Owning a tattoo studio is a great option for tattoo artists who want to earn a living while expressing themselves through art. As with any business, things can always go wrong, and you need small-business insurance to protect your business and your employees from the financial disaster that can accompany fires, theft, vandalism, injuries and lawsuits.
One need only to look around these days to see that tattoos are popular with people of all ages, and they continue to grow in popularity.
- Annual spending on tattoos in the U.S.: $1,650,500,000
- Percent of Americans of all ages who have at least one tattoo: 14%
- Total number of Americans who have at least one tattoo: 45 million
- Number of tattoo parlors in the U.S.: 21,000
As customers flock to your business in greater numbers, the possibility of something going wrong also grows. You know the risks: infections, mistakes, and injuries to customers, coupled with typical retail exposures like slips and falls, fire, theft, vandalism and weather events. What’s more, tattoo shops are often the subject of claims involving communicable diseases and even sexual assaults.
While you may or may not be required by your state to carry business insurance for your tattoo shop, it is the best way to protect your interests in the event that you are sued. What’s more, if you rent or lease your studio space, your landlord may require that you have certain coverage.
Property Insurance for Tattoo Studios
Tattoo studio insurance starts with property coverage. While you most likely lease your space and do not have a building to cover, you still need insurance protection for the business personal property on your premises. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage for your tattoo equipment as well as coverage for office furniture, computers, signs and glass. Commercial property insurance provides coverage for property damage that occurs as a result of fire, theft, vandalism, weather events and other covered perils.
Your business property policy may also include coverage for business interruption, which helps you pay for expenses like rent and employee salaries if your studio must close to make repairs after a fire, storm or some other covered event.
Liability Insurance for Tattoo Studios
Liability insurance is the most important type of insurance protection for a tattoo studio. A commercial general liability (CGL) policy provides broad coverage for bodily injury or property damage that occurs on your premises or that occurs as a result of the services you provide, including:
- Slips and falls
- Advertising liability
- Libel and slander
- Injury or harm to a client while getting or after getting a tattoo
Your tattoo studio liability insurance can be tailored to your needs. Insurance companies that specialize in tattoo studio insurance typically offer liability coverage for incidents that occur inside your shop as well as those that might occur off-premises, including shows and fairs. In addition, your liability coverage should be written to include coverage for tattoo artists who are employees as well as tattoo artists who operate as independent contractors.
It is likely that your landlord will require you to have liability insurance for incidents that occur within your leased space as well as accidents that occur outside the leased space but are caused by you, your operations or your employees. Tattoo studio liability insurance should allow you to name your landlord as an additional insured on your policy as may be required by your lease agreement.
You may also be able to add endorsements that include coverage for claims of communicable disease transmission and sexual abuse on your premise.
Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for professional liability insurance. Some professional liability coverage may be included in your commercial general liability policy, but it may be insufficient. Professional liability coverage applies to individual tattoo artists, including independent contractors, who provide services on behalf of your studio. Remember, professional liability insurance only applies in situations where a tattoo artist makes an error or a client is harmed – not when a client simply experiences buyer’s remorse.
You should always use waivers and consent forms as a means of limiting your liability exposures. If you do not require clients to sign specific waivers and consents, you should start doing so immediately.
If you or your employees will be driving personal vehicles for business purposes, you may want to consider nonowned and hired auto liability coverage. This coverage, which often can be added as an endorsement to your CGL policy, provides liability protection if you or one of your employees gets into an accident while driving a personal vehicle for your business.
Laser Tattoo Removal Clinic Insurance
Laser tattoo removal is an entirely different service that is almost never performed in a tattoo studio. Laser tattoo removal is usually performed by a trained and licensed laser technician, aesthetician, nurse or nurse practitioner in a medical setting – typically a medispa, or a dermatology or plastic surgery practice that offers additional aesthetic or skin care services.
A spa, clinic or medical practice that provides laser tattoo removal services may need a variety of different business insurance policies including but not limited to the following.
- Business property insurance is necessary to protect any capital equipment needed to perform the tattoo removal services. The laser is a large, expensive piece of equipment that needs insurance to protect against theft or loss. You may even be required to carry this insurance by the leasing or financing entity involved in your lease or purchase of the laser.
- Business interruption coverage should also be included in your property insurance policy.
- Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance protects your business from slips and falls, damage to or loss of property, and injuries that occur on your premises. You can add a variety of additional coverage riders to your CGL policy to make sure it addresses your specific liability exposures. You may need to specifically name your tattoo removal laser on your CGL policy to ensure that you are covered for any injury or property damage that it causes to third parties.
- Professional liability insurance is liability protection for the individuals who actually perform the laser procedures. While complications from laser tattoo removal are rare, they can happen, and you will want to ensure that your business, and your aestheticians or technicians are protected. Professional liability – or malpractice – insurance protects the laser operators from claims of negligence, errors and omissions.
Your business likely provides numerous medical procedures or services, and your need for medical professional liability coverage will vary depending on the services you provide. Medical professional liability insurance is highly complex and customized coverage that will vary greatly among practitioners. The best way to ensure that you are getting the coverage you need – and not paying for coverage you don’t need – is to work closely with an independent insurance agent who understands your business and the risks you face. Your agent should work with reputable insurance companies that specialize in medical professional liability coverage, in order to find the best coverage for your needs.
How to Find the Best Tattoo Studio Insurance
Tattoo studios and laser tattoo removal clinics need tailored small business insurance. You may qualify for a business owners policy (BOP) that combines property, liability and business interruption coverage into one convenient and affordable package policy. BOPs can be further customized with endorsements and riders necessary to fully protect your business.
If you are looking for tattoo studio insurance, consult with an independent insurance agent who understands your business and has experience working with the kind of coverage you need. The right insurance will protect your business, your employees and your customers – giving you peace of mind.