Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is Your Business Insured??

I have spent a few hours today trying to find out about product liability insurance. A catalog company that wants to carry my cranes, requires this coverage. Product liability insurance covers you again injury or damage caused by your product. Seems a bit silly, given the product, but then again, remember when someone sued McDonalds because they got burned by coffee spilled while they were driving, and holding a cup of coffee between their legs? Reasonableness does not always apply when it comes to these things. I am working on language for a warning label. Isn't this why we become artists, so that we can avoid these kinds of things?? We might want to avoid them, but the reality is, we can't without assuming some risks.

Insurance is one of those things many artists try to ignore. Cross their fingers, throw salt over their shoulders, watch out for black cats. Anything other than trying to figure out the insurance puzzle. Whenever there is a collection of arcane terms, it is easy to feel your brain shut down, and suddenly find other work that urgently needs to be done.
But, there are way too many stories out there of artists who have lost everything, absolutely everything, to some natural disaster. Just a few weeks back, the fires in California destroyed homes,........and studios and businesses of artists like you and me. Some had no insurance. Look online, and you can find scary stories of tents made airborne, inflicting damage on work, and/or people at a show. You don't want to wait until after something happens to recognize the need to be insured. Without it, you are relying on the goodness of strangers.

If your studio is in your home, you can begin with your homeowner's or renters policy. Talk to your agent about adding coverage for your business. You need to cover your inventory, tools, and supplies. And you need to have liability coverage. If someone visits your studio and trips and gets hurt you could face a liability. If someone gets hurt in your booth at a show, you are potentially liable. Make sure your coverage will extend to when you are doing shows, and perhaps to when you are on the road, traveling to a show. If you can't afford to replace what you lose, you should insure it.
If you are not sure where to begin, and you want to learn more about insurance for your business, check out the website of CERF, The Craft Emergency Relief Fund. And if you are feeling a bit generous, make a donation. Right now they are coming to the aid of artists in California hit by the wildfires, and could use any help you could offer.

Crossing your fingers, chanting rhymes, and other superstitious actions might make use forget the risks. But getting insurance means we can forget the worry and get back to work. Promise yourself to do this right away, if you haven't already. If you are lucky, you will never have to use it. But, if something happens, you will be glad you had the coverage you needed.


sandra mccaw said...

The best advice I got along these lines was to set my business up as an LLC. That way if you did get sued, your personal assets wouldn't be at risk, just your business.

Judy said...

Thanks for sharing that advice Sandra. My husband and I were talking about that very thing last night.

Judy said...
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