Expecting the unexpected is a way of life for screen printers. When things go wrong, insurance can offer you some peace of mind.

Being an owner of a screen printing shop or apparel decorating company brings with it a variety of potential issues to deal with. When you’re using machinery to complete time and/or quality sensitive jobs, the unfortunate truth is sometimes things go awry. You must make decisions to protect yourself and your company, and insurance can be a part of that solution. So what kind of coverage might you want to take a look at? We’ll explore a few. As always, it’s best to consult with a professional or two before making a final decision.

  • General liability insurance. This is the type you’re probably most familiar with. This is what you’ll need if someone (other than an employee) slips on a wet spot in your shop, injures themselves and decides to sue you. General liability insurance usually covers more, including property damage, libel, slander, or copyright infringement. While product liability may be included in some of these policies, it may be treated separately (see below).
  • Commercial property insurance. This type of insurance protects you against most types of natural (tornados, wind storms, etc) or unnatural disasters. Most of these policies also cover fire, theft and vandalism. You might want also want to explore business interruption insurance. This can cover lost income when a covered property event forces your shop to temporarily close for repairs. This would help you retain staff and pay ongoing bills even when you aren’t able to generate revenue.
  • Professional liability insurance. Sometimes it seems like people will sue just because they like to sue. But what could a screen printer possible do to get sued? It’s only t-shirts! A few years back, some screen printing business owners came up with a few different scenarios:
    • What if a sequin came loose or the plastisol ink cracked, peeled off and was swallowed by a child?
    • What if one of your employees mislabeled a poly/cotton shirt as 100% cotton and the recipient was allergic to polyester?
    • What if an employee fell into a moving press and sued, saying the owner was negligent in posting appropriate warnings?

    Far-fetched? Maybe, but it serves to remind us of how crazy things can occur.

  • Workers’ compensation insurance. As the owner/employer, you’re responsible for paying for employees’ occupational injuries, regardless of the type of medical coverage you might have at work. Much of the labor involved in screen printing requires repetitive motions. Elbows, wrists and back injuries are likely. Ankles, knees and hips may degenerate from standing for long periods of time. To protect yourself and your employees, obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy. This might also include partial paid medical care.

Depending on your location, your business may be required by law to carry certain types of insurance. It’s important to familiarize yourself with any coverage requirements that might apply to your business. As mentioned earlier, seek out a professional’s help, as there are still other options available. It’s popular today to combine or bundle insurance types/policies – this can save you some money.

It’s very dangerous to think “That could never happen in my shop.”  Take a minute to consider the alternative and shop wisely.