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Liability Insurance for Jewelry Instructors

Yup. Me again. I have an opportunity to teach at a very fine arts center, but they want me to have liability insurance. I think this is a reasonable idea, and I’ll call my insurance agent Monday. But if anyone has any tips, please let me know.

Also – Seth: can you repeat how we can join at a higher level? Today’s email was a goldmine. I want to do an upgrade Jan. 1, 2017 when I start a new business year.

Hi @Me1 - Thanks for expressing interest in supporting us with an upgraded account, it means a lot to us. You simply login to your account on, and go to the membership section. When you upgrade to a higher level, the system will automatically pro-rate your membership and charge you accordingly. Any problems, you can always email "" and we will help you.

What?! I’ve never been asked to provide liability insurance by an
institution where I was teaching. I do have liability ins for when I teach
at home. But any reputable institution should have their own liability
If the institution is asking you for liability insurance that makes me
wonder of they have any of their own. I would be asking them if they are
covered in case you are hurt on their premises and using their equipment
and machinery.
-Jo Haemer

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How do you operate when you do shows? Do you have liability insurance on a per show basis?

Insurance regulations vary between states, but based on where I live, this is what I would consider:

The institution’s contract with you should specify exactly what is required. Ask for a copy of their contract to review in advance. You could truly say your insurance company wants to see it.

You’ll probably have to estimate your exposure ($ earned), and pay for the insurance upfront, based on your estimate. The end of the year audit on your policy will determine the exact amount you owe, but your insurance company may have a minimum payment amount. Be sure to ask your agent about that.

In terms of insurance, there is probably a difference between an ongoing stream of teaching income as opposed to a one-time teaching opportunity. Your insurance company might want to cover one and not the other.

Assuming you would like to call it an ongoing stream of income whenever you get a teaching opportunity, it would be no problem if every teaching venue required insurance, but are you going to want to pay your insurance company for exposure when insurance is not required for a job? Maybe the cost of insurance is cheap enough that it doesn’t matter.

With the ongoing stream of teaching income, your insurance company will try to pick up all the income they can find to determine how much you owe them. Although you can fight them and win, the stress of dealing with them might be more grief than you want. Legally, they can review your income tax return to determine how much you owe them.

Good Luck.

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Here’s what I used with my students over the years. Some schools cover the instructors as well as the school, but many actually don’t carry liability insurance that covers instructors, too. So I used a Liability Waiver that an art school I taught at used and added a few details of my own. Their lawyer said it might hold up in a lawsuit (N.B. “might”). But it did seem to cover all eventualities. I made every student sign the Waiver and I have held onto every single one of the signed waivers. Here it is:
Workshop Title: Date:
(Insert Name of instructor) specifically disclaims any responsibility or liability for damages or injuries as a result of instruction, construction, design, use, manufacture, or any other activity undertaken as a result of the use or application of information given or contained in any and all classes or workshops or in printed materials offered in any and all classes or workshops taught by(insert name of Instructor.

_________________________________(Name of Student) waives any claims as a result of any injury or damage as a result of instruction, construction, design, use, manufacture, or any other activity undertaken as a result of the use or application of information given or contained in any and all classes or workshops or in printed materials offered in any and all classes or workshops taught by Linda Kaye-Moses.

_________________________________(Name of Student) agrees to the above statements and accepts responsibility for the consequences of all activities taken as a result of instruction, construction, design, use, manufacture, or any other activity undertaken as a result of the use or application of information given or contained in any and all classes or workshops or in printed materials offered in any and all classes or workshops taught by (Insert Name of Instructor).

Signature of Student Date

________________________________________________________(Printed Name of Student)

Any art fair, educational entity, corporate for profit or not, which maintains you to be outside their liability umbrella and insists you bear the insurance load is to be avoided. The waivers you would have students sign would be regarded by most judges as nonbinding, insofar as they were giving up rights which cannot be abrogated. Sort of like tovarich trumpski getting Slavic bride N+1 to sign a prenup - one cannot voluntarily divest oneself of inherent rights. Why would one sign on with an outfit implicitly laying the ground rules as adversarial?

Sorry to say I totally agree. It’s a shame but if they don’t cover you in their institution, move on.

Don’t move on…RUN !!! If I had a school who wanted me to supply liability insurance, I’d investigate and be so very cautious of them and their own liability. What kind of school are they?..GOOD GRIEF!!!

Our high medical costs and litigiousness is forcing all of these new requirements. A single taxi cab must now have over one million dollars in coverage where I live.

All we know about this institution is that it is a “very fine arts center”. Even if you think you have have taught in a similar place, there is no way you can compare insurance experiences or policies.

If this institution has valuable art on display, and education is not their primary source of income, then obviously their general liability insurance would be different than for a school.

If this arts center is primarily a school, then is it part of the public school system? Here again, the general liability insurance would be different than if it was a private institution.

Regardless of whether it is a school or a gallery, whatever the institution’s insurance company says, is what the institution must do, or else they will need to find another insurance carrier.

Why blame the institution for the rules given them by their insurance company, just because you never before encountered the situation where you were asked for a certificate of insurance? For most businesses in this country, it is a cost of doing business.

Maybe their insurance is so costly, they cannot afford to pay for the insurance of their “independent contractors”. Furthermore, an independent contractor might pay much less than the institution would pay for the same insurance coverage.

An example would be if the institution charges you for their cost of the extra insurance they must buy for you to be covered on their premises, and if you can buy it cheaper than them, then you earn more money if you buy your own insurance than to buy it through them.

For those of you who have never provided your own insurance, I suspect the overhead cost of insuring you while on their premises was accounted for in the amount they offered you for compensation. Yes, I’m saying you paid for your insurance and you didn’t know it, because it was in their overhead and you do not control what they can afford to offer you.

You can see why someone with a stream of teaching income might find it convenient to be able to provide their own certificate of insurance whenever they get a teaching job, instead of trying to obtain insurance whenever they get a job requiring coverage.

The high cost of insurance has put many institutions out of business because you cannot operate without it.

There is no other industry that operates on such a huge discriminatory basis as the insurance industry. Their underwriting process makes the FBI’s profiling techniques look like a child’s game. For a general example, they know the percentage of people in a city who are negligent, who will sue them and the percentage that will commit insurance fraud …and this is only a drop in the bucket of information on which they base decisions about the policy they are writing for you.

No one is equal in terms of insurance. You are judged on things that have nothing to do with you or your work. And it all changes when you move to another place, even within the same state. The more you know about it the more insane it appears.

That’s why some folks can easily and affordably obtain insurance and other folks cannot. The profiles around you determine everything about the cost and availability of your insurance.

I once worked on a very large public art project. It was 36 feet tall and weighed several tons. We had to move it down the Willamette river by barge from where we assembled it to it’s final perch down town. A major tactical task. We had the barge, the permits, had arranged for traffic lights to be raised, had two giant cranes, a huge flat bed truck, and a cop for traffic control. At the last hour we nearly got stopped. Insurance. Sigh. We got lucky. On the Saturday night before the Sunday morning installation a benevolent patron of the arts stepped up and bought the insurance. Thus my theory is that the ultimate answer to all of the questions in the universe is “Lawyers and Insurance companies.”
-Jo Haemer

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Thank you to everyone who replied. They have agreed to remove the clause from my contract. I am teaching a pearl carving class for the Florida Society of Goldsmiths, and believe they are a very good institution. If you have had experience with them, please let me know what it was like.