Insurance in the YouTuber Universe

Thomas Ayres, CPIA

Daigle & Travers answers the question, Do I need insurance for my YouTube channel?Digital video influencers have totally changed the way information is delivered and received in our society. The draw to become a YouTube influencer (and hopes of making millions) has overtaken the lives of our nation’s youth. If you have children with iPods, cell phones, tablets or computers you have undoubtedly witnessed this for yourself.

Video marketing has exploded as more and more businesses are dropping their traditional marketing efforts. Now companies are investing in camera & video equipment in hopes of creating a dominant online presence, thus foregoing even traditional brick and mortar physical outlets in hopes of being completely virtual. This change in dynamic requires a change in the way you insure yourself from the costs of risk. There is less risk in some aspects of your business but a dramatic rise in others. It is a product of our changing society and the way business is conducted. Here are some things a professional YouTuber should consider:

INSURANCE FOR THE YOUTUBE GENERATION:

  1. PROPERTY INSURANCE.

    If you are a YouTuber, you undoubtedly have to invest in a fair amount of costly equipment. Do you own camera and lighting equipment, soundboards, microphones, backdrops, software, etc? If you sell a product, perhaps you have stock? Carefully look at what your business owns. A loss to your stock & equipment in a fire isn’t covered without having considered property insurance.

  2. BUSINESS INCOME INSURANCE.

    If you sell a product and your merchandise is destroyed in a fire, you lose the value of the stock. You also lose the sale value. Your loss of profit income? Make sure to account for your loss of income.

  3. LIABILITY INSURANCE.

    Most likely you operate from home, but if you work for profit, you have a business. That business liability won’t be covered. So you need to maintain a general liability policy to cover the risk of injury to a guest or property damage either on-site or off. Do you film off-site? A lot do and there is always a liability risk filming at various locations.

  4. MEDIA LIABILITY.

    Usually a General Liability policy will cover risks such as libel, slander, defamation, & copyright infringement. However, if you are a media company, like YouTubers are, that coverage is generally excluded. You’ll need to purchase some form of Media Liability to protect yourself from this risk. YouTubers do a whole lot of talking and sometimes that talking can be slanderous in nature. Once the post is made, it lives on through screen grabs even after being removed. You can be sued for your comments. (Most likely, you’ll find this coverage contained within a technology professional liability policy including cyber liability).

  5. PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY.

    YouTubers often act in a service capacity by broadly dispensing advice. Whether you market yourself as an expert or not, your advice can have consequences. If your poor advice leads to a (monetary) loss you could be a target for litigation.

  6. CYBER LIABILITY.

    One important facet of Cyber Coverage is the PR response coverage. The worst thing that could happen to a YouTuber may be a hack of their page. That hack could lead to some pretty ugly destruction not just to your page, but your reputation. This insurance may help you to hire a firm to assist with regaining or protecting your reputation following a hack. Also, if you’re selling a product and have any amount of personally identifying information, you may be at risk. State laws vary, but most require state agency notifications, and client notifications of a hack. Failure to do so or failure to take precautionary measures protecting this information preemptively can lead to penalties and fines. Because you broadcast nationally, you are looking at 50 states worth of headaches.

  7. WORKERS COMPENSATION.

    If you have employees, you’ll need this to protect your business from employee injury. Employers with employees working over 26 hours a week on average will typically be legally required to carry this coverage.

  8. AUTO LIABILITY.

    Depending on what you do for your channel you may need some form of business auto liability coverage.  Every YouTuber is different. Driving for work presents risks that is not covered by a personal auto policy. If you ever need to rent or borrow a car for filming, you probably need to include Hired & Non-owned Liability coverage to your General Liability.

There’s a lot to think about, but the coverage you’ll need isn’t as difficult to obtain as you may think. Property, Business Income, Hired & Nonowned Auto Liability and General liability can be purchased in the form of a business owners policy with a cost starting around $350. The price increases based on the coverage required. Your Cyber, Professional and Media Liability can be purchased together in a single Tech E&O policy with a starting cost of around $1000 (presuming that your software and computer systems are properly protected, updated, patched and firewalled). If you don’t, you’ll find coverage harder to obtain or including critical exclusions. Your greatest risk is likely from a hack, libel, or slander accusation or a costly copyright infringement case. With that said, risk is specific to each YouTuber.

The bottom line, if you are a YouTuber, you need tailored insurance. Your risk is greater than you think. The best thing you can do is to align yourself with an independent agent that you can talk to regularly to address the risks associated with your activities.

Good Luck.

Tom Ayres, Daigle & Travers Insurance.   203-655-6974   tom@dt-ins.com

DISCLAIMER: This article is a very high-level look at the insurance you need. Every business is different. Every YouTuber is different. The coverages mentioned may not be ALL you need to adequately protect yourself…it is a start though.