Most photographers will never even consider insurance beyond making sure their household insurance covers their gear should it get lost or stolen (although be aware – car insurance doesn’t always cover your camera gear if you damage it in an accident). In fact I’m fairly sure that most photographers won’t have even thought of if their gear is covered at all.
For your average amateur photographer it’s not really a problem not to have liability insurance because the court would be highly unlikely to get excited if somebody tried to make a claim against you. However if you’re presenting yourself as offering a ‘professional’ service to a LARP organiser, you should be aware that you could be classified as a professional in the eyes of other services. That doesn’t mean doing your accounts on time for the tax office, but it does mean that you might find yourself on the sharp end of an insurance claim. Unlikely, but possible.
You’d be amazed at the kinds of things that public liability insurance covers. Everything from hurting someone with your gear (or someone tripping over your camera bag) to a defamation case. It’s defamation that I think is particularly relevant.
The LARP world is an understandably sensitive one. It can be hard to understand from an outsiders perspective and can have quite an negative stereotype associated with it. Those who are in jobs with responsibility can be at particular risk from having their hobbies exposed, and it’s here that defamation protection is essential.
In a world where reputations can be built and ruined through imagery photographers have an ethical responsibility to behave with their subjects best intentions. While many games have policies about removing photographs on the request of the subject, some images can slip through the net unintentionally. It only take one photographic competition entry going viral and suddenly your subject has been exposed across the internet with absolutely no ability to remove those images. In this world of hacked celebrity email accounts, who knows when people will strike next and who the hackers will look to expose.
In my mind, this is why professional insurance that includes public liability cover is essential. It’s as essential to me as my camera gear. I don’t consider myself a volunteer, I consider myself working as freelancer at the event – after all organisers get my usual level of service just like any other client. So that means when I step foot onto a site then I need to be aware of my responsibilities. Which includes protecting the customers of my client.
I’m not going to recommend any particular suppliers of insurance here. If you want to ask me who I use then catch me at an event and I’ll tell you who I renewed with. But if I’m honest, your best option is to swing by a photographic convention (like the The Societies Trade Show in January, or The Photography Show in March) and chat to the reps. They’re really knowledgeable people and will give you a quick answer to any queries – I did exactly this recently checking out if insurers cover airsofting.
It’s just too much of a risk for me personally to operate without insurance. Accidents do happen, and when they do I want my insurance to cover it rather than risk losing everything.