The protection every tattoo artist needs


The United States in 2022 is simply a land of litigation. There always seems to be a lawyer ready to take legal action, no matter how spurious the claims, the results of which can be career-destroying for the small business owner. And while the tattoo industry was on the fringes of society and probably protected from such legal action decades ago, today it is borderline irresponsible for an artist to do business without being protected by liability insurance. One of the problems artists face looking to protect themselves is that most insurance agents have little or no understanding of how the tattoo industry works, let alone the protection artists need to protect themselves from lawsuits. Founded by people who understand the industry inside and out, InkShopGuard provides coverage to Tattoo shops and boutiques across the country. We spoke with Nate Szana, who runs the day-to-day operations of the company’s customer service, about starting the business and why insurance is absolutely necessary for tattoo artists.

Let’s start with the simplest question, what exactly does InkShopGuard do?

We provide liability and property insurance for the tattoo industry. We work with a few insurance companies that help us provide coverage for artists, stores and everything in them.

How was InkShopGuard created?

It all started as an exciting project for Shawn Woedl, our CEO. There are few options for adequate insurance in the tattoo industry and we want to help change that by offering a program tailored to the tattoo industry based on our experiences. Shawn and I both struggled to come into the insurance industry covered in tattoos. So when Shawn asked me to come and help launch this program, it seemed like the perfect fit.

Why should tattoo artists turn to personal liability insurance?

Simply put, it protects you and your business. Even if you are not a store owner and work as an artist in a store, you still have the same legal obligations and liability risks as larger stores and businesses. You can be sued for just about anything: injuries sustained by a client, infections, or someone who decides they don’t like your job. General liability insurance provides defense and helps cover legal fees and damages resulting from a lawsuit. These are just a few of the reasons we encourage tattoo artists to ensure they are properly covered. If you are a business owner or independent contractor of any kind, you should have general liability insurance.

Nate Szana

What exactly is covered by InkShopGuard insurance?

Our policies can cover slips and falls, accidental customer injury, property damage to a customer’s property, publicity injury, which can cover things like slander or defamation. There is cover for professional services, which can cover things like consulting clients and advising them on the tattoo itself, its size or location. We can provide cover for communicable diseases and infections. Although rare, they do happen and you can still be sued although most of the time they end up being because the customer didn’t follow up properly.

How has the stigma of tattoo artists made it difficult to get insurance?

Many insurance companies view the industry as much riskier than it is. So, fewer carriers provide coverage, or they don’t provide the appropriate coverage. Your average insurance agent knows nothing about the risks associated with your business, which makes the process more difficult and complicated.

By nature, tattoo artists tend to be wary of structure, so how do you get them to understand that assertiveness is something they should care about?

Suspicious or not, this does not prevent you from being sued by one of your clients or anyone else. Even if you can fight the lawsuit successfully, it will be expensive, tens of thousands of dollars or more. Why pay out of pocket and drain your savings when you can pay a small fee to take care of it? Each artist runs their own business; Owning a business involves risk. Insurance is an easy way to mitigate this risk.

Have you seen cases of artists being sued for bad artwork? Is this something that insurance can help with?

I personally haven’t seen any complaints that someone is being sued for lousy artwork. Usually it’s because someone had an allergic reaction, infection, scarring, keloid or something like that. However, in most cases, there would be coverage if someone sued you because they didn’t like your finished work or didn’t meet their expectations. Even if nothing came of it, we would still have a duty to defend you against the lawsuit.

Where do you see InkShopGuard going in the future?

I want our program to continue to grow. I hope InkshopGuard will ultimately be synonymous with insuring all fantastic artists and stores. We will adapt and change to the insurance needs of the tattoo industry.

Learn about InkShopGuard and the services they offer by clicking here.


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