Tattoos and body piercing, once done only by fringe members of society, is now common among adults of all ages and social classes. In recent years, many new tattoo shops have opened up across the country. Nearly all of these businesses are small and privately owned. Of course, owning this type of business is not without its risks, so it is important to protect the operation you run with a suitable tattoo and piercing shop insurance policy.
Tattoos in America: A Snapshot
- There are currently more than 21,000 tattoo parlors in the United States
- Approximately 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo
- An estimated 40% of adults between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo
- Americans spend more than $1.6 billion each year on tattoo services
- The average cost of a small tattoo is $45
What Is Tattoo and Piercing Shop Insurance?
Tattoo and body piercing insurance is a specific business insurance policy designed to help owners of tattoo shops maintain a profitable business. Tattoo insurance providers understand the many risks that go along with running this type of business and can create policies that address these risks so that your shop can remain profitable, even in the face of a disaster or lawsuit.
Is Tattoo Insurance Required?
Whether or not you are required by law to carry tattoo liability insurance is dependent on where your shop is located. Each state mandates different laws governing the running of these businesses. Be sure to check the laws in your state before you open for business.
Other cases where you may be required to carry a tattoo business insurance policy are if you have taken out a business loan and it is required by your lender, or if you rent your shop space and insurance is required as a term of your lease.
Regardless of whether or not you have a requirement to carry this insurance, it is an extremely good idea to do so. Your shop faces a number of risks that could potentially put you out of business. A tattoo insurance policy can prevent these hazards from bankrupting your company.
Tattoo and Piercing Shop Insurance Provides Liability Coverage
Tattoo liability insurance coverage is particularly important. Lawsuits against tattoo artists and businesses are on the rise as more people are getting inked. Even cases that are thrown out of court can break a business due to the high cost of legal defense. Tattoo liability insurance will protect your business by covering court-imposed fines as well as any legal fees associated with a covered event. Liability coverage options you can choose from include:
- General liability: This will provide coverage for personal injuries or property damage sustained by a customer while in your place of business. The most commonly reported injuries are due to slip-and-fall accidents. Any company that admits customers onto their place of business is strongly advised to carry general liability insurance.
- Professional liability: Your policy will cover you, as the business owner, as well as any named employees in your shop. Any time an employee leaves or a new one is hired, you will want to be sure to notify your insurance company. Professional liability covers malpractice, when an artist or piercer should severely injure someone or does work that this is clearly substandard. Given the permanence of tattoos, lawsuits for extremely poor work are to be expected. Take care when hiring your employees and then be sure to cover them with this important insurance.
- Communicable disease liability insurance: Clean equipment and unused sterilized needles are extremely important when doing tattoos and piercings. As a tattoo shop owner, you likely take great care to protect the health of your customers. For example, you may face a lawsuit if a client is sickened by a blood-borne illness. Sometimes, these lawsuits bear no merit, but you will still need to defend yourself, often at a great cost. This coverage can protect you from such losses.
Tattoo Shop Insurance Provides Property Damage Coverage
It takes a large initial investment to set up your tattoo and piercing shop. Most of the money you spend will go into the contents of your business, from furnishings to equipment. Without proper insurance, a disaster such a fire, can completely wipe out both your business and the investment you have made in it. Fortunately, you can protect your assets with insurance coverage such as:
- Property insurance: Also known as contents coverage, this insurance provides compensation for losses to your tattoo guns, body jewelry, chairs, tables, and décor. Covered losses generally include those caused by fire, severe weather, vandalism and theft. Some weather events, such as earthquakes, may require additional endorsements, or riders, for you to have coverage.
- Signs and glass insurance: Many business policies exclude coverage for outdoor signs and for glass, whether in windows or display cases. In these cases, you will need to purchase separate endorsements to get this coverage. Be sure to check the terms of your policy to see if you need this additional insurance and whether it is available through your insurance provider.
- Building insurance: Most tattoo shop owners rent, rather than own, their shop space. If you do own the building in which you operate your business, be certain that it is properly covered for whether and fire damage. If you work out of your home, be sure to check with your homeowners insurance provider to see if you need an additional rider to protect the area in which you do business.
Be aware that flood damage is almost always excluded from business insurance coverage, so if your business is located in a flood-prone area, you will need a business flood insurance policy as well. An agent in the Trusted Choice network can provide you with more information about NFIP-backed flood insurance and can help you secure a policy if you feel this coverage is necessary.
Tattoo Insurance Has Other Coverage Options
Many tattoo and body piercing insurance policies provide additional coverage options that you, as the owner of a tattoo and body piercing business, may find necessary. When comparison-shopping, be sure to familiarize yourself with all the coverage possibilities offered by each company. Some insurance options that may interest you include:
- Apprenticeship program insurance: Most tattoo artists learn their trade through apprenticeship programs. If you offer this in your shop, this coverage will permit your policy to cover your apprentice, within limitations, as it does your named employees.
- Guest artist or piercer insurance: Similar to the apprentice program coverage, this will allow you to add an additional temporary employee onto your coverage for a limited amount of time. This coverage is less restrictive that apprenticeship coverage.
- Coverage at conventions: Sometimes you may want to display your talents and do tattoo work at conventions. This coverage will provide you with liability and property damage coverage while you are working off-site, and is often required by convention hosts if you plan to do work at the event.
- Sexual abuse insurance: Some customers request tattoos and piercings in intimate areas. It is important that your business takes precautions against improper physical contact at all times. Sometimes, customers claim sexual abuse and, even if the claims are baseless, you will need to obtain legal defense. This coverage will provide compensation for any fiduciary losses incurred as the result of a sexual abuse suit.
- Permanent makeup insurance: If your shop offers permanent makeup services, such as lip-liner, eye-liner or brow tattooing, you will need to be sure to have coverage for these services. Eye-liner tattoos, in particular, present the risk of damage to the customer’s eye and this can result in a hefty lawsuit. All permanent makeup tattoo artists in your shop must be properly certified in order for you to have this coverage.
Is Tattoo Insurance Expensive?
The quoted cost of a tattoo insurance policy will vary from business to business, but most policies are relatively inexpensive and can generally be purchased for less than $100 month. This is a small price to pay for the benefit of protection for lawsuits and property loss.
The only way to know for certain how much a policy will cost you is to do some comparison shopping. The coverage offered by different insurance companies can vary significantly, and while one policy may come at a better rate, another that costs only slightly more may provide a lot more coverage.
Learn More About Tattoo and Piercing Insurance
Tattoo parlor insurance policies come with many coverage options. As a business owner, you may have questions about the different coverage options or may need help deciding which are right for your business.
You can turn to several reputable sources before you buy coverage:
- Financial planners and CPAs - Do you work with an accountant? If so, this is a great person to talk to about insurance coverage. They have a clear idea about the worth of your shop, and can help you understand what assets you need to protect.
- Lawyers - From a legal standpoint, there are some things you'll need to cover. Your liability risks can be explained to you by an attorney who understands your business.
- Colleagues - What kinds of insurance protection do your friends and colleagues in this business carry? Sometimes they can set you down an efficient path to finding the insurance you need.
- Insurance agents - These professionals handle commercial insurance policies all the time. Just make sure you find an agent who understands your business and works for a reputable insurer.
Ultimately, it's best if you can compare at least 3 rate quotes for tattoo shop insurance before you buy. That way you'll know you're getting the best coverage for your needs and budget.