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Written by: Eva Laflamme
The Tattoo Tourist
Tattoo Shops and Tattoo Artists deal with bodies, blood, skin, sweat, occasionally tears, personalities, customer demands and stiff competition on a daily basis. In a booming industry that specializes in temporarily wounding and permanently marking a body what could possibly go wrong? Ummm a lot. So much so that Tattoo Insurance has not only been an option for over twenty years but more and more shops and artists are choosing this form of protection to cover their asses while they cover your skin.
Tattoo insurance you say? Well that is about as sexy as getting your teeth cleaned but you know what? Your dentist has insurance for her practice and why wouldn’t she? Sure tattoos are cool and you tend to feel like an outlaw bad-ass when you are getting inked – even if it is just a daisy on your ankle – but what if your experience goes from bad-ass to just…bad?
I already talked about tattoo laws and licensing and the requirements are not as comprehensive as you might think. As a consumer you want to be very careful when choosing a shop/artist so you don’t end up getting crap ink in a sub-par setting. But what about the shop owners and artists? Do they need protection too? And if so from whom?
Here are some Tattoo Insurance facts:
-Some but not all states require it.
- About 50% of shops carry it.
- New legislation is being introduced to make it mandatory for most states.
- Tattoo insurance is frequently required by a landlord if you are renting your shop space (sounds smart)
- You can insure a tattoo shop but you can also insure individual artists.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Susan E. over at tattoo-ins.com about this topic. Susan knows her stuff because she has been working in this industry for years and her company has been insuring tattoo shops and artists and other body modification specialists for over twenty years.
Yes they are advertising on my site and I think you should click their link if your curious BUT this article is not a paid promotion. I was really curious about the tattoo insurance thing and went to the source to learn more and then pass it along to you.
So what is tattoo insurance really about anyways? Mainly it is about protecting shop owners and artists from various types of lawsuits. Now this doesn’t mean that by carrying tattoo insurance you can do a shit job and keep a filthy shop staffed with wack-job scratchers and no one can sue you.
What it means is professional and responsible shop owners and artists have a layer of protection against various types of losses, lawsuits and complaints – just like your dentist, right?
Here are some worst case scenarios Susan shared with me.
Girl A goes to tattoo shop B to get a sweet dream catcher tattoo on her ribs. Three days later Girl A goes to Reggae on the River. A few weeks later finds out she has Hep C. What does she do? Does she think “oh man I did that healing mud roll and used those “rustic” toilets and then shared the communal burrito lunch made in the back of that guys van – I bet that is where I got it!”. Maybe. OR she thinks -“ooo that nasty tattoo shop gave me an infection!” Dum dum duuuuummm – Lawsuit.
Or try this one out. Guy C goes to tattoo shop D and decides to get a big flag of Denmark of his back. When Guy C gets home he eagerly unwraps his tat to show it off and that is when his friend Ansgar says, “Flaget er bagud”. (“The flag is backwards!!”). The artist screwed up but guess who is left holding the bag (besides that poor Danish Dude) – the tattoo shop. Tattoo insurance pays for covering or lasering off a mistake and that could save a shop thousands.
Last one. What letter are we on? Ok. Girl E goes to tattoo and piercing shop F. She is getting her belly buttoned pierced and the big hulking guy with the piercing gun is giving her the once over. He leans in all creepy like and says “hey sweetheart hows about you do a little favor for me and I won’t charge you for your piercing”. Insert collective ‘ewww” here. Sadly this happens. Sadly the shop that hired this dickwad will not only have to fire this tool but face a lawsuit for sexual harassment and/or abuse.
Tattoo insurance covers shops and artists from false claims and the costs of proving your innocence and it also protects you from valid claims and offsets the cost of being in the wrong and having to make it right.
If you are reading this and you own a tattoo shop take note; the independent contractors you let rent space from you are still your responsibility. If they do something pervy, unsanitary or stupid in your space YOU are on the hook.
If you are a tattoo artist reading this take note; if you are an independent contractor the shop you rent space in may not have insurance or may not have the kind of insurance that covers you personally from claims justified or otherwise.
Now I don’t work for Geico – too many lizards. And if that State Farm guy popped up while I was in the middle of a fender bender I would assume I was dead and in Hell. But tattoo insurance? Yeah. I could get behind that.
If you want actual real facts about tattoo insurance including rates please do click the link. They will give it to you straight.
And of course back in the day gloves were not used and cleanliness practices were different as these old photos illustrate. But you wouldn’t want to get an old school tattoo done in an old school manner – would you?