You may think that as long as you’re blogging your own opinions, that you’ll be fine. We live in the United States, the capital of free speech, right? But bloggers face lawsuits all the time, for invasion of privacy, libel, copyright issues, and more. No one is immune. It is not yet common for bloggers to have blogger liability insurance, but it’s becoming a wise choice—if not a necessity.
Why Do You Need Blogger Liability Insurance?
The risks for bloggers and other online publishers are vastly more dangerous because what might be fine in the United States could be illegal in other countries—and you wouldn’t even know. In some countries, defamation is a serious criminal act.
In Canada, for example, defamation is anything that might lower the respect of the subject in the public’s mind, and political opinions are not excluded from prosecution. Furthermore, lack of malice is not presumed, making accidental defamation a crime if the blogger cannot prove it was not intentional.
The irony is that the more successful your blog is, the more danger is associated with it. Bloggers and vloggers face even more at risk than traditional publishers and authors. Why? Because the internet allows international viewing, and thus, international suing, and many countries have laws that put bloggers at far greater financial risk and laws that are far less friendly to a blogging business.
What is Covered by Liability Insurance for Bloggers?
Liability insurance for bloggers is often called professional liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, Personal Media Protection Insurance (PMP), or media liability insurance. When people refer to blogger liability insurance, they’re likely referring to a combination of general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.
General Liability Insurance
While most people associate general liability insurance with brick-and-mortar stores, it’s also completely necessary for online businesses too. A general liability insurance policy covers third-party bodily injury and third-party property damage. However, it also covers “advertising injuries,” more commonly referred to as:
- Copyright infringement: You’re usually careful to only use photos on your website that you’ve taken or are purchased with proper licensing. However, a local photographer that is a reader of your blog sees that you used one of their photos without permission. They sue you to remove the photo and for damages associated. Because you used it without permission, you’re liable for those costs.
- Defamation: You write a post on your blog about someone that you believe to include known facts. However, this person catches wind that your blog is responsible for the rumor. Sadly, it is far from the truth. They sue you for defamation of their character and claim it’s not only an invasion of privacy, but that it damaged their business—and want you to pay up.
- Libel/slander: Libel and slander are both technically types of defamation. Libel refers to written defamation and slander refers to oral defamation.
If you’re accused of any of these things, most insurance companies will help provide you a legal defense if your case is taken to court as well as pay any necessary settlement costs. If you don't have the right insurance coverage for your blog, you could be left penniless, stuck paying settlement costs for years.
Professional liability insurance
Professional liability insurance—also referred to as errors and omissions insurance—is a type of business insurance that protects you if you make professional errors in your job. Those errors can include:
- Alleged or actual negligence
- Missed deadlines
- Undelivered services
- Breach of nondisclosure
- Copyright infringement
- Claims of libel or slander
- Data breaches
In any of these circumstances, the insurance company provides you a legal defense when necessary and can help you settle cases. As you can see, there is some overlap in coverage between the two liability policies. An insurance agent can help you decide if you need both, or if one policy is sufficient.
Additional Business Insurance Options for Bloggers
A small business owner may need to consider these other types of business insurance.
Commercial property insurance
Some home insurance policies will include coverage for some of your business property (office equipment, furniture, computers, and other equipment). However, it’s usually capped at a certain dollar amount. If so, you may want to consider additional property insurance to compensate you for a loss.
If you run a small business that includes office space you’ll need to consider business property insurance. If you’re leasing the property, you’ll most likely be required to obtain some sort of coverage in addition to the property owners.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you’re not a one-man-shop and you hire writers to work with you, you’re required to obtain workers' compensation in most states. What does it do? If an employee is injured on the job—which can even include repetitive stress injuries from typing—it can help pay for their medical expenses and lost wages. It also protects small business owners from being sued for the injury.
Business Owners' Policy
A business owners' policy (BOP) is an insurance package that typically includes general liability coverage, property insurance, and business interruption insurance. It’s offered to bloggers at an affordable rate. It can be a great way to get the coverage you need without the price tag. Not every insurance company offers it (and not everyone qualifies) but it’s worth checking.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
If you exhaust the limits of underlying insurance policies an umbrella policy can come in handy. In some cases, it can help cover whatever exceeded the limit—and even cover some things an underlying policy might not. This isn’t always the case and depends on the insurer and the policy chosen.
How Much Does Blogger Insurance Cost?
When you apply for blogger insurance, make sure you have this information on hand:
- What type of publishing do you do?
- What is your annual revenue?
- Do you have disclaimers in place on your website?
- Do you have any employees?
- Do you work out of your home or in an office?
- What type of insurance do you need?
The cost of your blogger insurance depends on the risks your individual business faces, including whether or not you use your own images, if you allow guest posts, and even the content you write about. One blogger stated she pays $700 for general liability and $1,200 for professional liability insurance per year.
How to Get Blogger Insurance
Business insurance can feel complicated and overwhelming. Our goal at Tivly is to simplify the process. We want to help you protect your business and get the blogger insurance you need at a price that doesn't break the bank. Take advantage of our experience and give us a call today! Or, complete the form at the top of the page to get an insurance quote.