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Must-have tattoo insurance policies for every artist and shop owner


In the tattoo business, every ink application involves risks like allergic reactions or unhappy clients who might sue. Having the right insurance is crucial because it protects you from these risks, which could otherwise lead to expensive lawsuits and threaten your business. Getting the right insurance lets you focus on your art without worrying about potential problems, ensuring your shop stays safe and successful.

Now, let's explore the essential insurance policies every tattoo artist and shop owner should consider to safeguard their practice and peace of mind.

What is tattoo business insurance?

Tattoo business insurance is a specialised type designed to protect tattoo artists and their studios from various risks associated with their business. This insurance typically covers liability for injuries that could occur to clients during tattooing and property damage to the studio's equipment and premises. It may also include professional liability coverage, which protects against malpractice or negligence claims in the artist's work.

This insurance is crucial for tattoo business owners as it helps manage financial risks, ensuring they can continue operating even when unexpected incidents occur.


tattoo ink colours


Common types of insurance for a tattoo business

Tattoo businesses face numerous risks, necessitating several types of insurance to protect the business, its employees, and its clients. These are the common types of insurance recommended for a tattoo shop:

General Liability Insurance:

This is essential as it protects you against claims of bodily injury or property damage caused to others by your business activities. For instance, if a customer slips and falls in your shop, this insurance can help cover the medical costs and legal fees.

Business Interruption Insurance:

If an unforeseen event forces your business to close temporarily, this insurance can help cover lost income and fixed expenses like rent and utility bills, helping you stay afloat financially during the closure.

Commercial Property Insurance:

This protects the physical assets of your business, such as your shop space, equipment, and supplies against damage from fires, storms, theft, and other covered disasters.

Business Owners Policy (BOP):

Often a cost-effective choice for small to medium-sized businesses, a BOP bundles general liability and property insurance and may also include business interruption insurance, giving you broad coverage in a single package.

Body Piercer Liability Insurance:

Similar to general liability insurance, this specifically covers the risks associated with body piercing services, such as infections or injuries caused to clients.

Professional Liability Insurance:

Also known as errors and omissions insurance, this covers you against claims of negligence or harm resulting from mistakes in the professional services you provide. If a tattoo or piercing goes wrong, this insurance can cover legal defense costs and settlements.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance:

This provides additional coverage limits above and beyond your other liability policies. If a claim exceeds the limits of your other policies, an umbrella policy can help cover the difference.

Tattoo Artist Liability Insurance:

This is specifically designed to cover individual tattoo artists against claims of negligence and can often be tailored to include coverage for guest artists working temporarily at your shop.

Commercial Auto Insurance:

If your business owns vehicles used for transporting equipment or employees, this insurance covers liabilities related to operating those vehicles.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance:

For tattoo shop owners, this is mandatory in most states if you have employees. It covers medical costs and a portion of lost wages for employees who get injured on the job.

How to choose the right coverage for different risks


an artist with hand tattoo while holding a pencil


Choosing the right insurance coverage for your business involves assessing various risks and ensuring you have appropriate protection for each.

Here’s how you can approach selecting the right coverage for different risks in your business:

  1. Understand your risks: Begin by identifying the specific risks associated with your business operations. For a tattoo business, common risks include customer injuries, professional errors (like a badly done tattoo), property damage (to your shop or equipment), and legal liabilities (from employment practices or driving business vehicles).
  2. Evaluate business assets: Assess the value of your physical and intangible assets. This includes your shop space, equipment, supplies, and also your business reputation and operational capability. Understanding what you need to protect can guide you in choosing the right type and amount of insurance.
  3. Consider legal requirements: Some types of insurance might be legally required in your area, such as workers’ compensation insurance for employees or commercial auto insurance if you own vehicles used for business purposes. Make sure you comply with these legal obligations.
  4. Consult industry standards: Look at common practices within the tattoo industry. Professional bodies and trade associations often provide guidelines on recommended coverage levels and types of insurance for your industry.
  5. Compare policies: Not all insurance policies offer the same coverage. Compare terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions. It’s important to understand what each policy covers and what it doesn’t to ensure you aren’t left with unexpected gaps in coverage.
  6. Choose appropriate coverage limits: Decide on the coverage limits based on the potential size of claims you might face. For example, if you’re in a high-traffic area or work with high-value equipment, you might want higher limits for general liability and property insurance.
  7. Consider bundling policies: Sometimes, buying separate policies for each type of insurance can be more expensive and complex. A Business Owners Policy (BOP), which combines general liability, property insurance, and business interruption insurance, might offer a cost-effective and comprehensive solution.
  8. Regularly review and adjust coverage: Your business evolves, and so should your insurance. Regular reviews—at least annually or after major changes in your business (like expansion or offering new services)—are crucial to ensure your coverage remains adequate.
  9. Seek professional advice: Tattoo insurance professionals like insurance brokers or agents who specialise in business insurance can provide valuable insights and help tailor a coverage plan that meets your specific needs.

How much does insurance cost for a tattoo shop? 


an artist doing a tattoo on his client


The insurance cost for a tattoo shop can vary widely based on several factors. Generally, the price you'll pay to insure your tattoo business depends on:

  1. Coverage types and limits: Different types of insurance policies come with different premiums. For example, general liability insurance might be less expensive than professional liability insurance, and higher coverage limits will typically increase the cost.
  2. Business location: Insurance costs can vary depending on the state and city where your business is located. Areas with higher crime rates or a greater likelihood of natural disasters might see higher premiums.
  3. Size of the business: The number of employees, the volume of customers, and the size of your premises can all affect insurance costs. More employees and higher foot traffic generally increase the potential for claims, leading to higher insurance costs.
  4. Services offered: The more complex the services you offer, the higher the risk. For instance, shops that offer both tattoos and piercings may pay more for insurance than those offering tattoos alone.
  5. Claims history: If your business has had previous insurance claims, insurers may view it as a higher risk, which could lead to higher premiums.
  6. Equipment value: The more expensive your equipment, the more it will cost to insure. High-end tattoo machines and sterilisation equipment will increase the cost of property insurance.

General cost estimates:

  • General Liability Insurance: Often starts around $500 to $1,000 annually for basic coverage.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Can range from $1,000 to $2,000 annually, depending on the limits and specifics of your coverage.
  • Commercial Property Insurance: Varies significantly based on property value, but might start around $1,000 per year for small shops.
  • Business Owners Policy (BOP): Bundling general liability and property insurance can start around $1,300 per year and go up depending on additional coverages included.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Depends on how many employees you have and what state your business is in, but it can be a significant expense.

We advise getting quotes from multiple insurers to find the best coverage and rates for your specific needs. A tattoo studio insurance broker can help you navigate these options and tailor a package that fits your budget and risk management requirements.

Final thoughts

To ensure the longevity and success of any tattoo business, securing the right tattoo shop insurance policies is non-negotiable. For tattoo artists and shop owners, the right mix of insurance coverage isn’t just a safety net—it's a cornerstone of business strategy, providing a buffer against the unforeseen risks that come with the trade.

Ultimately, investing in comprehensive insurance allows tattoo professionals to operate with confidence, fostering a safe environment for creativity and client interaction, while solidifying the foundation of their business against potential setbacks.


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  • Mark Joshua Luz