Insurance isn’t the most thrilling of subjects, especially if you’re a creative person who’d rather be spending time crafting than thinking about exclusions, endorsements and small print.
Amazingly, for over 30 years, I’ve managed to combine the two seemingly opposite activities. By day, I’m a qualified Chartered Insurance Broker. In the evenings and at weekends, you’ll find me up to my eyes in decoupage, bunting and paint.
I’ve heard so many myths about insurance that I could write a book, so when I was given a new project to produce an online insurance scheme, I knew it had to be aimed at the craft industry. Oh, and it had to be focused on the customer’s needs and make their life easier.
So, why do you need insurance? And isn’t it all the same? And they won’t pay my claims anyway, will they?
You can partly avoid some of the pitfalls by choosing a provider who knows what they’re doing. By that, I mean make sure they’re qualified, have the right cover for you and aren’t trying to fit you into their box instead of understanding your own individual craft.
Most crafters use the internet to sell these days, as well as attending craft fairs and events to showcase their products. A “Home Workers” policy will probably exclude most fairs and is unlikely to cover you if a customer from outside the UK buys one of your items from Etsy.
Some policies will limit the number of fairs that you can attend. I’ve seen too many claims over the years to risk attending any show without proper Public Liability cover. The awards from the courts are just too high to contemplate paying them yourselves; even the defence costs alone are eye watering.
If you give demonstrations or tuition to other crafters, you will need to make sure your policy includes suitable cover as a number of insurers don’t include this type of activity.
You’ll probably think that you only need Public Liability cover when you first start trading but it is important to think of this well before. You need to make sure that your policy can be extended to include your stock and materials if you were to expand your store at a later date. And definitely check that you can contact someone if you need some help with a claim.
Another thing that you should look at is getting your policy and other documents online as soon as you’ve arranged the cover. The majority of craft fair organisers look for proof of insurance, so being able to email them a copy of your policy is a real time saver.
The most important thing is assess what you think are the risks and work out whether you need to eliminate the potential costs with insurance or whether you’re happy to stand the loss yourself. There are some types of cover that all crafters should have – Public and Products Liability insurance is definitely one and, if you employ anyone, the law says you have to have Employers Liability cover too. Whether you insure your stock and materials is up to you – but ask yourself, could you survive if all of your hard worked stock was damaged in an accident or on your way to a craft show?
Anyway, that’s enough about my daytime passion – I’m off to get my hands dirty…