Where are the safest places to live and what should I consider before starting work?

aadukiMaking sure you have the right insurance cover is key if you work, or are intending to work, as a professional photographer. If you were to go to the bank to borrow money to start up, if the "I" word isn't mentioned then it is likely that any loan application would be turned down regardless of how good the rest of your presentation was - after all, the Bank wants to know it is going to get its money back!

It is also important to make sure that you don't just think about your equipment and liability insurance when you are "out on the road" - after all, you still will spend time at home.

The location of your home is one of the main factors that affects the cost of insurance and influences the premium you pay.

One of the areas to consider is to ensure that you have the right kind of protection for your home. To help reduce risk, you should always ensure:

  • 5 lever mortice deadlocks are fitted to all external doors
  • Key operated window locks are fitted to ground floor and accessible windows and are used when the property is unoccupied
  • Consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme
  • Think about security lighting or an alarm

In a recent report commissioned by Virgin Money, researchers gave a rating to the major towns and cities in England and Wales to find out the safest homes from criminal damage, flooding and burglary.

They took into account the number of Police Officers in the area and how many Neighbourhood Watch Schemes were in existence and gathered the data from a variety of sources including the Office of National Statistics, the Home Office, Association of Police Authorities and the Environment Agency.

Each area surveyed was given a total score which took into account the main risks. The lower the score the safer the area.

The Safest Areas

According to the final report, the 10 safest areas to live in England and Wales were:

  1. London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
  2. Dudley
  3. Poole
  4. Brighton & Hove
  5. London Borough of Wandsworth
  6. London Borough of Lewisham
  7. London Borough of the City of Westminster
  8. London Borough of Hackney
  9. London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  10. Southend

Although burglary risk might be higher in the London Borough's ( particularly Kensington & Chelsea where there are a lot of expensive properties ) there was a much lower risk of criminal damage and flooding!

The Riskiest Areas

According to the same report, the 10 riskiest areas in England and Wales were:

  1. Doncaster
  2. Nottingham
  3. Sheffield
  4. Middlesborough
  5. Hull
  6. Manchester
  7. Reading
  8. Rotherham
  9. Leeds
  10. Bristol

What was noticeable from this report was that Doncaster, the riskiest location, scored over twice that of the safest area. Also, 7 of the 10 riskiest locations were in parts of Yorkshire. This might be explained by the risk of severe weather and flooding that is more likely in this area.

Nottingham and Manchester were both identified as the most likely to get burgled whilst Poole was the least likely.

It is worth remembering this is one report, from one Insurance Provider, and there will be Insurers with different criteria used to assess the area.

Insurers will also look at rebuilding costs, your profession ( other than photographer if you have one) your age as well as a number of different criteria.

Insuring your home

This is just as important as your equipment. You need a base, somewhere to work from, and you may need office space as well - the spare bedroom is always good for this! Or you may have a pre-manufactured office in the garden all of which needs to be adequately covered before you venture out to do your job!

Make sure you get your home covered properly first and then you can think about your professional policy to take photographs - remembering that Public Liability is a must!

Public Liability

Many people rely on the fact they have Public Liability cover on their home so don't need it to take photographs. This is true to a certain extent if you just take the pictures for pleasure. As soon as you start to earn an income, however, there is a big difference as you could be termed "professional" and therefore need the cover that Public Liability affords. Making sure you always have this cover will assist you if a claim arises.

The important points

The critical things to consider are:

  1. If you are borrowing money from the bank make sure you have factored in the cost of insurance. You will need it and then bank will expect to see it in your figures
  2. Make sure your home is adequately covered. If it burns down and your not insured, you will have no base to operate from, no office and no internet or telephone to take enquiries from customers!
  3. Get your Public Liability insurance in place. Hopefully you will never need it, but better safe then sorry!

Having all this in place will help you on the first step to turning a hobby into a business. Make sure you plan out where you want to be in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years - it helps focus your mind on the steps you need to take and plan for the future.

Most importantly, get yourself on training courses, talk to experts and never be afraid to ask questions. Knowledge, after all, is power...

Call us on 020 3633 2280 for more advice or if you have a specific question.


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