurance salespeople. A healthy dose of skepticism means you'll use good judgment when making your decision about who to work with and what coverage you're going to choose.

Summary

Only a third of  artists assisted by CERF+ have business insurance. The cost of not having business insurance or having inadequate insurance can be devastating to any business.

We think it is vital that all  artists take steps to reduce the chance of loss and acquire adequate business insurance. The cost of business insurance may be less than you think, and when approached with thoroughness and a proactive insurance agent, you will be sure to be getting the most complete and appropriate coverage for the money.

At CERF, we know that if every professional craft artist in the country took the steps outlined in this paper there would still be need for our emergency relief services, but we also know each dollar of assistance would go further. Please contact CERF if you need more assistance with your risk management plan.

Insurance Resources

CERF+ maintains a listing of nationally-marketed business insurance plans that have been designed for artists, and resources to assist artists in making informed decisions. If you find a listing that is no longer up-to-date or fail to receive a reply, please send us an email.


Business Insurance Plans

The following organizations and companies offer business insurance to artists. We provide this as a resource only, and do not endorse products offered by any company or organization. If you know of other organizations or companies who have plans specifically designed for artists please contact us at: insurance@studioprotector.org

Please note: Insurance companies do not monitor these listings - please contact desired companies directly to obtain quotes.
 

To filter the listings select the criteria that apply to your search and press the "filter" button. The clear filters link will return the entire list and clear your filter selections.

 

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AAW Sponsored Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist American Association of Woodturners
Plan Types: Membership Group Plan St. Paul, MN 55102
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Custom Quote http://www.associationmembersinsurance.com/aaw
Excluded States: none Michael George
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0 317-735-4072
Underwritten by: Travelers, Hartford, Others mgeorge@associationmembersinsurance.org
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Workers Compensation

As a service to its members, the American Association of Woodturners is sponsoring policies offered by Association Insurance Programs. The AAW endorsed program offers specialized policies that can be customized to fit the needs of their member businesses. 
View Details

ACC Sponsored Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist American Craft Council
Plan Types: Membership Group Plan Minneapolis, MN 55413-1089
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Custom Quote http://www.associationmembersinsurance.com/acc
Excluded States: none Michael George
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0 317-735-4072
Underwritten by: Travelers, Hartford, Others mgeorge@associationmembersinsurance.org
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Workers Compensation

As a service to its members, the American Craft Association is sponsoring policies offered by Association Insurance Programs. The ACC endorsed program offers specialized policies that can be customized to fit the needs of their member businesses.


View Details

Art Glass Association Sponsored Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist Art Glass Association
Plan Types: Membership Group Plan Zanesville, OH 43702-2537
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Custom Quote http://www.associationmembersinsurance.com/artglass
Excluded States: none Michael George
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0 317-735-4072
Underwritten by: Travelers, Hartford, Others mgeorge@associationmembersinsurance.org
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Workers Compensation

As a service to its members, the Art Glass Association is sponsoring policies offered by Association Insurance Programs. The AGA endorsed program offers specialized policies that can be customized to fit the needs of their member businesses. 


View Details

Artist and Craft Artist Program

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist Brower Insurance
Plan Types: Individual Business Columbus, OH 43240
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Self-quote-select coverage levels from list http://www.browerinsurance.com/business/specialty-programs/artist-program
Excluded States: LA Dave Kotary
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$20 (614) 918-2276
Underwritten by: Westfield Insurance Company dkotary@browerinsurance.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,General Liability,Inland Marine

Brower Insurance has a basic property and liability policy for artists and craft artists in the US. A plan that provides property, liability, and inland marine (away from business location) insurance starts at $340 per year, with options to increase liability coverage up to $2 Million, and property up to $100,000. Brower Insurance can also craft individualized policies that meet specific needs of artists anywhere in the US.
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Artists, Crafters & Tradesman Association (ACTinsPro)

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist, Musician, Performing Artist Great American Insurance Company
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: website application and purchase - complete online process http://www.actinspro.com
Excluded States: none Daryle Stafford
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: none 888-395-1308
Underwritten by: Veracity Insurance Solutions, LLC info@veracityins.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,General Liability,Single Exhibit Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine

The ACTInsPro website was developed to offer insurance options for artists and information to those in the Arts and Craft industry. Great American Insurance Company's mission is to create a simple and affordable way for small business owners to purchase insurance without having to compromise their coverage.


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Brower Individual Policies

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist, Musician, Performing Artist Brower Insurance
Plan Types: Individual Business Columbus, OH 43240
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Custom quote http://www.browerinsurance.com
Excluded States: none Dave Kotary
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0 (614) 918-2276
Underwritten by: Westfield, Philadelphia, Travelers, CNA, Hartford, and others as needed dkotary@browerinsurance.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Single Exhibit Liability,Professional Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine,Workers Compensation,Flood Insurance

We gain an understanding of the insured's business, insurance needs and budget, and design an insurance program to address each. We provide coverage options so the insured can design his/her own program to meet his/her specifications.
Rating: (1)

View Details

Business Property and Liability

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist Potters Council
Plan Types: Membership Group Plan Westerville, OH 43082
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Select from list http://ceramicartsdaily.org/potters-council/business-property-and-liability-insurance/
Cindy Patterson
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$20 614-918-2274
Underwritten by: Westfield Insurance Company ArtistProgram@browerinsurance.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Inland Marine

Brower Insurance will be offering the Brower Artist and Craft Insurance Program for Potters Council members. This program has successfully supplied artists with business property and business liability insurance for more than 31 years. They custom quote each artist to design a program that provides the appropriate coverage.


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Concessionaire / Exhibitor / Vendor Program

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist, Musician, Performing Artist K&K Insurance Group, Inc.
Plan Types: Individual Business Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Visit our website, answer a few questions and receive a quote immediately http://www.eventinsurance-kk.com
Excluded States: none
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0
Underwritten by: K&K Insurance Group, Inc.
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,General Liability,Professional Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine

Designed for vendors who sell, display, demonstrate or promote their products or services on a short term basis away from any owned or long-term leased premises. Operations can be conducted from a kiosk, booth, cart, trailer, tent or outdoor area.  Coverage also available for performing artists; see www.kandkinsurance.com for more information.

 

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Insurance for Craft and Visual Artists

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist Fractured Atlas
Plan Types: Individual Business New York, NY 10001
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Complete an application on the Fractured Atlas website http://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/liability/
Excluded States: none
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0
Underwritten by: CNA, Hartford, Aspen
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Professional Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine,Workers Compensation

Fractured Atlas is a nonprofit artist service organization. Among their programs are a wide variety of insurance plans designed for visual and performing artists. Fractured Atlas has a licensed insurance broker on staff to work with artists.

To apply to this insurance program you must be a Fractured Atlas member first.  You can sign up for a free membership by using the following link www.fracturedatlas.org/cerf.  Fractured Atlas also provides a complimentary copy of the Studio Protector ® Wall Guide to artists who enroll in the plan.


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Insurance for Performing Artists

Offered By:
Artist Types: Musician, Performing Artist Fractured Atlas
Plan Types: Individual Business New York, NY 10001
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Complete an application on the Fractured Atlas website http://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/liability/
Excluded States: none
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0
Underwritten by: Philadelphia Insurance, Aspen
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Professional Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine,Workers Compensation

Fractured Atlas is a nonprofit artist service organization. Among their programs are a wide variety of insurance plans designed for visual and performing artists. Fractured Atlas has a licensed insurance broker on staff to work with artists.

To apply to this insurance program you must be a Fractured Atlas member first.  You can sign up for a free membership by using the following link www.fracturedatlas.org/cerf.  Fractured Atlas also provides a complimentary copy of the Studio Protector ® Wall Guide to artists who enroll in the plan.


View Details

International Encaustic Artists Sponsored Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist International Encaustic Artists
Plan Types: Membership Group Plan Novato, CA
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Custom Quote http://www.associationmembersinsurance.com/artisans_quote
Excluded States: none Michael George
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0 317-735-4072
Underwritten by: Travelers, Hartford, Others mgeorge@associationmembersinsurance.org
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Workers Compensation

As a service to its members, the International Encaustic Artists is sponsoring policies offered by Association Insurance Programs. The IEA endorsed program offers specialized policies that can be customized to fit the needs of their member businesses. 


View Details

Jewelers Mutual Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company
Plan Types: Individual Business Neenah, WI 54957
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Please call 800-558-6411 to be put in contact with a local agent that can provide you with a Jewelers Mutual quote. http://jewelersmutual.com/Business-Jewelry-Insurance.aspx
Excluded States: none
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Single Exhibit Liability,Professional Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine

The Jewelers Standard provides coverage for:
-Your inventory of jewelry stock for sale. 
-Primary coverage for customers' property (from those not in the jewelry business) that has been delivered or entrusted to you. 
-The expense of hiring a trained security guard in the unusual situation we require a guard due to alarm system failure. 
-Accounting expenses if we agree that you should hire an accounting firm to present a claim for property losses.


View Details

Professional Photography Insurance Package

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist APA Insurance Services
Plan Types: Membership Group Plan,Individual Business Alpharetta, GA 30022
Plan contact information:
http://www.apainsuranceservices.com/insurance-for-photographers
Excluded States: none Karen Stetz
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $0/$0 678-822-0150
Underwritten by: CNA, The Hartford, Fireman's Fund karen@apainsuranceservices.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability,Professional Liability,Event Liability,Inland Marine,Workers Compensation

Our custom photography insurance packages are tailored to cover the unique risk exposures of each professional photographer.


View Details

Quilters Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist HUB International Insurance Services
Plan Types: Individual Business Phoenix, AZ 85020
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Contact Chris Johnston none
Excluded States: unknown Chris Johnston
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: unknown 602-749-4282
Underwritten by: unknown chris.johnston@hubinternational.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A business insurance policy designed for quilters who work from home with minimal retail traffic.


View Details

RLI - Home Business Insurance

Offered By:
Artist Types: Craft Artist, Visual Artist, Musician, Performing Artist RLI
Plan Types: Individual Business Peoria, IL 61615
Plan contact information:
How Quoted: Contact Chris Alexander http://www.insuremyhomebiz.com
Excluded States: none Chris Alexander
$ for certificate of ins./Add'l. Insured: $20/$20 309-692-1000 ext 5481
Underwritten by: RLI Insurance Company chris.alexander@rlicorp.com
Coverage Available: Business Personal Property,Business Owners Policy (BOP),General Liability

RLI - Home Business Insurance (HBI) - Coverage for Business Property / General Liability for Home Based Businesses.

Protects businesses you run from home (full or part-time) from losses not typically covered by a homeowners policy. Before you find a business to start from home, make sure you can find insurance to cover it — on the road or at home.


View Details

 Business Insurance Guidebook for Artists

 

Business Insurance Guidebook for Artists

A Studio Protector® publication by CERF+, this pocket-sized booklet contains the essential information you need to assess your business insurance needs and to purchase a business insurance policy for your studio — all in easy to follow checklists and tips.  It is available for $3.00 including postage from the CERF+ Store.

A printable pdf version is also available for free download:

Business Insurance Guidebook for Artists, pdf, 1.5MB

 

What if…

  •  A lightning strike or electrical fire burned your studio to the ground one night, or

  •  Heavy winds caused a tree to fall on your studio, destroying expensive tools and work in progress, or

  •  Your art show display collapsed, destroying the work in a neighboring booth or severely injuring a child?

Are you willing to gamble your assets, your financial future, and your ability to pursue a career as an artist by betting that nothing like this will happen to you?

Business insurance is a tool you can use to transfer unacceptable risks to an insurance company.

Did You Know?

  • Homeowners or renters insurance usually excludes most business property and all liability related to business activities, unless you have specifically 
purchased a home business endorsement (rider).

  • Homeowners insurance excludes buildings on your property if they are used for business purposes.

  • For insurance purposes, you are in business if you offer goods or services for sale.

  • Homeowners, renters, AND business insurance 
 policies exclude losses from floods and earthquakes. 

Risk Management

Risk management is critical to running your business safely and responsibly. It involves lessening your exposure to risk by

  • Employing safety precautions particular to your business

  • Protecting against catastrophic and unanticipated losses through adequate insurance coverage

Managing risks means being proactive about the future of your career by protecting not only your studio and materials, but also your ability to earn an income. A good risk management plan includes taking all reasonable steps to reduce the potential loss from these risks, whether at your studio, in transit, or on location:

  • Bodily injury (yourself, employees, customers, and others)

  • Property (structure, inventory, tools, supplies, records, etc) loss from fire or natural disaster

  • Theft

  • Property of others in your care

  • Pollution or other hazards that may be a consequence 
 of materials or processes specific to your medium

 

To Do — IDENTIFY RISKS

Make a list of risks, whether or not they are insurable, from most serious to least. Try to make this list pretty comprehensive and include things like data loss as well as natural disasters, fires from various causes, theft, trees, etc. Add steps you can take, including insurance, to protect yourself from each risk.

To Do — STUDIO INVENTORY

A vital precautionary step to take for your risk management plan is to have an up-to-date inventory of your assets, and to have a copy stored in a safe off-site location (and/or in an internet “cloud” backup). 
Document your tools, equipment, finished works, and other assets with photos and store with your inventory records. This inventory will help you determine how much property you have at risk that needs to be insured. If you do experience a property loss, these records will be invaluable in establishing values for an insurance claim or for disaster assistance.

TIP — The Studio Protector Online Guide:

www.studioprotector.org has information to help you take steps to protect your “A’s”—your art, your assets, and your archives, and to help you take effective steps to recover should an emergency happen.

Liability — Avoiding a High-Stakes Bet

Even if you are very careful, unforeseen things can happen that result in bodily injury or property damage to others. While the chances of such an occurrence may be relatively low, the consequences can be catastrophic to you, your family, and your career. Consider these scenarios:

  • Someone slips and falls at your studio during a holiday studio tour, and their insurance company sues you to recover medical costs. Your 
homeowners insurance company refuses the claim because the tour was a business-related activity.

  • Your art show booth gets blown or knocked over, destroying $50,000 worth of blown glass in your neighbor’s booth, or worse, injures a child. 
The injured party contends that you are at fault because your booth was not adequately secured.

  • Someone is injured by your work and their health insurance company sues you to recover $150,000 in medical payments, the injured person sues for pain and suffering, or both.

Artists who would never consider driving a car without liability insurance too often operate their businesses without this vital coverage. Many artists mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance will cover them in some of these instances. Going without liability insurance for your business is truly a high-stakes gamble.

Because risk exposure for liability is calculated by annual gross business receipts, most artists will find liability insurance to be surprisingly affordable.


Liability — Things Worth Considering:

  • Homeowners and renters insurance generally exclude liability arising from business-related activities.

  • Your landlord’s insurance covers him, not you for liability and property loss.

  • Even if you are found not at fault, a liability law suit could cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend. Liability insurance generally covers legal costs to defend such suits.

  • Liability judgments are not dismissed by bankruptcy and will follow you until settled.

  • For product liability, the policy that is in force when a loss occurs pays the costs — so you need to maintain your liability insurance.

  • Show promoters’ insurance policies generally do not cover exhibitors, and many show contracts require you to assume liability for your own display and actions at a show.

  • Increasingly, shows and public arts commissions require proof of liability insurance in the range of $500,000 to $2 million. While that sounds like a wide range, there may be only a modest difference in premiums to purchase coverage with higher limits. Insurance companies routinely provide proof of insurance when it is required as a service to their clients.

Types of Business Insurance Coverage

BUSINESS PROPERTY

  • Property (Building) — Covers the physical structure of your studio. If your studio is in a building on the same property as your home, do not assume that your homeowners insurance covers it!

  • Business Personal Property — Covers the contents of your studio such as tools, equipment, raw materials, work in progress, finished products, etc.

  • Inland Marine — Covers your work and other property in transit or away from the studio, such as when teaching, doing an installation, or at an arts festival.

  • Personal Property of Others — If you do repair or conservation work you need insurance for work in your care, however it does not cover damage you may cause in the course of working on the object.

Does not cover:

    • Flood Damage — Damage from “rising water” requires special flood insurance to be covered.

    • Earthquake Damage — Damage from earthquakes or other kinds of earth movement requires earthquake insurance to be covered.

TIP — Property may be insured for either Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value (replacement cost minus depreciation). Replacement Cost is usually the better choice, but costs more.

TIP — If your studio is in the home and business volume small, you may be able to get a business property and liability endorsement added to your homeowners insurance.

 LIABILITY

  • General Liability — Liability insurance protects you if someone is injured while on your property or if your property causes damage to others. Liability insurance stays with you when you are at a location other than your studio.

  • Product and Operations Liability — Covers you in the event someone is injured by a product or while you are performing your work somewhere.

  • Errors and Omissions — If you write or teach you may be interested in this coverage in case someone is injured from following your advice or because of an instruction you omitted.

  • Umbrella — Protects beyond liability coverage, kicks in when all other liability coverage is exhausted, usually in increments of $1 million.  

Does not cover:

    • Losses to your own property

    • Losses to property of others in your care

TIP — A general business liability insurance policy follows you where you go, so you are covered whether in the studio or at a show.

TIP — Product liability: you are covered by the policy in force when a loss occurs not by the policy you had when an object was made.

 

OTHER COVERAGE

Keep in mind that basic business insurance policies cover risks to property like fire, lightning, explosion, windstorm or hail, smoke, riot, theft, water damage, vandalism, weight of snow, and so on. It may be called “all-risk” coverage, but will most likely have exclusions. Flood and earthquake are generally not covered in a standard insurance package so it is important to evaluate your risks for these. Understand what the exclusions in your policy are. Also know the amount or limit of coverage and make sure you get as much protection as you need.

  • Flood Insurance —Almost all business (and homeowners) insurance policies exclude damage from “rising water” or floods. Flood insurance policies are available through the National Flood Insurance Program, and your agent may be able to obtain a policy for you. You can evaluate your flood risk and get an estimate of the cost of flood insurance at www.floodsmart.gov. You do not have to be in a designated flood zone to flood or own your building to purchase flood insurance.

  • Earthquake Insurance — Most policies exclude damage from “earth movement” including earthquakes. Evaluate your risk and look into the costs of insuring for this hazard. Remember that California is not the only state that is subject to damaging earthquakes.

  • Business Interruption — Covers the loss of business income incurred during the period of time your studio is closed due to a covered loss.

  • Extended Business Income — Extends payment for losses of business income beyond Business Interruption
 coverage time limits.

  • Extra Expense — Pays for re-location of your studio, if necessary, due to a significant loss.

  • Employee Dishonesty — Covers losses due to dishonest acts of employees.

  • Workers Compensation — Covers medical costs and lost wages for a worker that is injured on the job. Some states require all businesses with employees to have this
 coverage, and some allow exemptions for businesses with few employees. However, if you do not have coverage you are personally liable for these costs, which may be long term if a worker is disabled.

  • Commercial Auto Coverage — If you have vehicles that you use in your business, even if they are also your personal vehicles, they should be insured for business use. In most cases, personal auto insurance will not cover a loss when the vehicle was being used for business purposes. If you have employees and they use their own vehicles for tasks connected to your business, you also need coverage for “non-owned” vehicles. If they have an accident while doing work for you, their insurance may not pay and you could be held liable for damages. 

What’s a BOP?

A BOP or Business Owners Policy is an insurance package for small businesses combines the most 
common property insurance coverage and commercial general liability. This can be an economical way for a small business to insure and for many artists the cost may be little more than the cost of a liability policy alone. Generally, the same exclusions for flood and earthquake apply.

STEPS IN GETTING COVERAGE

  • Prepare a Business “Commentary”

To help your insurance agent understand your business, prepare a one to two page description of your background; experience; and size and scope of operations. Be honest and straightforward about your business. The agent will use this information to weed out underwriters who have little interest in your type of business.

  • Find an Insurance Representative

Shop around. Look for agencies that specialize in “commercial lines.” Just because an agency sells auto or life insurance does not mean that they are experienced in business insurance or even sell it. Ask friends and/
or colleagues whom they use. Make sure to choose a representative you feel comfortable working with, someone who is communicative and responsive to your needs. You may decide to work with an agent who 
represents a specific company or companies, or go with a broker who independently and directly represents you to the marketplace. Brokers may offer a broader range of
 coverage options because they represent you and not the insurance company, but either choice is fine. Just be sure your representative understands your insurance needs and helps you to design a package that provides the coverage appropriate to your situation. It’s okay to be wary of insurance salespeople. A healthy dose of skepticism means you’ll use good judgment when making your decision about who to work with and what coverage you’re going to choose. A listing of business insurance plans designed for artists is available at 
www.studioprotector.org.

  • Get Several Quotes

Armed with relevant knowledge of your business from your Business Commentary and knowledge of the insurance industry, your agent will organize specifications for quotation and identify desired options. These specifications are transcribed into
insurance policy applications.

Many independent brokers will be able to offer quotes by competing insurance companies. In some cases a group plan offered by an organization to which you belong — or a policy designed specifically for artists — may offer a better price and set of options, but may not have the advantage of having a local agent.

  • Weigh the Merits of Quotes Gathered

Ideally, your agent will list each suggested coverage, including its particular cost, in order of the catastrophic potential that risk represents to the business. This way, you can make educated decisions about adding to or cutting back on coverage to achieve the best cost/benefit balance. If you feel the quote is too high for your budget, ask what options you could change to reach a price you can live with.

  • Ask Questions

Ask about what is covered, and even more importantly, what is not covered. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the answers or do not feel that the agent is being responsive, keep shopping and find a company you trust. When you get your policy, read it, and again, ask for clarification of anything you do not understand.
 

Things to Watch Out For:

  • Proper protection — Don’t be uninsured. If you can’t afford complete coverage, purchasing some insurance is better than having none. Avoid unnecessary coverage.

  • Gaps in coverage — Make sure you understand the scope of your coverage. If there are known gaps due to cost, understand what they are and make an alternate plan.

  • High deductibles/low deductibles — Insurance companies offer lower premiums for policies with higher deductibles (the amount you pay before insurance kicks in). They are understandably wary of customers who make many small claims. Weigh the }value of lower premiums with your tolerance for a loss. Ask your agent for quotes with different deductible 
levels. A deductible of $500 – $2,500 is pretty standard, with deductibles at the higher end of the range as the amount of property coverage increases.

  • Exclusions — The policy giveth and the exclusions taketh away. Read the policy, know what the exclusions are, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

  • Stability of the insurance carrier — It’s a good idea to check the financial stability of the insurance underwriter before signing up for the policy. A.M. Best provides free basic rating reports on insurance companies.

  • Claims — Ask your insurance representative if any claims have been made on the type of insurance they’re offering and what turn-around time you would expect in the event of a claim. If no claims have been made or you feel service is unreasonable, choose a different company with which to work. 

It is All Part of the Cost of Doing Business

Remind yourself that having good insurance coverage is one of the costs of doing business and part of your responsibility to yourself, your career, and others who depend on you. The rates for coverage will vary depending on where you live, construction of your building (and whether you are insuring a building), coverage levels, and insurance company. Based on what we know about the size of artist-owned businesses, most artists should be able to purchase a basic business owners policy for around $500 if they do not have a building to insure. Of course, every business is unique and yours may require special coverage, which can raise the overall cost.

Resources

CERF+ maintains an up-to-date listing of insurance resources and a listing of policies designed for artists at www.studioprotector.org. There you will also find more information insurance topics, emergency preparedness, and recovery. In addition to providing emergency resources to artists, CERF+ provides direct assistance to craft artists who have suffered career-threatening emergencies. For more information visit www.craftemergency.org.

 

This guide was made possible with the generous support of the Windgate Charitable Foundation

 

CERF+ is a national artists’ service
organization whose mission is to safeguard
and sustain the careers of craft artists and
provide emergency resources
that benefit all artists.

 

www.craftemergency.org
www.studioprotector.org

 


PO Box 838 • Montpelier, VT 05601-0838
(802) 229-2306 • info@craftemergency.org • ©2012, CERF+

All rights reserved. CERF+ does not warrant or guarantee the
accuracy or sufficiency of the information provided.
 

Insurance Resources

The following companies and organizations may be helpful in researching business insurance and in checking out specific insurance companies and underwriters. Also, see other pages in this section.


A. M. BEST COMPANY, INC.

A. M. Best Company does independent ratings of insurance companies. Register with them to access the financial stability ratings for your current or potential insurance carrier.

Ambest Road
Oldwick, NJ 08858
Phone: 908-439-2200
E-mail: customer_service@ambest.com
www.ambest.com


FIGHT BAD-FAITH INSURANCE COMPANIES (FBIC)

FBIC compiles ratings from state insurance agencies and from individuals who have made insurance claims to establish good and bad faith ratings for insurance companies.

E-mail: MyBadFaithStory@badfaithinsurance.org
www.badfaithinsurance.org


INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE

This insurance industry supported site has information about a wide variety of types of insurance, news items about insurance industry trends, and a variety of consumer-oriented brochures that can be viewed online or downloaded (http://www2.iii.org/store/index.cfm?section=Online - scroll down to find listings).

10 William Street
New York, NY 10038
Phone: 212-346-5500
www.iii.org


STANDARD & POOR'S

Standard & Poor's does independent ratings of insurance companies. Register with them to access the financial stability ratings for your current or potential insurance carrier.

55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041
Phone: 212-438-1000
E-mail: questions@standardandpoors.com
www.standardandpoors.com


STATE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT LISTING

Through your insurance commissioner’s office you can find out if an insurance company is licensed to do business in your state. Some states also maintain complaince rankings for insurance companies doing business in their state. Your insurance commissioner's office may also be of assistance if you have a claims-related dispute with your insurance company.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners
2301 McGee Street Suite 800
Kansas City, MO 64108-2662
Phone: 816-842-3600
www.naic.org


UNITED POLICYHOLDERS

A non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on insurance issues and consumer rights. The website contains much useful on purchasing insurance and information relating to making an insurance claim.

110 Pacific Avenue, PMB 262
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 510-763-9740
E-mail: info@unitedpolicyholders.org
www.unitedpolicyholders.org   



 

Do I Need Property Insurance for My Art Studio?
In this animation, Nora is trying to decide whether she needs business insurance for her new art studio. In Part 1, she and Tim talk about property insurance.
In this animation, Nora is trying to decide whether she needs business insurance for her new art studio. In Part 1, she and Tim talk about property insurance.
 Tim & Nora:  Property Insurance

 Do I Need Property Insurance for My Art Studio?

 In this animation, Nora is trying to decide whether she needs business insurance for her new art studio. In Part 1, she and Tim talk about property insurance.


Do I Need Liability Insurance for My Art Studio?
In this animated video, Nora is trying to decide whether she needs business insurance for her new art studio. Part 2: She and Tim talk about liability insurance.
In this animated video, Nora is trying to decide whether she needs business insurance for her new art studio. Part 2: She and Tim talk about liability insurance.
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 Do I Need Liability Insurance for My Art Studio?

 In this animated video, Nora is trying to decide whether she needs business insurance for her new art studio. Part 2: She and Tim talk about liability insurance.


Artists and Business Insurance
Casey Summar, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts (Nashville, TN) talks about potential liabilities and why artists should consider purchasing business insurance.
Casey Summar, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts (Nashville, TN) talks about potential liabilities and why artists should consider purchasing business insurance.
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 Casey Summar, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts (Nashville, TN) talks about potential liabilities and why artists should consider purchasing business insurance.


Artists' Preparedness and Insurance
Carrie Logan, Public Arts Manager for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission speaks about public art contracts, liability insurance requirements, and the need for artists to be prepared for emergencies.
Carrie Logan, Public Arts Manager for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission speaks about public art contracts, liability insurance requirements, and the need for artists to be prepared for emergencies.
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 Carrie Logan, Public Arts Manager for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission speaks about public art contracts, liability insurance requirements, and the need for artists to be prepared for emergencies.


If the Water Comes Up...You're Not Covered
Furniture maker Gary Spykman talks about an insurance issue that arose after his studio was flooded.
Furniture maker Gary Spykman talks about an insurance issue that arose after his studio was flooded.
 Gary Spykman:  Flood Insurance

 If the Water Comes Up...You're Not Covered

 Furniture maker Gary Spykman talks about an insurance issue that arose after his studio was flooded.


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