Public Liability Insurance for Artists

(Don’t Let a Lawsuit Revoke Your Creative License)

Business life insurance

We’ve all heard about pop stars being sued for copyright infringement. However, Justin Bieber and Beyonce aren’t the only performers who risk finding themselves in court, and ripping off another artist isn’t the only reason musicians, performers, crafters and other artists face lawsuits.

In 1975, Richard Serra’s “Sculpture No. 3” was installed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a sculpture formed from two 5-ton steel plates balanced against each other. 

The installation turned deadly when rigger Raymond Johnson was trapped underneath a plate that slipped its support and fell. Johnson was killed, and his wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the artist, the museum, and the piece’s fabricators.

At an event in 2015, a badly placed kick by pop star Miguel landed on a fan’s head. According to TMZ, the woman sued both Miguel and the MGM Grand Hotel, where the event took place, for negligence and is seeking damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Art is becoming ever more accessible to the public and fans. As art – whether performance, installation or craft – becomes more interactive and attracts more visitors, protestors and other third parties, artists are at higher risk of lawsuits. 

An artist public liability insurance policy can not only help the injured party pay medical bills or replace damaged property, it can also help pay legal fees and avoid making the phrase “starving artist” a literal one.

This type of insurance policy covers your legal liabilities if you cause any injury to people (including death) or damage to the property of third parties. 

It helps pay damages to the public when death, bodily injury or damage to property occurs as a result of your professional activities. Artists public liability insurance also helps pay attorney and court fees for your legal defense.

You need public liability insurance if your work involves public performances and live events, workshops, residencies, open studios and commissions. Without insurance, the artist can be held personally responsible if a person becomes injured or equipment is broken.

If you are commissioned to create a piece of art or performance for a government body or museum, your contract may require you to carry artists public liability insurance.

Our independent agent matching tool will find you the best insurance solution in your area. Tell us what you're looking for and we'll recommend the best agents for you. Any information you provide will only be sent to the agent you pick.


Save on Business Insurance

Our independent agents shop around to find you the best coverage.

Why Do I Need Artists Public Liability Insurance?

Tattoo artists can be held liable when something goes wrong during or after the tattoo process, but that liability isn’t absolute. There are known risks (like infection) associated with tattoos, and in many cases customers assume those risks by agreeing to get the tattoo and signing a consent form or waiver. 

However, artists can’t absolve themselves of all liability for an infection just by pointing to the consent form. If the parlor or the artist is somehow negligent at any point in the process, and a customer is injured as a result, they may have a valid claim. 

Artists need public liability insurance policies to protect themselves against such claims.

As many performing artists know, sometimes a show simply refuses to go as planned. An equipment malfunction, a bad stage set-up, or a rowdy audience can turn a gig sideways fast. 

If a fan or venue employee is injured during your show, or the venue is damaged in some way, you want protection against being sued for payment.

How Much Artists Public Liability Insurance Do I Need?

The amount of coverage you need may depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Your art: Performance artists may want more coverage than painters. Rock bands with a number of members may want a group policy, while potters only need coverage for themselves.
  • How you work: Do you use subcontractors to install your art, or is it installed as you create it? Does your musical group use pyrotechnics, or is it an acoustic band?
  • The material you work with: A granite sculpture can cause much more damage if toppled than a wicker creation. And tattoo artists’ materials are applied directly to people.
  • Your risk exposures: How often and how much do you and your art interact with others? Do you host workshops on your craft?  

How Much Does It Cost?

Artists public liability insurance policy premiums depend on the amount of coverage you buy and the options you choose. Generally, however, a policy can be found for less than you pay for car insurance That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

If you are a member of an artists’ association or union, your membership dues may provide some kind of liability insurance protection. 

According to a survey conducted by Americans for the Arts, in 2013 there were more than 7,500 members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and 2,600 members of the American Guild of Variety Artists. 

All told, there are more than 500,000 members of various artists’ unions in the United States. These numbers represent an increase in artistic union membership during the past decade, but most artists still need their own insurance policies. 

It is wise to review any public liability insurance offered by any group of which you are a member to ensure you have adequate coverage. Even with a group policy, you may want additional coverage, or a policy that protects you as an individual.


Save on Business Insurance

Our independent agents shop around to find you the best coverage.

Where Can I Find Artists Public Liability Insurance?

Whether you share your art through music, oil and canvas, sculpture or ink, you want to protect your craft with an artists public liability insurance policy. 

Knowledgeable, experienced insurance agents are always available to answer any questions you may have and assist you with determining your coverage needs. 

Our agents can get a number of quotes from a variety of insurance providers to ensure you find an artists liability policy that offers the best coverage at the most affordable rates. Contact your local insurance agent today.  

Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Facebook Share this page on LinkedIn