Insurance must-haves for Freelancers
Freelancers are often associated with this laid back attitude, as they can work at their own pace. The common joke that runs on the freelance community is that it is the only job where one can work in their underwear, and no one would mind. But anyone who has had the blessing of watching Channing Tatum in Magic Mike will disagree.
Sure, as a freelancer you are free to decide your “work wardrobe”, get to work on projects that you like, have the freedom to set your schedule, all the blessings that you have to give up while working at a big company. At the same time, being a freelancer means that you are responsible for not only your success but also maintaining your wellbeing in the process of becoming a success. There is no company provided a cushion in the form of insurance that you can rely on, no one to dictate whether or not you are bordering on a burnout (shoutout to HR reps!).
The idea of becoming a freelancer is liberating, but when confronted with the complexities that lie within the idea becomes terrifying. If you have prior experience in the world of the corporate, you might have been spoilt with a package of benefits, but the freelance life does not offer you that luxury. As the idea of a job has evolved in the past few years, the insurances that go along with it have undergone some changes as well. Now, freelancers can also sign up for insurance plans- as long as they can afford it.
The insurance universe can swallow your confused self in a single gulp. Now that you are free to choose your own insurance plans, not just merely customise them- here is a short guide that will help you navigate through the process.
Liability insurance is designed to protect you from yourself. Any mess that you put yourself into- be it by sharing a story on Instagram about a collaboration that was meant to be a secret, or if your product delivery man trips and breaks his arm in your home office. There are various kinds of liability insurances available, but one can always opt for more than a single liability plan.
General Liability Insurance: This category protects people from common accidents in the workplace, usually involving a third party. For freelancers, this policy could also protect them from advertising injuries like slander, trademark or copyright infringement, trademark, and libel.
Professional Liability Insurance: It helps protect you from getting sued by your clients or customers, who claim that your writing or product was negligent due to an accidental omission or error. Freelancers benefit from this policy if they get sued, as this policy bears all expenses of the legal process, for those freelancers that are found innocent.
Cyber Liability Insurance: As most businesses have become digital, it has scaled the possibility of data breaches and hackers. This policy protects you in situations where information was leaked or compromised. You should think of investing in this policy if you deal with sensitive information like credit card credentials.You should think about all the plans that would be suitable for your business and invest in them after comparing all prices and conditions that each plan has to offer
Commercial Property Insurance: Office equipment is expensive. As a freelancer, your workspace will need some odd equipment to increase your efficiency. If something were to happen to that equipment, it could potentially cause an arm and a leg. The cost of business equipment is not always covered in the renter’s policy.
Equipment can include computers, tools, office furniture etc. Even while working from a spare room, it is a good idea to invest in commercial property insurance. In most cases, freelancers tend to qualify for a Business Owner’s Policy which combines both liability and commercial property coverage at a lower price as compared to when both plans are bought separately.
Commercial Auto Insurance
The general perception of this kind of insurance is that it is only limited to the people who own commercial vehicles, like a delivery or cab service- it is false. Anyone who is driving while conducting business benefits from this plan. For example, a freelance designer gets into an accident as she makes her way back from the client meeting, a personal auto policy would cover the damages since the vehicle was being used for business purposes.
Aspects that the policy covers:
- Coverage for the repairs of the vehicle
- Auto liability coverage for any property damage or third party injuries
- The medical payments of injuries sustained by the third party or the driver
Freelancers who commute via rental cars for work purposes can benefit from non-owned auto or hired insurance, which covers the damage caused by the cars they are driving, but do not own.
A freelancer is their own best asset. But it is highly unlikely that your immune system will never be in a compromised situation. When working for a big organisation you have health insurance in your name, but when you walk the freelance road, certain privileges need to be given up- this, being one of them. To prevent a financial disaster in times of a medical emergency one should be able to rely on health insurance.
Some benefits of health insurance are:
- Reduced cost healthcare options
- Prescription medicines at discounts
- Avoiding huge medical bills
- Business Interruption Insurance
There are a number of disruptions that can potentially cause a delay in the ongoings of your work. Freelancers are their own business, and much like any other business they now have the option of opting for a business interruption plan.
The plan can come in handy if a natural calamity strikes, or when your forces are down due to a pipe burst in your workspace. In such situations, to make sure you do not lose money out of your own pocket, a business interruption plan will keep things afloat until you are back on your feet. It bears the costs of damage, as well as maintain the finances during the dark period.
Insurance is like a cushion that will only protect you from the blow of certain situations. Being a freelancer is not an easy job, and they should reap the same benefits as the forces of big business. Prepare a checklist of all the insurances that your work might need, and start building a portfolio for the same.
Buying insurance is not the hard part, but maintaining them is. Consult the best of professionals, and curate a freelance insurance plan which is fool-proof. Help ease your mind, you already have a lot on that plate of yours!