Your Complete Journalist Insurance Guide
Whether you operate a freelance business out of your home or maintain a small but thriving on/offline publication, you need solid journalist insurance policies to protect you and your company against unexpected losses. Liability insurance for journalists is a particular concern -- especially for writers who cover beats such as healthcare, business, and national defense.
Abundance of Journalist Insurance Options
Let's first address liability insurance for journalists, because that's probably what's on a lot of minds out there. When you write about sensitive topics -- such as stories that deal with criticisms of businesses or people, corporate or government secrets, or health related issues, you can expose yourself to liability if you fail to follow good protocol. For instance, say you write a vicious story about a public corporation and accuse the CEO of lying to shareholders about the dangers of a new product. Even if what you write is true -- down to the letter -- that company could still theoretically file a lawsuit against you and drag you into court. Liability insurance could cover you by providing cash for your legal defense -- as well as other resources. Of course, be aware that written slander a.k.a calumny) may not be covered by any journalist insurance policy.
You may need other coverages as well. If you have a bunch of full time writers on staff, you may need workers compensation coverage. You may wan business property insurance to protect things like your laptop, recording equipment, audio technology, and other tools of the trade. If you own any vehicles -- such as a news van -- you might need special business auto coverage. If you own a building, you will need property insurance. And if you have an office -- even if you work out of your home -- consider getting premises liability insurance. This way you covered if, for instance, an interview subject slips and falls in your lobby and breaks his hip.
Journalist Insurance Cost Solutions
All the various journalist insurance options we've discussed can be pricy -- particularly if you get them separately. You might be able to bundle them together in a package pre-designed for journalists, writers, and editors. But bear in mind that even bundled insurance packages may not be complete, all-in-one solutions. Speak with an insurance agent who has specific experience dealing with journalist insurance needs, concerns, and solutions. Also, speak with industry peers to learn what they have done to keep costs down and limit liability. Finally, once you do know what kinds of coverage you want, work backwards to locate discounts. For instance, consider buying multiple policies through one company -- such as business and auto; hiking up your deductibles to save on premiums, and opting out of coverage that you don't need -- such as protection for an outdated laptop that you can easily and cheaply replace.
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