How the self-employed should insure their equipment – Economy

Being self-employed, full-time or part-time, is for many a tempting way to break from the previous professional rut and do something completely new. For others, this decision is born of necessity, because they cannot find another job.

Whether self-realization or self-exploitation: Those who become self-employed should think about the right insurance from the start. Because regular household content and third party liability insurance is usually not enough and in many cases can refuse coverage if the damage occurs in a professional context.

Professional liability coverage is the first thing every self-employed person should think about when considering insurance. But also the professional use of devices, which one thinks well protected by private home insurance, usually has to be covered separately. “There is no certainty that a household property insurer will not try to escape in the event of damage,” says expert Franz Kupfer. A possible argument could be that professional use represents a higher risk. This may be the case if the self-employed person is often away from home with her team. Kupfer knows what he’s talking about: He runs the property and commercial liability insurance division in Germany at Hiscox insurer.

First step: inventory

Of course: if you are willing to take the risk yourself and if you lose a team worth 40,000 euros or 80,000 euros and you do not get into trouble, you can save on insurance.

Armin Salamon, managing director and owner of the Munich-based insurance broker Aktivas, which specializes in freelance photographers and filmmakers, recommends separate insurance for professional equipment. The first step is to take stock of what values ​​are available. “A lot of freelancers work from home, they have an office and maybe a studio, a workshop or a room for special machines,” he says. “I always recommend contents insurance for that.” It is comparable to household goods insurance for individuals and protects desks, copiers, computers and expensive technical equipment against risks such as fire, tap water, hail and storms. However, like home contents insurance, this policy does not pay for natural disasters. “Hazards like flooding or landslides need to be purchased separately through an add-on module,” says Salamon.

Objects or goods that do not belong to the self-employed person, but that he or she stores on his or her own premises, for example, for processing or resale, must also be insured. “Fashion photographers, for example, are given designer collections to photograph,” Salamon explains. This must be reported to the insurer and insured.

The self-employed should think about comprehensive coverage, not just electronic devices. “We’ve already had damage cases where that played a part,” reports Kupfer. One company had a ride-on lawn mower outside their actual business that ran over a pothole and was damaged. That has been regulated. There are also very exotic damages such as the engineering company that set up batcameras for an environmental study, one of which fell.

Those who do not want to take out comprehensive coverage for all their equipment must take out special electronics insurance. “It’s comprehensive coverage and also pays if an employee drops an expensive device, the manager forgets the laptop on the train, or a valuable camera breaks during transport,” explains broker Salamon. This can be particularly useful for expensive computers and other technical equipment. He recommends photographers and filmmakers take out equipment insurance that covers not only photographic and film equipment, but also electronic devices.

The broker must also help with damage.

Good advice is worth a lot when taking the step to self-employment. This also applies to insurance issues. Consumer care centers cannot help with trade policies. It is advisable to look for a good broker and not an insurance agent, even if her friend’s sister or brother-in-law is doing this job. The representative always represents the interests of the insurance company for which he works. The broker is required by law to represent the interests of the client, otherwise he is liable. He runs policies from several insurers, the agent usually only negotiates those of his client.

You should look for a broker with specialized knowledge who can also help with damages. Online services like Check24 or Clark have limited options, but can be helpful for an initial overview.

Prices vary significantly. Normally there is a minimum contribution of 150 euros or 200 euros per year. The prices are given per thousand of the insured sum, whoever insures 100,000 euros can get it from 250 euros to 400 euros, depending on whether there are many electronic devices involved or not. Insurers differ significantly. Anyone who chooses on price alone is almost always wrong. An important criterion is whether the company actually offers comprehensive coverage and also protection against underinsurance.

Cyber ​​risks generally need to be covered separately

In principle, it makes sense to conclude a contract in which the insurer reimburses the new value of an item, reports the broker Salamon. His advice: Even if it takes time, new freelancers should do their best to apply for insurance. “The more accurate the information is about what risks there are and what assets are going to be insured, the fewer problems there are later with the insurer in the event of a claim.”

Sure: Drones deliver beautiful aerial photos.  Freelance photographers and filmmakers like to use them.  Insurance coverage must also include such devices.

Drones provide beautiful aerial photography. Freelance photographers and filmmakers like to use them. Insurance coverage must also include such devices.

(Photo: Maurizio Gambarini/dpa)

Business interruption may be included in contents insurance if self-employment cannot be carried out for a few weeks due to fire. If a fire destroys expensive photo lenses, cameras, or the entire shop, replace lost sales. Important: “Unless otherwise agreed, the business interruption component only applies to standard fire, mains water, hail and storm risks,” says Salamon.

Cyber ​​damages are generally not insured. “In the event of a fire, we also replace data recovery,” explains Hiscox-Mann Kupfer. “But if there’s data loss without property damage, that’s not insured.” Many companies offer separate cyber cover for this.

Drones have become a hot topic for many professional groups. Photographers like to use them, but so do real estate agents who want to photograph their properties from above. Anyone using drones should ensure they are covered by insurance coverage, including liability insurance.

During the term of the contract, the self-employed worker must strictly comply with the safety requirements of the insurer. “If the conditions indicate that an alarm system must be installed, the self-employed person must comply with this requirement, otherwise the insurer can evade its responsibility in an emergency, and with good reason,” says the broker Salamon.

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