As someone running their own business, insurance is definitely something you should consider. Whether you want to protect your equipment, your work itself, or against any potential injuries, there are tons of freelance and self-employed insurance options out there. However, what do they all mean, and do you actually need them?
To help you answer these questions, we’ve put together a list featuring several different types of freelance insurance options and what each of them entails.
First things first though, do you actually need insurance?
Do I need insurance as a freelancer?
Consider this situation – you’ve taken on a big-time project worth tens of thousands of dollars. You’re poised to finish up soon but you’re faced with sudden equipment failure which leads to a failed project. The unhappy client now decided to sue you for the entire cost!
There will likely be a legal case, even though it wasn’t your fault. And you’ll have to pay tens– or hundreds– of thousands of dollars in fees and damages. This is where having insurance would have changed the situation entirely.
When it comes down to it, insurance is something that you need to consider depending on where your freelance business currently stands.
Smaller-scale freelancers cannot really justify the cost of insurance and do not actually deal with big-time projects.
Apart from public liability insurance, you also have to consider plans for health and home insurance or professional indemnity insurance.
What insurance do freelancers and self-employed need?
1. Professional Liability Insurance
Professional Liability Insurance or Professional Indemnity Insurance or otherwise also called Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance is one of the most common types of insurance used by freelance professionals.
It protects you against clients suing on the basis of product negligence due to an accidental omission, an error or even slander. Some big businesses actually require that you have this type of insurance before agreeing to work with you.
For freelancers working with small or medium sized businesses however, this type of insurance may not be a must since it can be quite costly as well. As your business starts to grow though, you should definitely consider getting the freelance Professional Indemnity Insurance for yourself.
Please note that if you have employees in your freelance business, they also need to be included in the professional liability insurance!
2. General Liability Insurance
The second type of freelance liability insurance we’re looking at covers injuries occurring on your premises (your office) or if someone is injured because of your business (you bring work on the client’s office).
Do freelancers need liability insurance? If a client comes over and gets bitten by your dog, falls on the toilet floor, or something similar to that, liability insurance will generally cover it.
Some clients may require you to have public liability insurance as they are properly protected if something goes wrong.
However, if you work from your home and don’t usually invite clients over, the risk of injuring someone at your work premises is probably not high enough to justify the expense.
3. Home Insurance and Contents Insurance
In case you are working from a home office, you might want to look at home insurance and check whether they cover your office and equipment. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t.
Most of the time they cover anything apart from more professional items like photography equipment. If the latter is the case, a contents insurance might be a good way to protect your property.
If your work equipment will cost a rather hefty sum to replace in case of a fire or a robbery, so this type of precaution measure will cover it. It really depends on the tech you have – a 1,000 dollar laptop alone probably doesn’t justify contents insurance.
4. Health and Life Insurance
These types of insurance are probably more familiar to you. As a freelancer or self-employed, your health insurance will not be as affordable as that of regular employees. The exact amount does health insurance cost for you depends, health insurance rates depend on each individual.
In any case, you might want to consider joining a group for health insurance, like the Freelancer Union (US) or The Editorial Freelancers Organization, for example. Joining such a “guild” will help you get health insurance at a price you can afford.
Last but not least, life insurance might be something you want to check out. Your life is valuable and if the worst is to happen, you would like your family and relatives to have some financial security after your passing.
The types of health and life insurance available to you will depend entirely on the country you live in.
Freelancers in the US have a couple of options when it comes to health insurance:
- Affordable Care Act – ACA or Obamacare is a great option for freelancers looking for affordable health insurance. Keep in mind though, the recent changes in ACA policy no longer makes it a requirement. This could affect pricing and premiums in the long run.
- Cobra Coverage – If you’re just starting out and are looking to become a freelancer, check with your insurance provider first as most insurance plans offer the option to convert your existing group plan into an individual plan.
- The Freelancers Union – The Freelancers Union offers a health insurance plan for freelancers. Head over to their website to learn more about choosing the right plan tailored to your needs.
- Spouse Insurance Plan – If your spouse works and has coverage through their employer, this may be a good option. Because it’s an employer-based plan, it may also save you money, because it may charge a lower premium for dependents.
On the other hand, freelancers in Germany have two different kinds of health insurance available: Public (statutory) and Private.
If you are a freelancer staying temporarily in Germany, we would recommend you get yourself private health insurance as getting into the public insurance group is not generally easy for freelancers and the self-employed.
So, what insurance do I need to cover my freelance business?
Generally, insurance can be pretty helpful, but you should always try to evaluate the risk you are at. If it is extremely unlikely for some of the situations described above to occur, your hard-earned money might be better spent otherwise.
If you can afford them, however, and you often work with high profile clients, some of the insurance types might be a necessity.
Keep in mind that some insurances come in a bundle with significant discounts, too. Just make sure you consult yourself with a legal counsel before jumping into any financial agreement!
*Please note that this blog post should not be considered a substitute for legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, The advice provided is intended to be general and each freelancer should consider their particular financial situation.