Getting Insurance For Your Startup

You'll likely need multiple forms of insurance for your startup, especially if you have employees or office space.

The types of insurance needed for your reporters, photographers and staff depends on two primary things: The nature of their relationship with your reporting organization, and the state in which your organization practices journalism. Some reporting organizations hire employees, and others hire contractors. The rules for each are different, and each state has its own rules about the insurance required for such titles.

The IRS offers this guide to determine whether or not your organization has employees or contractors.

For example, in the state of Missouri, companies with five or more employees are required to purchase worker's compensation insurance, but companies that hire reporters for contract labor are not required to purchase any such insurance.

Media Liability Insurance

Media liability insurance exists to protect newsrooms from lawsuits. For large or medium-sized newsrooms, obtaining this insurance is necessary before any real reporting can begin.

Smaller newsrooms, like those formed by startups, may not need media liability insurance. The reason is simple: Anyone seeking to sue a newsroom is looking to recover monetary reward for damages caused. Those damages would, in this hypothetical, be paid out using the newsroom's own financial assets. But small newsrooms may not have significant assets, and someone suing that newsroom would likely opt not to sue once he/she realizes the ultimate payout would be insignificant at best.

Media liability insurance costs begin anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. They can provide coverage starting at about $250,000, and running into the millions.

The coverage would help protect publishers in case of lawsuits brought forth over libel, slander, defamation, intellectual property or other damages.

General Insurance Needs

Depending on the business, you may also need insurance to cover your employees, your property and your other liabilities. Your first call should be to an insurance agent to discuss what you need covered.

The Citizen Media Law Project's interactive questionnaire for assessing your media company's insurance needs is also an excellent starting place.

Health Insurance