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The Importance of Insuring Your Photography Equipment

October 27, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Being the cautious type naturally, I've always been one to get all the insurance products I need.  When I started to really upgrade my camera gear several years ago, I wanted to be sure my insurance policy covered it.  Now, the insurance company I use for my home is likely not the same one you have.  So it's important to talk to your agent to fully understand how exactly your gear is covered and for how much.

I learned a couple of days ago just how important it is to insure your gear.  I lost everything in a freak accident.  I was picked up by a couple friends to go to a new waterfall.  As their gear was already in the back, I crammed my gear on top, shut the back hatch and off we went.  Since my friends like to drive with the windows open, we didn't realize the back door reopened until we were about a mile away.  The driver got out, closed the door and off we went.  No one thought to check to see if all the gear was still in the back.

So we got to the waterfall, which was about an hour away and got out to get our gear.  Well, mine wasn't there.  It must have fallen out!!  So we headed back to try to find it.  Shortly thereafter, the Sheriff's Department called saying someone turned in my camera bag but that it had been hit my another car since it was dark outside.  I lost a camera, three lenses, all my filters and other miscellanies items.  Total loss was nearly $10k.  But I did insure the big ticket items fortunately.  But how much of the loss would really be covered?

For me, under my normal homeowner's policy, my gear would be covered at home or away from home.  However, it would be subject to a deductible, depreciation and you'd likely only be covered for the replacement value.  So if you have an expensive camera, after these deductions, you may still need to come up with some big money to replace it.

To avoid this and get the full value without any deductible and depreciation, you have to "schedule" each item you want to be insured.  You provide the make and model and value you're insuring it for to your insurance company.  These items would raise you premium.  So for about $9000 worth of coverage I pay around $200 per year.  I still have several items not covered such as all my filters, camera bag, etc.

So for my loss, I still am working through the claim.  I have to provide photos of the damaged items, provide a full list of them including a description, serial number, where and when I purchased it and the purchase price, and finally copies of the invoices for all the replacement items.

For the items I had "scheduled" I should get the full value I had it insured for.  So for example, I insured my camera for $3200 but it now costs $2800.  If it is scheduled I expect to get $3200.  If it were not scheduled, I'd have to pay the deductible and depreciation off the current market price of the camera.  So I'd get much less than $3200.  I'll find out what my true replacement cost will be once my claim is fully settled.

But the thing I want to stress, get your gear insured or you could potentially face having to come up with a lot of money to replace your gear.  Everyone will need to take into consideration the cost/benefit of purchasing insurance.  But in this case, I'd likely not be able to afford to repurchase all of my damaged gear at one time.

An alternative to using your homeowner's policy is to join PSA, the Photographic Society of America.  With your membership they provide free insurance for your gear.  I have not reviewed it so I can't tell you if it is good coverage.

If you don't have your gear insured, take some time to think about it and do some investigating to help protect it in the event of loss or damage.  You won't be sorry.



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