Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are you serious?

It's a constant refrain at this blog to treat your freelancing like a business. (That's not to say that you shouldn't be massively creative or just plain goofy much of the time, but rather that there are times when you can't.) Part of that is being responsible for yourself when things don't according to Hoyle. Yeah, I'm talking about insurance.

Health insurance. From my Freelance Forecast 2009 survey (click here to download the pdf) earlier this year, I know well that health insurance is a major sticking point for us solo practitioners. An article titled "Health Insurance for Freelancers" at Freelance Switch offers a wide range of ideas and links--the comments are recommended reading as well. It's worth the time to investigate your options and even revisiting the details of your current plan. Back when I first went freelance, for example, I discovered personally that COBRA was far more expensive than what I could get on my own for the coverage I wanted.

Disability income insurance. Today's cheery thought from Freelancers Union: You're much more likely to have a period of disability than you are to die. (Yet many of us have insurance to protect against the latter but not the former.) The good news for freelancers is that we're in a low-risk field and premiums are cheap. I've owned a policy from Country Financial for several years.

Errors and omissions insurance. Also known as professional liability or publishers/media liability, you may have to show proof of this if you do contract work for a larger company; depending on your business, it may make sense to have a policy anyway. Some basic info to start your research can be found at ChubbPro E&O and Publiability, which offers a program called WriteInsure that is targeted specifically at authors, self-publishers, bloggers, freelance writers, and small publishers.

Disclaimer: I'm not an insurance professional and I don't play one on TV. The above links and opinions are provided to get you thinking about and researching the topic as it applies to your business, not as specific recommendations. What you want, need and can afford ultimately need to strike a balance with your risk tolerance and life circumstances. But I will say this: When you consider that these are the types of insurance that an employer would purchase on your behalf if you were a full-time employee...isn't it in your best interest to take a serious look at how well you're protecting yourself?


  1. I hate this part of freelancing, but it is always a good reminder that nobody else is going to look after me. I should probably shop my car insurance around while I'm at it.

  2. There's a psychological business benefit when you buy insurance, incorporate as an LLC or S-Corp, or register a trademark. Having business cards printed somewhere other than Staples is a step in the right direction, but nothing can replace the act of doing something official. It says something deeper to your clients and prospects about how permanent and committed you are.