Free photo from FreePik. Close up of business money graphs and charts. Business liability insurance.
Free photo from FreePik. Close up of business money graphs and charts. Business liability insurance.
Business liability insurance for copywriters and business bloggers.

Hopefully, at this point, you have been following along with my recent blog series: the ten mistakes I made in my first year as a copywriter. And while by no means am I trying to say it was a bad first year—because it was an AMAZING first year—I did learn a lot along the way. Though I had mentors here and there for this and that, I didn’t have anyone who could holistically guide me through owning a small copywriting and content writing business in Minnesota.

So, I was mostly on my own. The great thing is that I have learned through trial and error. I have made mistakes and learned from them, coming out better on the other side. But it makes me think—if just one person had been able to share with me all the mistakes they made when they first started, wouldn’t I be a bit further along today?

And the answer is YES! Of cours, I would be further along than where I am today. While I wouldn’t necessarily have all this content for this newest blog series, skipping out on some of the headaches would have been worth it. That’s why I decided to write this series—to share with my clients, aspiring copywriters, and freelance bloggers—how and why not to make the same mistakes that I did. 

Without further ado, I want to share my mistake five—not investing in business liability insurance. So, let’s get to it.

What is Business Liability Insurance for Copywriters?

I already know what you’re thinking because I had this same question when the concept first surfaced. Just what is business liability insurance? And why does a copywriter or freelance blogger need it, especially if they are working on a platform such as Upwork or have put a services agreement and statement of work in place with their client? Well, I’m going to tell you all about it.

Business liability insurance is a type of coverage that protects your business from claims that can arise from your day-to-day operations. These claims could be for mistakes in your work, injuries, or property damage. Even as a copywriter or freelance blogger, these risks can pop up when you least expect them.

For instance, imagine you write a blog post for a client, but a mistake that no one caught leads to a legal issue for them. They might sue you for damages, which can be a risk, especially if you don’t have a services agreement in place. 

Or a client visits your home office for a meeting and slips on your icy driveway, injuring themselves. Or your laptop gets stolen from your bag when you are at a networking event—this would be a nightmare for any content writer who takes her laptop anywhere she goes. And good laptops don’t come cheap.

These scenarios might seem far-fetched, but they can and do happen. Without business liability insurance, you could be personally responsible for covering the costs of these claims. This could mean paying for legal fees, medical bills, or even settlement costs out of your pocket.

Do Copywriters Really Need Business Liability Insurance?

So, why do copywriters and freelance bloggers need this insurance? Simply put, it’s a safety net. It protects your finances and your reputation. When you’re just starting, it’s easy to think you won’t need it because you’re working on a small scale or from the comfort of your home. 

But the truth is, one big claim can put you out of business. Having business liability insurance shows that you are professional and prepared for anything. And I know this begs the question—what made me realize I might benefit from this insurance and sleep better at night? Read on. I’ll tell you. 

My Story: Why I’ll Never Operate Without Business Liability Insurance Again

Okay, let’s be clear from the get-go. I have never been sued. So, if you were starting to worry about me being involved in some legal action, you can let that go. However, I did have a client threaten legal action. And while they didn’t have a case—I did consult with a few connections in the legal business to confirm that—it raised my hackles a bit.

I was introduced to this client through another connection. I’ll be honest. It was super exciting. It was the largest referral I had received to date. And this client wanted a lot of content, and he wanted it fast. While obviously, I won’t name the client, I will share that his business sells corrugated metal roofing, siding, and fencing products across North America. It’s a pretty cool business, as he has invested a lot of money into creating an excellent product that is built to last.

Before I was introduced to the client, I had a quick call with his SEO consultant. That call was requested urgently, and my only option to take that call that day was from my car on my way to an event. (Note to readers: Never rush an onboarding or prospect call.) So, I could not take notes, the connection wasn’t the best, and we had no written follow-up from the call. Mistake after mistake after mistake. And during the call, I mentioned that I would leverage artificial intelligence from time to time and where needed to help augment the content. That was that. Now, I’ll give you a bit of a teaser—in one of my following articles in this series, I’ll talk about some of the mistakes I have made with an over—and under—reliance on artificial intelligence in my work. But that’s a story for another day.

Building My Content on the Wrong Baseline

So here’s what happened. First, I didn’t have a contract in place with the client—a big mistake. Second, I let myself build the framework for future content for this client based on content already on his site—and all of that content was AI-generated.

Here’s the thing. Most of the content I wrote for this client I wrote on my own. Me and my brain, leveraging insights that the client had provided me that were specific to his business. This was content that could not or never be written by an AI tool because it was unique to his business. But I’ll be clear—construction and corrugated metal products are not really my specialty. So, I leveraged AI to help me write use cases and explain how these products could be used across various projects.

And the client LOVED my work. I got note after note thanking me for the great work and requesting MORE and MORE. I use those letters in caps because that’s how he wrote to me. He wanted MORE. So I kept going. And, long story short? Google came out with an algorithm announcement. The client panicked. 

Even though his content started appearing on the first page of search results, even though the content was not spammy as it was specific and unique to his business—and 100% original, I might add—he worried that his investment in content would go down the toilet. And while that was not and would not be the case for him—which was explained to him by his SEO consultant—he just wasn’t having it. So, he threatened legal action if I didn’t rewrite the content. 

Get Expectations in Writing

The moral of this particular story is to get expectations in writing. I failed to follow up with the SEO consultant to recap our conversation. I also failed to clarify with the client that he was okay with using AI to help generate and augment content for his website. Even though his site was full of AI-generated content, I failed to confirm that it was acceptable moving forward. This was a big learning opportunity for me. 

Though this article is intended to talk about business liability insurance, and I promise we’ll get back to that shortly, I know you want to know what happened next.

Here’s what I did—I rewrote all the content. All of it. It was relatively easy to do since I had written it in the first place but had used AI to rewrite much of it to make it more technical and “construction-friendly.” Rewriting it was the right thing to do. But here is where I screwed up. 

When the client threatened legal action, I freaked out. I let it get in my head and failed to read his request. I scanned his note, my hands shaking, and interpreted his request that he sue me, expected me to rewrite the content, and expected a credit for the work done so far. Unfortunately, I misread, thinking he wanted all of those things. 

So what did I do? I responded quickly with a rebuttal. I apologized for the misunderstanding, reiterated the conversation with the consultant, and offered to rewrite the content and offer a credit—to the tune of about $3,000. But, I went overboard. Had I just slowed down a bit, I would have realized I didn’t need to do all that. 

Business Liability Insurance and Peace of Mind 

We’ll get to the components of business liability insurance shortly, but first, let’s talk about a few other important things. When working with clients, you must put ethics and responsibility first in everything you do. Be upfront about your approach to writing, and make sure you get an agreement in writing. Always have a statement of work in place. Here’s the thing: some clients love AI, while others want nothing to do with it. As a copywriter and content writer, you must respect that and get everything out on the table.

Had I gotten this in writing or sent that meeting recap after that evening call with the consultant, I would have learned that while their site was full of AI content, they wanted something other than AI content from me—and I would have known to use an AI checker to check double (yes, sometimes these AI checkers get it wrong). It would have been an easy solution. But I didn’t do that. And though I find it oddly humorous that the writing on their site since I have stopped writing for them is once again flagging as AI, that’s beside the point.

The key here is to start with ethics. Be upfront about what you do. Charge appropriate rates. Make sure you understand the client’s expectations and go from there. When you do that, situations like this won’t happen.

So, if you practice ethics in everything you do, why do you still need this insurance? The answer is simple: things can still go wrong even when you do everything right. A client might misunderstand a part of your agreement, or an unexpected accident could occur. Business liability insurance is there to protect you when the unexpected happens. It gives you peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered in case something goes wrong, allowing you to focus on what you do best—writing great content for your clients.

What Does Business Liability Insurance for Freelance Bloggers Include?

Okay, let’s get to it and get into the real reasons why I have business liability insurance. Here’s what this type of policy typically covers:

  • Legal Action: If a client sues you and proves damages, the insurance can help pay for legal fees and any settlements or judgments against you.
  • Property Damage: If your laptop gets stolen or damaged, the insurance can help cover the cost of repair or replacement.
  • Work-Related Accidents: If you’re in an accident while traveling for work, the insurance can help pay for car repairs.
  • Advertising Injuries: This includes things like libel (writing something false about someone), slander (saying something false about someone), and trademark or copyright infringement (using someone else’s trademark or copyrighted material without permission).
  • Professional Errors (Errors and Omissions Insurance): This covers freelancers accused of making a professional error, such as delivering work that’s late or incomplete, making a mistake in your work, or being negligent in performing your work.
  • Data Breach Protection: One of the biggest risks for freelancers who work online is a data breach, which can be very expensive to handle. Now, in my case, I don’t keep or collect sensitive customer data such as credit card numbers. But that’s not to say that you won’t. So, cybersecurity insurance can help pay for notifying affected customers, forensic services to determine how the breach occurred, legal services to comply with regulations, customer credit and fraud monitoring services, and business interruption expenses.
  • Business Interruption Insurance: If an unexpected event, like a riot or theft, prevents you from doing business, this insurance can help cover lost income, taxes, relocation costs, and lease payments. But, know that not all natural disasters are covered under this type of policy. So, if your freelance business is in an area prone to flooding, you might need a separate policy.

How Much Does Business Liability Insurance for Copywriters Cost?

If you’re like me, when I first started realizing I might want the peace of mind that business liability insurance can provide, you might want to know how much it costs. And I know you’re going to hate this answer—it depends. There are a lot of things that go into determining how much you’re going to pay.

The underwriter is going to consider the type of business you are in, the years you’ve been doing it, past claims, the amount of risk you are susceptible to, how much coverage you want, and even where your business is based. But here’s the good news. Business liability insurance for freelance bloggers and copywriters doesn’t cost as much as you might think. 

Business Liability Insurance is a Worthwhile Investment

My policy was underwritten by The Hartford, and I am paying under the estimated average of $805 annually. And that’s the cost of just a small handful of blogs. So, it’s an easy expense to bite off—at least in my opinion. Plus, the truth is that as copywriters, especially when we have a service agreement in place, we just don’t open ourselves up to that much liability.

Here’s why: 

  • Most of us work from home.
  • Copywriting is generally considered a low-risk industry compared to fields like construction or healthcare.
  • We have contracts that protect us.
  • Clients are responsible for verifying the factuality and applicability of the content.
  • Our work typically doesn’t involve physical products or face-to-face customer interactions.
  • We usually don’t have a lot of expensive equipment or inventory that needs to be covered. For me, it’s just my laptop and a monitor. And, yes, while I have vlogging equipment, it doesn’t go anywhere. 
  • Most of our work is digital, reducing the risk of physical loss or damage.
  • Many copywriters work solo or with a small team, so there are limited potential employee-related claims.
  • We rarely have clients visiting our home offices, so there is low risk of on-site accidents. And for my business, if I am going to meet a client, it is always in a public place and never in my home.

The Moral of the Story: Business Liability Insurance for Content Writers

If you made it this far in the article. I think I know what you are thinking. 

You’re questioning your processes and making sure you are covering off on the bases during your blog scoping calls. You’re wondering if you are capturing requirements accurately and getting expectations in writing. Maybe you are thinking it is time to leverage an attorney to get a general contract that you can use for future client onboarding. 

It’s natural for all these things to be going through your head. These are common thoughts that all copywriters have when starting their businesses. And lastly, you are wondering if you can afford all of these expenses that it takes to get a business set up the right way.

I mean, think about it.

  • Your website could cost you $3,000 or more to get it done right the first time.
  • There are costs associated with getting great imagery for use on your website and promotional materials. One professional photo and video shoot can easily cost you $3,000 or more. 
  • Getting a contract template from a legal firm can cost anywhere from $2000 to several thousand dollars, depending on the scope of the work that you do.
  • Business liability insurance is about $800 a year.

And what about all those other expenses that you take on as a copywriter?

  • Subscriptions to publications that you might need access to for research.
  • Software and tools for writing, editing, and project management.
  • Marketing and advertising costs to promote your services.
  • Professional development courses and certifications.
  • Office supplies and equipment upgrades.
  • Travel expenses for client meetings or conferences.
  • Website maintenance and hosting fees.
  • Membership fees for professional organizations.

The costs add up. 

Business Liability Insurance is a Cost of Doing Business

Ultimately, it is up to you how much you put into your business. But the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. And your clients will appreciate it. They will be more likely to give their business to copywriters and freelance bloggers who have taken the time to build processes and parameters to get the job done well. 

I’ll be straight with you. I know several copywriters who have elected not to get business insurance. But for me, it’s not an optional program, and it’s not because of the threat of litigation. It’s because I want to know that everything I have put into building this business will be protected in the future. I have worked so hard to get to this point. It’s a priority for me to protect my time, my effort, the quality of my work, and my pride. 

I hope you will do the same for your business.

Are you needing a high-quality, highly reliable, and transparent content writer for your business? If so, contact me at Copywriting For You today. 

Want to learn more about me and how I reinvented myself and got into the content writing business? Order a copy of my book, Perseverance. Reinvention. Order it here on Amazon or by following the prompt below.

Schreiber, Ann

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