Being an artist is a challenging way to make a living in the best of scenarios, so every professional artist should make sure they have good business insurance. For artists, it can be especially devastating if disaster strikes.
Are you prepared to handle the various disasters that can befall an artist both in the studio and when taking your work on the road? In today’s post, an excerpt from the September 2019 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Sam Hitchman shares some valuable tips to consider when shopping for business insurance for artists. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
Being a full-time, self-employed potter has taught me many things—if nothing else, to be prepared, plan for the worst, and hope for the best. This mentality led me to think that the flood that occurred in my studio wouldn’t impact my pottery business much; after all, how much damage can a half inch of water do? Not a single pot or piece of equipment was lost, but 6 months later, we were still putting my studio back together. The inability to make new work during this time cost me tens of thousands of dollars and a hard lesson was learned.
I am in no way an insurance agent or an attorney, business insurance for artists, art studio insurance, artist insurance policy and the following information should not be considered legal advice. You should always seek private counsel regarding your own unique circumstances. I am speaking solely from my own experience recovering from a disaster in order to shed light on the grueling process.
Considering Business Insurance for Artists
Artists, specifically ceramic artists, have unique variables that are critical to assess to find a policy that helps you when needed. In order to have the correct insurance, one should consider a few factors. Does the insurance provider cater specifically to (ceramic) artists? How do they reimburse losses? Do they evaluate with the Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV)? Many insurance providers, including those who specifically sell policies to artists, determine value in the event of a loss on the ACV. This means that ceramic artists, whose materials are dirt cheap (literally), get next to nothing in the event of a loss of inventory as only material costs are reimbursed.
Seek out a policy that will reimburse you at the RCV or retail value. The caveat with such plans is that you need to be able to prove that you have sold a comparable item at the value you’re seeking as reimbursement within a prior time frame. Any item valued at over approximately $1500 per piece should be itemized with your agent in advance, otherwise that item may not be covered.
Other important questions to ask when shopping for a policy include: How does the insurance company require you to document a claim? Do they require you to have a detailed, photo-documented list for each item in your inventory before it’s turned into shards, or can you dig through the debris after the fact to calculate the loss?
Expectations for Business Insurance for Artists
It’s very important to be clear and honest when discussing your expectations for insurance coverage with your agent. Failure to specify exactly what you do could cost you a lot of money! For example, a ceramic artist who makes utilitarian vessels will be more expensive to insure than one who makes more sculptures due to the inherently higher risk to the consumer in the use of the products, as well as the higher rates of production; but if you don’t have the correct coverage for your work, you could be liable for all damages.
Did you know that your auto insurance policy likely doesn’t cover anything that isn’t permanently affixed to the vehicle? So, if you’re towing a trailer, unless you have specifically added coverage for the trailer and its contents, it generally isn’t considered part of the vehicle and won’t be covered.
For more helpful tips on shopping for business insurance for artists, check out Sam’s full article in the September 2019 issue of Ceramics Monthly!