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Insurance for copywriters explained

29/11/2019

Insurance for copywriters can help when words fail you.

Anyone can write, right?

But can everyone write right?

A cursory glance around the internet is usually enough to answer that.

Your job is about accuracy, sure. But unless all you do is edit, your clients are after more than just a well-placed hyphen.

They're after the magic at your fingertips. Your ability to convince someone to do something using no more than a few carefully chosen words.

In short, your clients want results. The kind of results that, when they don't materialise, they might use to justify a negligence claim against you. The kind of bad results insurance for copywriters is designed to help with.

Writing wrongs

The thing is, the right words in the right places really do work. They can change outcomes. And feelings. And behaviour.

But with the best quill in the world, things don't always go according to plan. Sometimes that website doesn't turn leads into sales. Sometimes the SEO falls short of page one. Sometimes someone reckons you've copied their work.

And when things get messy, whether you're actually at fault or not doesn't always matter. If your client takes to the warpath, you can soon find yourself fending off some pretty serious-sounding allegations and potentially wallet-emptying claims.

(Claims like these, for example.)

Why you need insurance for copywriters

This need to be permanently on your guard is because of something called your 'duty of care'.

You're a professional. You have a skill or provide a service that other people want, and are prepared to pay for. Your clients' money buys them a high standard of work; something over and above that of the average Josephine.

It's your legal and moral 'duty of care' to make sure they get what they've paid for. In other words, you're obliged to do a good job.

If you don't, clients have a right to claim against you. And if that happens, you're likely to hear the words 'breach of duty of care' – the basis of any negligence claim.

Worse, clients have this right to claim whether you're negligent or not.

So, you could find yourself holding an ominous letter from a solicitor and wondering what to do next, even if you haven't actually done anything wrong.

"But I haven't actually done anything wrong" you'll say. "So I can ignore this ominous letter from a solicitor. Can't I?"

Well, no, you can't. Allegations of professional negligence, regardless of validity, have to be defended. Doing nothing means a court rules against you by default.

And that's no good for your reputation or your bank balance.

How insurance for copywriters helps when words fail you

So what can you do?

Well, you can call a solicitor for advice. And to deal with the legal process. And potentially to defend you in court. Yes, that'll be nice and cheap considering what solicitors charge per hour.

Or you can try some sensible self-preservation instead by protecting yourself with insurance for copywriters. That way, if there's a claim against you, you can let your policy do all the hard work while you get on with something more interesting.

Because even spurious claims take time, money and legal expertise to fight. And it's unlikely you'll have lots of one, let alone all three. Your insurance helps by stepping in to fight your corner and paying your legal bills and any compensation due.

Copy that

Of course, the best way of avoiding a claim against you is to avoid getting into hot water in the first place. And while circumstances may mean that's not always possible, there are certain processes you can put in place to make it less likely.

You can start with these:

Project manage. Agree timescales and milestones with your client, and make sure you're both clear on what the end result looks like. Document everything, record changes and keep communicating. No one likes unexpected bad news.

Get sign off. It's an accepted legal precedent that your client takes responsibility for your work when they sign it off. That doesn't always prevent claims but it does help prove when/if mistakes were made by you.

But, be aware that copyright, plagiarism, and intellectual property theft claims almost always come back to their original creator. You, in other words. Your client might well have signed off your work but if they're sued for your copyright infringement, they'll pass the claim on to you. Your mistake is your mistake and they won't want to pay to fix it.

Use terms and conditions. Committing both parties' responsibilities to paper leaves no room for misunderstanding. And it shows you're serious about your business, too. Terms and conditions work better when they're signed, of course ...

That's probably enough to get you thinking. If you need more help, feel free to give us a call on 0345 222 5391. Or, if you feel ready to get a quick quote, click here.

Alternatively, you could write us an email. Words work too.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.

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