If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering whether or not buying insurance for your equipment and business is worth it. Because the profession of videography is fairly new when it comes to the insurance world, not a lot of information can be found online. I wrote this article based on my personal experience with Hiscox Insurance because I think people will find this insight valuable. In this article, I will give my honest opinion on Hiscox Insurance, share what I know, and breakdown why I think it is or isn’t right for videographers.
What is insurance?
Insurance covers damage and loss of property that is used in the operation of a business as well as protection against legal actions arising from business services.
Do videographers need insurance?
For a videographer, their main concern when it comes to buying insurance centers around insuring their equipment. A videographer’s ability to perform their job depends on their equipment. You can’t shoot anything without a camera, or SD cards, or hard drives. And you can’t edit videos if your office gets broken into and your computer is stolen. Having insurance coverage for equipment will insure that some, or all, of the costs of the lost or damaged equipment will be returned to them by their insurance company to help them to purchase new equipment and get back to working.
When you buy insurance for anything, whether it be a house or a car, what you are really buying is peace of mind. Even if you have all of your gear insured, if the camera containing the SD card with one-of-a-kind wedding footage was stolen, equipment insurance won’t bring back that footage. However, having a good Professional Liability policy can protect you from being sued by your clients for failing to deliver their wedding video.
When you buy insurance, what you are really buying is peace of mind.
What types of insurance are there?
General Liability insurance
Covers bodily injuries, property damages, business equipment coverage.
Professional Liability insurance
Covers lawsuits arising from your professional services. This includes negligence, failing to uphold contractual obligations, failing to deliver services to a certain degree of quality, mistakes or omissions.
Who is Hiscox Insurance?
Hiscox has it’s roots in Europe beginning as an underwriter of Lloyd’s of London in 1901. Hiscox now operates 30 offices in 13 countries across the UK, US, Europe, Asia with first US office opening in Armonk, New York in 2006. In 2010, Hiscox became the first direct insurer for small businesses in the US. They sell insurance for homes, kidnappings and ransom, fine art, and political risk insurance, among others, and is licensed to do business in all 50 US states including the District of Columbia.
Hiscox Insurance “Encourage Courage” Campaign
You may have seen Hiscox’s Encourage Courage campaign a few years ago that featured “business people” that may or may not be actors talking about what “courage” is. It’s not as cheesy a campaign as other insurance companies would have produced, but the campaign was successful in that it presented Hiscox as a legitimate, no frills company.
Hiscox doesn’t care that you can see light stands and the edges of their branded backdrop in their promo video; that is not their top priority. Their top priority? The the average small business owner. Bonus points to Hiscox for making sure to include women of color.
Finding reviews about Hiscox Insurance
The first non-paid ad that comes up when searching for reviews on Hiscox insurance is Hiscox’s own review page on it’s hiscox.com domain where all the reviews at the time of writing are positive with mostly 5 star ratings. When you click “see more reviews” you are taken to another website at feefo.com with all the reviews and you see that their rating is 4.7 out of 5. Most of the reviews are very brief; such reviews as “staff was very helpful,” “The response time was excellent and the service was good” don’t provide much insight and are reminiscent of knee-jerk Ebay seller reviews.
Why are the reviews brief and so concentrated only on a Hiscox-linked website?
My experience with Hiscox Insurance so far
No online account access? No problem!
Hiscox does not offer any type of online user account. All interactions with them are done either: over the phone to US-based call centers, or via a contact form at contacthiscox.com. So far, whenever I have had to contact Hiscox over the phone, the longest that I had to be on hold was 1-2 minutes, which is amazing. The one downside to having to call is that you have to call during their hours of operation; the upside is that they have longer than usual business hours of Monday through Friday, 8am to 10pm EST.
The online contact form at contacthiscox.com is just as useful and efficient for making changes to your policy. I had to add an additional insured to my policy recently using the form and I received the updated certificate via email within 20 minutes.
Excellent Customer Service
I really appreciate the fact that Hiscox’s call centers are in the US. When dealing with a US-based company I expect to speak to someone who is a native American English speaker. I can understand them and they can understand me and what my problem is without any language barrier or cultural differences in intonation. If I’m already having a problem, the last thing I need is to have to talk to someone who sounds like they’re yelling at me. What this tells me is that Hiscox is actively investing in quality customer service experiences instead of outsourcing to a third world country to lower costs like a lot of other companies.
Upon completing my payment over the phone with an agent, I received my documents, including my Certificate of Liability Insurance and payment schedule via email in PDF format. If you like having physical copies, you will need to print these as Hiscox will not send you physical copies. If you’re like me and like having digital copies stored in email or Dropbox where they can be easily accessed, this is perfect.
Included in the documents I received is a very transparent payment schedule for the next 12 months, and a detailed breakdown of my customized General Liability Policy and what it covers and what it doesn’t cover. It is clear that Hiscox wants to make sure that you understand your policy.
I noticed right away that the Certificate of Liability Insurance had another company’s logo in the top left corner and I felt compelled to investigate this:
Who is ACORD?
ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development), founded in 1970, is a global, nonprofit organization serving the insurance and related industries.
ACORD facilitates fast, accurate data exchange and more efficient workflows through the development of electronic standards, standardized forms, and tools to support their use.
For a more “CliffNotes version” of that, we can take a look at their Twitter bio (right).
So, I am assuming that ACORD is merely responsible for designing the forms that Hiscox uses for it’s certificates.
The Details of a Hiscox Policy
Disclaimer: Below is the breakdown of what my policies cover but please note that the numbers contained here may vary depending on your personalized plan and coverage limits; I am merely providing my own numbers to share my real life experience with Hiscox Insurance.
What is covered by Hiscox General Liability Insurance
Take particular note of the last two bolded points which affect videographers especially.
- Up to $1,000,000 in coverage (can be higher) due to bodily injury or property damage involving a third party or someone else’s property
- Medical payments whether you are at fault or not
- Defense costs if you are sued, even if you’re not at fault, Hiscox will appoint you an attorney
- Personal and advertising injury claims of libel and slander, unintentionally infringing on another party’s copyright
- Electronic data liability in the event of loss of someone else’s data due to property damage
- Worldwide insurance coverage
- Employees or temporary staff’s actions performed on behalf of your business
- Supplemental payments of up to $250 a day for reasonable expenses including loss of income for assisting Hiscox in defense of a claim
- Loss or damage of business property and equipment when at premise(s) on file
- Partial coverage of loss or damage of business property and equipment when NOT at premise(s) on file
Hiscox Equipment Coverage
Hiscox’s business property and equipment coverage falls under their General Liability insurance policy. I gave an estimated value of $15,000 for all of my equipment including: cameras, lenses, laptop, and desktop computer. Hiscox was able to insure all of that, with my deductible being $500, and my monthly payment being around $45.
The big downside to Hiscox’s equipment coverage is that the $15,000 of coverage only applies to equipment while it is on a premises that Hiscox has on file. As soon as my equipment leaves that location, my coverage limit for everything that I’m carrying drops down to only $2,500. In addition, there is the $500 deductible that I have to pay out-of-pocket before Hiscox will even reimburse me.
For some videographers, that amount isn’t enough to cover the cost of even one camera body, not to mention the stress and emotional grief of losing equipment. For event videographers, this is a huge deal breaker.
What is covered by Hiscox Professional Liability Insurance
Hiscox’s Professional Liability insurance policy is pretty standard:
- Negligence arising from any mistakes while performing your professional services, for example: if you fail to deliver the product to your client
- Defense costs in the event you are sued and taken to court, including appointing an attorney to defend you whether or not you are at fault
- Services performed in the past
- Worldwide coverage as long as you file the claim in the United States or Canada
- Claims arising from the actions of employees, temporary staff, or independent contractors doing work on your behalf
- Up to $250,000 in punitive damages where allowed by law
- Claims of libel and slander
- Up to $5,000 in supplemental payments as a result of work lost in assisting Hiscox in the defense of your claim
If you are simply looking for a great company that offers General Liability or Professional Liability coverage, Hiscox is worth serious consideration. For videographers looking for an all-in-one insurance policy that recognizes the needs of working videographers, you will need to look elsewhere.