Camera Insurance: Insure Piece of Mind [Part 1] - Digital Photography School
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Camera Insurance: Insure Piece of Mind [Part 1]

Insurance; yes it sounds dull but as photography can be one of the more expensive hobbies and professions, it’s a no brainer that we ‘should’ insure equipment against all eventualities. Yet so little of us bother. That is why in this two part blog we will explore; why you need insurance, what to look for when choosing an insurance company, how you can reduce the cost of your premiums and ten top tips with some suggested pointers of where to find photography dedicated insurers.

To insure or not to insure? That is the Question.

Just like every other insurance system; insurance for photographers is there to protect you and your equipment. The case for having insurance is simple: can you afford to replace your camera and accessories should an accident happen?

And that’s not all. In this day and age it’s not just your equipment that’s at stake. For example professionals are at risk when dissatisfied clients make potentially finance-crippling and reputation-damaging claims. Indemnity insurance is intended to protect your businesses from claims of negligence, breach of duty of care, infringement of intellectual property, loss of data and client dishonesty.  Insurance firms can provide cover for mobile or studio based photographers, and can also protect the photographer’s financial interests if they are in dispute with a client over work they have done, or where there is an allegation the photographer has failed to uphold their duty of care or been negligent. What is more in an age of the ‘blame claim’, photographers are at risk of being sued as should their tripod or other equipment accidently cause someone to trip over and injure themselves – public liability insurance is there to protect you if a claim is made and you may even want to cover yourself in case an accident happens to you whilst photographing.

Shopping advice

There are four main steps a photographer should follow when choosing an insurance policy.

Level up

Decide what level of insurance you want: amateur, semi-pro, professional. It’s worth noting that if you are an amateur photographer who isn’t making money from photography, you may be able to cover your equipment using an existing home’s content insurance policy. Check with your policy holder to be sure.

Calculation stations

Calculate the total cost of the equipment you want to be replaced. Also consider whether you want to insure the gear for its replacement value or on a new-for-old basis. Although it’s tempting to try and get yourself a good deal, it always pays to be completely honest in your proposal and don’t leave anything out in the hope that your premiums will be lower as this could mean you lose out in the long run.

Let the research begin

This is where the internet becomes your new best friend; search engines and even comparison sites will churn up endless lists of dedicated brokers and may even compare prices offering you the ‘best deal’. When you have a handful of desirable quotes matching the specifics you have outlined in steps 1 and 2, check that all your demands are met and isolate any elements of cover that are not necessary, for example most amateurs won’t need indemnity insurance so don’t be afraid to ask for amendments to be made to reduce the cost. Furthermore amateur photographers may not want to take out worldwide cover, as it could be cheaper just to opt for simple travel insurance as and when holidays arise. Alternatively professional photographers working abroad may find it cheaper and easier to hire insured gear on location and remove the expense and hassle of insuring and transporting their own kit, again this mean worldwide cover can be removed from your policy.

Check the small print

As with most insurance policies, photographers may need to agree to paying an excess to lower the policy price and it is an important consideration to make. The main thing to decide is – is the excess amount reasonable in relation to what the insurance company will be paying out? Also identify in the small print what the claims process is and how long you could be waiting for the payout. If for example you are running a business your concerns over replacing kit as quickly as possible will be paramount.

Read part 2 of this blog for ten top insurance tips and a list of photography-dedicated insurance brokers. Read part 3 to discover information on reducing the likelihood of making a claim. Subscribe to dPS to get these updates in the coming days.

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Natalie Denton (nee Johnson) Natalie Denton (nee Johnson) is the former editor of Digital Photographer magazine, and is now a freelance journalist and photographer who has written for dozens of photography and technology magazines and websites over the last decade. Recent author and tutor too.

  • Yan

    Peace of mind ?

  • http://www.jessica-colon.com Jessica

    I’m actually in the market for insurance right now and have received two quotes that seem reasonable from agencies recommended by two different pro photogs. I’m still reading and researching so it would be great if dps could make actual recommendations based on experience or user recommendations. Personal experiences are always welcomed.

  • ScottC

    I have my camera and lenses insured at cost (about $3,500) against loss, theft, and damage. I think it costs about $12 USD per year, more than well worth it. I use an insurance company with limited membership, but I’m sure other insurance companies have worthwhile rates as well. If you can afford the gear, it’s worth the insurance.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/

  • Major Bokeh

    All my gear is insured to the tune of about $15K USD.

    It “ENSURES” “PEACE” of mind. (You might want to correct that headline Natalie)

  • http://www.chrisnewhall.com/ Chris

    Anybody have any recommendations and the reasons you chose them?

  • http://www.finnesse.jalbum.net aron finn

    It’s worth it….when you have thousands of dollars invested in gear, what’s 20.00 per year to insure it. My agent told me….if you threw it at a wall, you’re insured!! OK, I was sold right there!

  • sumit

    This indeed is helpful. Even though I have insurance for against damage on my camera, it doesn’t extend to the lenses I bought later, and that at times worries me when travelling. Any recommendations for UK would be great.

  • Pavan

    thanks for an interesting and educating post. never actually thought about it until i actually read this post, but now i’m inclined to take one, i’ll take it on ur lines of advice… thanks

  • PRISCILA M.

    I’ve been using Squaretrade. I just upgraded my camera equipment and am happy that Squaretrade also covers lens. @ Sumit. Squaretrade, just added service to UK users. Hope this helps.

  • http://www.rabiabonour.com/ Rabi

    I definitely appreciated having my gear insured last summer when my camera took the fast lane from my bag to the ground…

  • Laura

    Can you please spellczech your title? I may be wrong in assuming that your not going for some double- entendre, here. As I read your column, I kept finding myself half expecting you to spell “insure” like “ensure”.

  • http://www.saturnestudios.com Adam Deierling

    Being a wedding videographer i agree completely that you definitely need insurance. If anyone out there needs a good agent, I highly recommend http://www.FilmEmporium.com. They work with photographers and videographers all the time and really understand our needs! Best of luck!

Some older comments

  • Adam Deierling

    August 27, 2011 03:51 am

    Being a wedding videographer i agree completely that you definitely need insurance. If anyone out there needs a good agent, I highly recommend www.FilmEmporium.com. They work with photographers and videographers all the time and really understand our needs! Best of luck!

  • Laura

    June 20, 2011 02:54 pm

    Can you please spellczech your title? I may be wrong in assuming that your not going for some double- entendre, here. As I read your column, I kept finding myself half expecting you to spell "insure" like "ensure".

  • Rabi

    March 7, 2011 03:51 am

    I definitely appreciated having my gear insured last summer when my camera took the fast lane from my bag to the ground...

  • PRISCILA M.

    March 6, 2011 04:20 pm

    I've been using Squaretrade. I just upgraded my camera equipment and am happy that Squaretrade also covers lens. @ Sumit. Squaretrade, just added service to UK users. Hope this helps.

  • Pavan

    March 4, 2011 11:26 pm

    thanks for an interesting and educating post. never actually thought about it until i actually read this post, but now i'm inclined to take one, i'll take it on ur lines of advice... thanks

  • sumit

    March 4, 2011 09:15 pm

    This indeed is helpful. Even though I have insurance for against damage on my camera, it doesn't extend to the lenses I bought later, and that at times worries me when travelling. Any recommendations for UK would be great.

  • aron finn

    March 4, 2011 12:44 pm

    It's worth it....when you have thousands of dollars invested in gear, what's 20.00 per year to insure it. My agent told me....if you threw it at a wall, you're insured!! OK, I was sold right there!

  • Chris

    March 4, 2011 07:22 am

    Anybody have any recommendations and the reasons you chose them?

  • Major Bokeh

    March 4, 2011 04:48 am

    All my gear is insured to the tune of about $15K USD.

    It "ENSURES" "PEACE" of mind. (You might want to correct that headline Natalie)

  • ScottC

    March 4, 2011 04:00 am

    I have my camera and lenses insured at cost (about $3,500) against loss, theft, and damage. I think it costs about $12 USD per year, more than well worth it. I use an insurance company with limited membership, but I'm sure other insurance companies have worthwhile rates as well. If you can afford the gear, it's worth the insurance.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/

  • Jessica

    March 4, 2011 03:27 am

    I'm actually in the market for insurance right now and have received two quotes that seem reasonable from agencies recommended by two different pro photogs. I'm still reading and researching so it would be great if dps could make actual recommendations based on experience or user recommendations. Personal experiences are always welcomed.

  • Yan

    March 4, 2011 01:48 am

    Peace of mind ?

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