|Is your camera gear insured?|
I woke up to sad news this morning, that two of my friends were robbed in London in the basement of a church behind two locked doors. All of all their camera gear was stolen. Dennis Fahringer was the photography instructor for Youth With A Mission and his student Xiao Dong Yu from China had his gear and Chinese documents stolen. Keep them in your prayers and if you can help reach out to them.
This email prompted me to write today's blog.
There are many ways to insure your cameras and I want to give you three basic categories that I understand exist. My recommendation is to know your situation and if you are adequately covered.
If you do not make any money through the use of your equipment, a standard homeowners or renters policy should cover against theft and fire, even when your equipment is outside your home. This typically covers what most people would typically own and not maybe all the gear a hobbyist might own.
If you accidentally damage your gear, most homeowners policies will not cover this.
As long as you are not using your gear for commercial purposes the homeowners basic policy can then be expanded through a floater. Here you buy an "all risk" policy that will cover the gear for anything except those things they would exclude which often are things like "acts of war." So if you are out boating and the gear falls in the water you would be covered.
For the Pro
If you are making money with your camera the homeowners policy will not work. You will need a commercial inland marine policy. This is better than the "all risk" policy in that it will remove the exclusion of professional and usually have even more tailored riders such as covering you if someone trips over your tripod.
Because this is a commercial insurance policy you can expect to pay more. Tyically $1.75 to $2.75 per $100 worth of gear with a deductible of $250 to $1,000 per claim.
Additional coverage available on a commercial policy includes general liability, commercial property, workers compensation, commercial automobile coverage and umbrella liability to name a few.
Insurance: A reason to join a professional organization
One of the best reasons to join a professional organization is for its benefits like special healthcare and camera insurance. One of the best reasons to use their insurance companies is they understand what you need based on working with the organization.
A few years ago I was reading on a photography forum how people were getting great deals through their State Farm Insurance representative. I was with State Farm for my house and cars at the time, so I called them.
I explained that I do not have a studio and do location work all over the country and occasionally overseas travel. The quote I got was for about 1/3 what I had been paying. I jumped on that and had the policy for more than two years.
On that same photography forum I later was reading that someone had a problem with State Farm's policy and found out they do not cover what was typical for what I was doing. I copied and pasted the forum post and asked my agent do you cover me or is this correct?
They investigated and came back and said I was covered through the end of the policy, but the forum post was correct and they would not renew my policy.
My suggestion is to find an organization like NPPA, ASMP, PPofA or another professional photographer's group and call the vendors that they have deals with. I called all the insurance companies and after calling around finally settled with the ASMP's vendor Tom C. Pickard and company or TCP (http://www.tcpinsurance.com/).
Do you know if you are covered if your gear was stolen? If you dropped your gear are you covered? If you are traveling overseas does this exclude your coverage?
You need to know the answers to these questions. Call your insurance representative and find out today, before it is too late.