Why do I need libel insurance?

I spoke to my agent last week about getting insurance for my newspaper. She asked me a series of questions regarding what I would be publishing, how often, etc. After she got what she needed she sent me an application/questionnaire to fill out.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Actually, I spent the next couple of hours trying to decipher the questions and answering them to the best of my ability.

So why do I even need libel insurance? I mulled it over and decided that if I was careful and checked all my facts and got all my quotes right, I wouldn’t need insurance.I would be all right without it, wouldn’t I?

A thought occured to me, and I suddenly saw myself up in front of a judge, telling him that I assumed my source was telling the truth. I saw the gavel hit the bench (do they do that anymore?) and the judge pronounced me guilty.

The worst case scenario: I would have to pay some ungodly amount of money for defamation of character out of my own pocket, and I would go bankrupt all because I didn’t have insurance to back me up.

I know for a fact there are a lot of things that can go wrong when trying to put out a paper. having to go through every single story before it gets place on the page is time consuming and mind numbing, and there might be one that slips by, which could be somewhat unflattering, or the wording might be off just enough to upset someone.

Inevitably, I will have to stand up and defend myself someday.

So yes, I do need libel insurance. It doesn’t give me the excuse to get lazy and not check facts, but at least I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing that someone has my back.