The number of freelancers in the UK has been on the rise for the past few years. Many cite the reason as job cuts in the public and private sectors leading to redundant employees going it alone instead. And why not? Being a freelancer has many benefits: freedom; control over what you do and when you work and the chance to earn a living doing what you enjoy.
It does, however, carry risks too. When you offer a service of a specific nature, or advertise yourself as a specialist or a consultant, you owe a duty of care to anyone who relies on you to provide them with advice or services.
The Risks to Freelancers
If a client is dissatisfied with a service or advice provided, they may decide to sue. Whether or not they have a valid claim, it will still cost you dear, both financially and time-wise, to defend the action.
Have a think about possible scenarios that apply to your line of work. If you are a photographer engaged to shoot a wedding or event, and the client alleged your work was substandard, or you lost the camera or memory card and were unable to produce the images, you would likely face a claim.
If you were responsible for placing an advertisement in the media for a client, and failed to check the correct telephone number or website address was used, the client could sue not just for negligence, but for loss of income and damage to their brand.
If you handle data belonging to a client, or hold responsibility for their intellectual property, you could also find yourself in a predicament if that data was lost or collateral got into the wrong hands, or was misused.
Could you Afford Legal Action and a Claim?
There are numerous industries in which freelancers could find themselves at risk. Writers, journalists and editors; designers and illustrators; public relations and marketing advisers; consultants and trainers. Remember – if you are self-employed rather than a limited company – you are personally liable for any claims made against you.
Thankfully, there is a way to protect yourself as a freelancer. Professional indemnity insurance covers you against claims from clients who are dissatisfied with your work or advice, or who have suffered losses as a result of it. It also takes care of the legal fees required to defend a claim, whether or not it is a valid one.
How to Protect Yourself as a Freelancer
You may have thought business insurance was just for companies: that’s definitely not the case. Insurance for freelancers is as vital as having the right tools for the job. Most professional indemnity policies are affordable and some can be paid in instalments.
It’s important that professional indemnity insurance is tailored to the nature of the work you do. If you are a freelancer and are looking to protect yourself, give us a call. At Robert Gerrard we take great care to ensure cover is appropriate, so that our clients are adequately protected. For an affordable premium, you can buy yourself peace of mind. Let us know how we can help.