A Certificate of Insurance (COI) is a document provided by your business insurance company specifying the coverage you carry. Just like the auto insurance form that the nice police officers asks you for, this document shows that you are currently covered. This includes general liability and (usually) property – so if you drop your brand new expensive camera, or it gets stolen, you can replace it.
The form you get when you first purchase business liability insurance will list you (and/or your company) as the insured party. Many businesses, including most rental studios, will require a COI naming themselves as “Additional Insured.” This means that your insurance company will also cover that business in case of an accident. So if your subject trips over a power cord and knocks a light down on their head, both you and the business (or studio) are covered by that insurance policy. Camera Ready Studios does not manage your set or interfere with your photography or video shoot, so we are not able to watch for and mitigate any hazards. Therefore we require a COI naming “Camera Ready Studios, LLC and Mary Erickson” as Additional Insured parties. You can alternately list each on their own line as illustrated at right. We do not specify requirements, but $1,000,000 in liability is a typical policy.
Most insurance companies are quite accustomed to providing COIs for additionally insured parties, and our experience has been that most of them can generate a COI and email a PDF of it within 10-15 minutes. Many do not charge for this service, as they can automatically generate them. A few companies do a minimal service fee – we’ve seen $10-25 – but they are the exception. This PDF can then be forwarded to Camera Ready Studios prior to your rental. We cannot permit access to our spaces without having a COI on file that covers the time frame of your rental. Should someone not have business insurance, there are a number of online insurance companies who offer special event insurance. Just like a wedding event, which only covers one day, they can cover the time frame of your rental without you having to purchase insurance for a full year. You can simply type “event insurance quote” (or “special event insurance” or anything similar) in to your favorite search engine and check rates from a number of different companies.
We highly recommend that everyone look in to securing proper business insurance, however. It will not only help protect you from accidents, but insure your expensive photo gear from loss or theft – something which could put your out of business if you’re not prepared. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call our studio at (214) 390-7690 or email us. And if you’ve found a special event insurance company that you’d like to recommend for those one-day events, please feel to share those in the comments below!