Product liability insurance???

  • I don't see a lot of discussion on this topic, so I figure I may as well ask. I'm starting to sell more prints and am wondering if any kind of product liability insurance is a good idea. I'm using one of two reputable printers to create prints (and possibly framed prints), and I may possibly sell prints at events too in the future. My first thought is ... "How much actual risk is involved in selling prints?" But, I suppose you never know and so I'm just curious to see if others worry about this.

    I'm curious to see what others think.

    A little backstory – you can ignore if you don't want to read all of this as it's not essential to my question. I created a puzzle a few months ago using an online printer with some of my artwork. I wanted to sell it through a Kickstarter or something like that, but as I was inquiring about liability insurance I basically dropped the idea. Puzzles are considered toys, and toy insurance costs were such that it wouldn't really be worth it financially, That is, assuming that you would bother getting insurance too I suppose. I tend to err on the safer side, so I'd really want to have it if I were to start selling it in any quantity. (As a side note, I did print a couple of puzzles and they turned out great.)

  • Moderator

    @drawnbyshawn Aside from buying insurance, you could make an obvious disclaimer of it being a possible choking hazard and such.

  • @CLCanadyArts Yeah, I did look into that. As far as puzzles go – and specifically as it has to do with choking – there are guidelines as to when you would want to put a choking hazard warning on. In my case the puzzle pieces were big enough to not need it.

  • @drawnbyshawn Insurance is such a complex subject I think it’s best to talk it over with an insurance agent. Everyone’s situation is different and that makes a huge difference in the cost and benefits of having insurance. For prints I don’t think you need any sort of safety ratings or insurance like you would for a toy. It would basically just be insuring the stock you keep on hand against any potential damage. You have to weigh the cost of the policy with the amount you have invested in your stock of prints at any given time. If you plan to do multiple huge runs and keep $10k of product in your garage, it may be worth it but I feel like in most cases people starting out at cons have smaller runs of a handful of pieces, probably closer to $1000 invested in the products. If an insurance policy is going to (hypothetically) be $90 a month, that $90 may be better off going back towards more products with the understanding that If something happens, you are most likely out the $1000 it took to make the prints. You have to weigh out your comfort level with potential loosing your investment against the cost of the policy and that’s going to be different for everyone.

  • @StudioLooong Thanks for the info. Yeah, it is a complex subject and will vary with each individual. I’m just curious to hear from artist, as I kind of feel that insurance agents will probably lean towards selling you a policy if you inquire about one.

    (But, insuring your stock is a good point, especially if you have a lot on hand.)

  • Pro

    @drawnbyshawn I personally sold print on demand and never had stock on hand, so never had the need for stock/inventory insurance. I suppose you'll want to start small like @StudioLooong said, perhaps even less than 1000$ stock at a time. So I doubt there's need for insurance at the very beginning at least. If down the road you like it, you're making good money and want to keep a bigger stock, then you might want to start looking into it.

  • @NessIllustration Thanks for the info!

  • Generally speaking, product liability will be covered under a [small business] general liability policy—and protects you from things like parents who decide to blame you for their kid choking on a puzzle piece from your product.

    I carried General Liability Insurance for nearly twenty years as a small web design and development company—for custom websites, believe it or not. Thankfully, I never had to use it. The monthly cost wasn't exorbitant, but it wasn't cheap either ... That being said, if a worst case scenario arises, going to court would likely bankrupt you.

    I'm not currently carrying insurance.

  • @Paul-Burton Thanks for the info. I do carry professional liability (errors and omissions) insurance for design work that I do in addition to art. I also found that general liability insurance (which includes product liability insurance) wasn't exorbitant, but definitely not cheap. I'm sticking with art prints for now, so I'm leaning towards not getting product liability insurance.

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