Content creators and influencers have certainly carved out a unique and interesting career path for themselves—one that didn't exist a decade or so ago. From inking lucrative brand partnerships promoting products and services to spending their days exploring the globe on the dime of destination marketing organizations and travel companies, the influencer space shows no signs of losing steam.
In fact, the opportunities for these social media celebrities and talented content producers have multiplied exponentially amid the COVID pandemic thanks to millions of people being stuck at home and forced to find most entertainment online. A recent Forbes article noted that the influencer marketing industry is expected to grow to a staggering $13.8 billion in 2021. That's a gigantic increase from the $9.7 billion that the industry was worth in 2020.
But with all of this opportunity and income, influencers and content creators must also take the time to manage their financial and business affairs. With many in this line of work functioning as freelancers or sole proprietors, this task will likely include securing their own insurance, from health insurance to travel insurance, and even liability and life insurance.
Here's a closer look at the types of insurance you may need as a freelance content creator or influencer.
General liability insurance covers the risks that affect almost every business, no matter what your industry, says Melanie Chase of NEXT Insurance.
"It's the most common insurance for small businesses and self-employed professionals, and it's typically the first policy purchased by new businesses," says Chase. "This is because it provides financial protection if you're held responsible for some of the most common accidents that can occur at a business, including damage to a customer's property, libel, and also advertising risks, which could be important for content creators in regards to copyright infringement or false advertising."
Libel protection, in particular, may be especially relevant for those who are creating cutting edge independent content, says Adrian Mak, CEO of AdvisorSmith.
"This can protect you if someone accuses you of libel or slander based upon the content that you publish," says Mak. "It will also cover you if you accidentally cause damage to a person or property while you are traveling, taking photos, or working.
Influencers who travel internationally will need to find a general liability policy that provides coverage worldwide, or at least in all of the countries you regularly visit. Typical liability policies generally only cover you within the United States, and sometimes Canada, says Mak.
This type of policy can be purchased from a property and casualty insurance company, or any business insurance broker. The premium cost is typically low, from $20 to $40 per month, says Mak.
Professional liability insurance
In addition to general liability insurance, there's also professional liability coverage, also known as Errors and Omissions coverage. This additional policy can also be important for influencers.
"This type of insurance covers legal liability against lawsuits arising from accusations of defamation, plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized use of titles and characters, libel, and slander," says Greg Rozdeba, president of Dundas Life. "This policy will pay for defense costs if you are sued for any of the above, as well as cover the mandated damages if the court finds you liable."
Errors and Omissions policies are available from licensed liability insurance providers and also general insurance providers, says Rozdeba. Expect to pay anywhere from $41 to $81 per month for such coverage.
"The amount of premium you pay will depend on your revenue, risk level, and whether you have any quality training on reducing errors and omissions in your line of work," says Rozdeba. "When obtaining this policy, carefully read the exclusions contained in the policy so that you know exactly what you're covered for and what isn't covered."
Workers compensation coverage
Though this may sound counterintuitive for someone who is self employed, Chase says influencers and content creators may also want consider workers compensation insurance.
"This provides a safety net if a workplace injury occurs and can help cover expenses for medical treatment, lost wages and other costs," explains Chase. "A common misconception about workers' comp is that it's only needed when a business has employees. But many self-employed workers or sole proprietors purchase coverage to protect themselves or to meet contract requirements."
Investing in property insurance is also a good idea for those in the content creation and influencer arena, says Rozdeba, president of Dundas Life.
"The gear you use for your online influencer and content creation activities is expensive," Rozdeba explains. "As such, you should insure this property against damage, theft, floods, fires, and other dangers. This way, you will receive compensation if any of these events occur, and can purchase the needed equipment quickly and without incurring further losses."
When it comes to securing affordable health insurance as a freelance content creator or influencer, you can start by checking the health insurance exchanges in your state, says Ariana Brill, an attorney, certified health insurance agent and creator fo the site Ask Ariana.
"There's quite a bit of financial assistance available through state-run health insurance exchanges, like Covered California or Healthcare.gov," says Brill. "You may qualify for a ton of financial aid. This is definitely the best place to start your search."
If you need more guidance securing health coverage, there are also health insurance agents and brokers who work on commission, meaning their services are free to you, says Brill.
"These folks are experts in their field and can help you find the best plan for your needs. They can assist with the application process," explains Brill. "There's really no downside to asking for help."
With all of the globetrotting that some influencers engage in, travel insurance policies are also an important consideration. This type of policy is particularly important because your health insurance will typically only cover you for emergencies in your home country, but not when traveling abroad.
"If you're planning an international trip, definitely get travel insurance," says Brill. "There are also plans available that will pay for the cost of your trip if you need to cancel it for whatever reason. That can be a great option for freelancers whose plans may shift."
This last point from Brill, about the need to cancel a trip at the last minute, is particularly relevant amid a pandemic, especially as many places experience a resurgence of the virus and conditions on the ground evolve rapidly.
Mak suggests this type of policy is well worth the money for influencers and content creators.
"Influencers may need to change their travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances," says Mak. "While the premiums on these plans are higher than other plans, the premiums may be tax-deductible if you're traveling for business."
One last but important insurance consideration for those who are freelance or independent workers—life insurance, either term or whole.
"Influencers should seek out life insurance as they're often not full-time employees but freelance so they may not have a benefits package offering this type of insurance through an employer," says Christopher Steven, of Ethos Life. "As a financial tool, life insurance can protect your family in the event something happens to you. If you are planning to start a family, purchase a home, or simply need to cover your final expense costs then you are a perfect candidate for life insurance."
Be strategic about selecting insurance coverage
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to insurance coverage of any kind, making it a good idea to work with a professional who can help identify the best policies for your unique situation as a content producer or influencer. With the right coverage in place, particularly proper business insurance, you'll be able to focus on your work with confidence, says Chase.
"Besides giving entrepreneurs peace of mind against claims, having business insurance helps content creators and influencers gain an edge over the competition," says Chase. "Clients often require businesses to provide a Certificate of Insurance to secure a job."