Dear Heather,

I’ve got a confession. I’ve been running a henna business for a while now, but I still don’t have insurance for my business. Am I terrible? Should I get it? This one event says I have to have it or else I can’t participate… I realize that it is the legit thing to do, and you tell people that they should have it as a basic part of setting up their henna business, but how badly do I *really* need it? I hate wasting money, and I really can’t imagine ever needing to file a claim…

Kinda Mostly Very Conscientious, I Promise

Dear Kinda,

Okay, so, we’re on the same page that you really, officially, by the book, should have the insurance. But what are some of the things that would push you to go for it, and what are the factors that might keep you over on the less-legit side of this conundrum?

First off, how much do you want to do this event? Is the cost of the insurance for the whole year greater than or less than what you will make at this event? If you can justify your “wasteful” purchase of insurance by demonstrating to yourself that it will have already paid for itself by the first time you use it, that could help make your decision very easy.

I would name-drop my insurance company here, but they aren’t paying me a sponsorship fee so…oh fine, I will tell you anyway. I use The cost of a performer policy is very reasonable, and they send you additional certificates to anyone else who requires that you list them as “additional insured” on your policy for their event at no extra cost. For me, the event that I wanted to do that required insurance was going to pay more than twice the cost of the policy for the entire year, so the choice was easy for me at the time.

You may wonder why you actually need this insurance. Honestly, it will not come up all that often that you need to file a claim – knock on wood. Theoretically, if someone tripped and fell in your henna booth and sued you over it, this would help. What are the chances of that happening? Well, in (I’m guessing) fifteen years (KNOCK ON WOOD), I have never had to actually file a claim on my policy. But it has been nice to have the peace of mind to know that it would be there for me in case I ever needed it, since the cost of the policy is SO minimal compared to the liability it covers.

But the real reason, honestly, that you might want this insurance really is just about what sorts of events you want to be able to do. Even if you honestly could take or leave this one event that is demanding that you have it, might there be others in the future that would also require you to have it, that you might care about doing more? The answer to that is almost certainly a yes, in time. Large fairs, publicly-funded events, and colleges are all lucrative and wonderful venues for henna that do indeed usually require you to have insurance. You might be inclined to procrastinate a little longer, until an opportunity you want is actually requiring that you have the insurance. I get that… but there are a few other things to consider that just may sway you to bite the bullet and go for it now.

One of those things is that having insurance really sets you apart from the crowd, and shows that you are a serious professional. When that Extra Great Gig does come a-calling, won’t you be happy to proclaim that yes, of course you have insurance, when they inquire? What if the next artist on their list, who they give a call because you don’t have insurance yet, does have it…and then they get the gig instead of you? I mean, don’t buy insurance based on fears of what-ifs…but… eventually, if you don’t get the insurance, it will almost certainly happen. Mostly, if you already have insurance, you won’t have to scramble to get some when the need for it becomes very time-sensitive. And that means you can say yes to the great gig, or sign up for that big festival, right away.

The last reason I’ll give you is this: “I can’t do “black henna” because my insurance won’t allow it,” is a true statement. You can’t do things that would knowingly cause harm. Therefore your insurance won’t cover you doing PPD-laced “black henna”. And sometimes being able to give that response to people who are inquiring about – nay, begging for – “black henna” is the time you will feel your money has best been spent on this insurance policy. It is a totally legit answer, and it just got you out of a long and involved conversation where you try to explain why you are professionally and ethically opposed to providing the service that a client so desperately wanted. You don’t have to give all the reasons. “My insurance won’t cover me doing that,” is simple, easy, and worth every penny that you paid for said insurance.

So, my dear friend and fellow henna artist Kinda, I hope that this letter helps you find the justification you needed to make the decision we both know you wanted to make anyway. Get the insurance. It’s really quite cheap. Your henna business is lucrative. You want it to be as legit as possible, heck, even just so you can say it is as legit as possible, because that makes you proud and happy and feeling like the true professional you are. You could procrastinate longer and *probably* nothing bad would happen, but the fact that you’re even asking me this lets me know that you secretly or not so secretly know that you should do it.


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