Nobody gets into graphic design to run a business. Dealing with the admin side like accounts and insurance isn’t anybody’s favourite part of freelancing, but working for yourself does mean you have a responsibility to your client and yourself to put things right should they go wrong.
For example, did you know that the biggest cause of claims against freelance graphic designers is due to mistakes in their work? Think typos that have been spotted too late or designing to incorrect product dimensions. Then there are copyright infringement claims that graphic designers are vulnerable to. And there's the responsibility of delivering work on time and meeting client expectations. If compensation has to be paid to put nasty situations to bed your insurance may be able to assist.
Why do graphic designers need professional indemnity insurance?
Insurance is designed to help with problem clients or if you make a mistake in your work. It isn’t a legal requirement, but it works in much the same way as a contract—it gives you protection. This is important for freelancers who don’t have in-house legal teams helping them fight those little fires that inevitably flare up throughout your freelance career.
Whilst we know you’re great at what you do, every freelancer is prone to human error or sometimes you work on a project with a client that's difficult to please. Relationships can break down, work can be delivered late, client expectations might not be met… the list goes on. If any of these things happen and it leads to a threat of legal action against you or a client trying to recover compensation this is when your insurance would help.
What will insurance for graphic designers cover?
Here are just some of the features of the professional indemnity policy that graphic designers could find useful:Breach of contract
If your client feels they've suffered a loss as a result of you unintentionally breaching your contract they can look to recover this loss from you. For example, if work isn't delivered to the agreed timescale or to spec, your client can make an argument that you've breached your contract.Mistakes in your work
The negligence clause in your professional indemnity policy is intentionally broad so it captures lots of situations. The gist is; if you make a mistake in your work (or a client perceives you to have made a mistake) and they try to recover compensation from you, your insurance can help. For example, if you design packaging for a client and a typo is only discovered once the product has went to print, your client can look to recover the costs to fix the mistake from you.Unintentional copyright infringement
Copyright claims are common against graphic designers. If you're creating logos, type faces and designs somebody can throw an accusation of copyright infringement at you if they deem your work to be similar to theirs. Usually these are accompanied with a monetary demand to make the problem go away e.g. "Pay us £X and we won't take things further".Mitigation costs (unpaid invoices)
If your relationship with a client breaks down, the client may refuse to pay any or all of your fees. The mitigation costs clause means that if your client isn’t happy with the work you’ve delivered, refuses to pay your invoice and accompanies that refusal with a threat, the insurer will pay you the money owed to you if they believe it will avoid a claim for a greater amount.
How much does it cost?
By now you should have a better understanding of what insurance is and how it can help you, but how much is it going to cost? With Jack can arrange £1,000,000 of professional indemnity insurance for graphic designers from £14 per month if your turnover is below £250,000. This removes the pain of sourcing the right lawyer should you find yourself in a legal situation, and removes the need to pay expensive, upfront fees. And it's tax deductible!
Can you provide a real scenario of a designer needing insurance?
It's difficult to choose just one story to share because not every claim is the same and will use different features of the policy to resolve it. Below we'll share a scenario that we've seen a few times at With Jack.
One thing graphic designers have to be mindful of is copyright infringement. It's one of the biggest causes of claims against them.
One of our talented customers was hired by a brand to redesign their logo. After doing a considerable amount of research for the project, preparing a mood board, collecting inspiration and iterating on revisions, the final logo was approved and launched. Everyone was happy.
Several months later a third-party approached the brand claiming that it shared a resemblance to their logo. They said it infringed their copyright and asked for thousands of pounds in damages otherwise they'd take things further.
The brand approach the designer in a panic. If damages have to be paid, they'd expect the graphic designer—the person responsible for designing the logo—to pay those damages.
At this point the graphic designer contacted us. A claim of copyright infringement and the request for damages to be paid meant their professional indemnity policy was triggered. The insurer appointed a team of legal experts who specialise in copyright law to defend the freelancer.
Despite the threat of thousands of pounds of damage, it was actually an open-and-shut claim because the designer could show their research, thought process and work to produce the final design. This helped prove they hadn't copied the logo. When the solicitor presented these facts to the accusor, the claim was dropped.
Be a trusted and insured professional
As a graphic designer your reputation is everything. You're responsible for delivering work to a timescale. You're responsible for delivering work to meet client expectations. You're responsible for providing work to a certain standard.
Being insured not only puts you in a better position to fix a wrong, but it gives clients confidence that they’re working with a professional.
We’ve talked about what features insurance has that can help you, real stories from freelancers that have had to use their insurance and how much it costs. It's now over to you to take the next step and get a quote.
We asked ourselves one important question…
What do we want out of an insurance provider?
With Jack is the answer