Insurance for your camera equipment – I can barely think of a less exciting topic, to be honest. In fact, I highly recommend you skip this post, because it’s going to be hideously boring. Before you to, though, I’d like for you to think about one little thing:
“If your camera vanishes today, can you afford to buy a new one?”
If the answer’s yes, great, go look at amazing photography to spark your inspiration. If not, read on…
You’ve probably insured your house, the contents of your house, your health (if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a country where they don’t take care of you properly, that is), your car, and your pets.
Why do we insure all these things? It’s simple – because if you don’t, the life you’ve spent so much time and money building up is only one minor disaster away from slipping away from you. Yeah, that is probably the most emo thing I’ve ever written on my blog. So sue me (I’ve got indemnity insurance!).
I know for a fact that people reading this blog do all sorts of different things with their camera equipment. Some of you work as professional photographers, some of you don’t know which way is up on a camera – but most of you do own cameras which you use a lot.
Insurance as part of your home policy
Truth is, though, that photography is one of those hobbies where you, by its very nature, take your equipment out on the road with you: there’s only so much you can do in your living room or kitchen, after all. If your camera stuff is at home, it’s probably covered by your home insurance (but not always…) – but what happens when you venture into the world to capture slices of time on your film or imaging chips?
Insurance is really only about one thing: peace of mind. It is the type of product you buy and hope you never have to use because, well, it means something bad has happened. When it comes to photography insurance, there are a few ways you can go about insuring your equipment. Some provide more protection than others but you need to decide what will work best for you.
When considering your options the first determining factor is the way you use your camera. If you are a professional user and are getting paid for your services then you need to consider a commercial policy. If photography is your hobby then a homeowners or rental policy may be enough but there are some limitations there. When you add photography equipment to a homeowners / contents insurance policy it will typically cover if the equipment is stolen or there is a fire in your home. Coverage outside of the home may or may not be included so you need to check your policy to be sure of the coverage you have. Also if you drop your camera or damage it yourself then this type of policy may not be all that useful.
For a higher level of peace you can add a ‘floater’ (an especially insured item as part of the main policy) to your homeowners / content insurance policy. Floaters range in price but are relatively inexpensive and will generally protect your equipment against all types of calamities, both fire and theft – and sometimes even accidental damage you may cause to the camera.
Dedicated camera insurance
If you are not a homeowner or don’t have renter’s / content insurance, then another option can be to get personal camera insurance. This type of insurance for your camera is like every other insurance policy offering a varying amount of coverage limits, deductibles and premiums.
There’s a lot of disagreement among photographers whether this type of insurance is worth it – Insurance especially for your camera equipment is usually quite expensive, and often assumes that you are a professional photographer – or at least that you are making money with your photographic equipment.
Some argue that it is not worth it, yet other photographers will say it is highly necessary. What side of the argument you fall on really depends on you and the value of the equipment you have, how often you replace your equipment anyway, and how high-risk your photographic behaviour is: If you do a lot of street photography in the evening, you’re at high risk; if your camera rarely leaves your studio, then perhaps you’re less likely to get mugged (but nothing stops you from being butter-fingered, of course)
If you decide to go this route then your goal should be to choose the limits that fit your specific needs. Also make sure you identify all of the types of things the policy covers, especially things like liquid or water damage. Ask about what other things you need to be insured. For example if you do any type of underwater photography, it may invalidate your insurance, or you may have to pay a higher premium for your insurance to apply. Again knowing your needs and how you plan to use your camera will go a long way in to determining if this is the right option for you.
Camera policies are not entirely dissimilar to car policies; At first, it’ll be very expensive, but the cover drops in price after a few renewals, as you get a no-claims bonus – some companies offer up to a 80% bonus built up over 5 years, but of course building up a bonus can take quite a long time, and if you think you’re at very low risk of anything happening to your camera, then perhaps you don’t need a policy in the first place.
When looking for companies to purchase from like most people you can search online and find a variety of options. If you belong to any photography organizations, clubs or groups you can always see if they provide any type of group discounts that you may be able to capitalise on – also check the back of photography magazines, there’s always some good offers in there!
Here’s to sincerely hoping that whether or not you have your camera covered, that you never end up in a situation where you have to use – or wish you had – your insurance cover.
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