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Thread: Insuring your gear ...

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Insuring your gear ...

    Sorry if this is the wrong forum, and if it's been discussed before please point me in the right direction ... couldn't find anything on search.

    The reason I posted here is the typical MF shooter's insurance needs are far different than most other photographers because of the possible investment in gear. When I travel, I'm over 50k of value and if in my car I might be closer to 100k.

    This weekend a slip of the camera (hint, even though your phase one L bracket is square, make sure you mount the camera with the lens at 90 degrees to the bracket. The L brackets are not perfectly square, and the extra weight let my camera slip out while holding it on my shoulder, something I have done for 30 years without a problem.Fortunately the 75-150zoom lens hood took most of the damage, the lens itself needs some work, things just not turning correclty, but I can't find any damage to the body and the IQ180 has only 1 little tiny mark on the edge below the power button. Everything works just fine. I got sort of lucky this time)

    Anyway, the thought of getting coverage for this occurred to me, not just theft but accidental damage. Is it feasible, or is it just too expensive? I know most homeowners won't cover it unless you add a rider, and usually it's priced OK until you start getting values like we see with MFDB.
    wayne
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I pay around 1100eurs, per year here in Germany. This gives me 65k coverage when traveling. It covers everything from theft, to lost baggae over dropping stuff in the river. When I dropped my p65 two years ago, while I thought I had closed all zippers on my backpack. The cost was around 6000eurs. After I sent them the invoice I had the money 5 days later.

  3. #3
    jeffacme
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Sorry to hear about the mishap.

    I have been through several companies in the past but now am very happy with Travellers. They have a full package for photographers that is under 1K per year and covers general liability and 150k in equipment, replacement cost, in studio, on location, and in transit. Since I also do allot of locations, models etc I added a large umbrella policy over the top. Just a few hundred for 6 million in coverage.

    Travel outside North America requires a separate and very expensive policy. The least expensive I have found is roughly 10% of the gear value and has a one year term.

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I have been insured with State Farm for many years and have a personal articles policy which covers items from jewelry to cameras. The policy covers theft, accidents or loss of any kind on a complete replacement basis. $70,000.00 of coverage runs me about $750.00 per year. For me its worth every penny.

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    http://www.tcpinsurance.com/

    Give these people a try, they have provided insurance to many working pros for many years. I recommend them, I use them.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffacme View Post
    Sorry to hear about the mishap.

    I have been through several companies in the past but now am very happy with Travellers. They have a full package for photographers that is under 1K per year and covers general liability and 150k in equipment, replacement cost, in studio, on location, and in transit. Since I also do allot of locations, models etc I added a large umbrella policy over the top. Just a few hundred for 6 million in coverage.

    Travel outside North America requires a separate and very expensive policy. The least expensive I have found is roughly 10% of the gear value and has a one year term.
    Mine is with Hill and Usher but underwritten by Travelers. I think I pay about 1200 per year. Covers everything and computers too
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Giorgio View Post
    http://www.tcpinsurance.com/

    Give these people a try, they have provided insurance to many working pros for many years. I recommend them, I use them.
    Wayne, I'm with tcp too for over $100K of gear. I found too many faults in the small print of the home owners. It's worth the peace of mind.

    Kind regards,
    Derek Jecxz
    www.jecxz.com

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I agree with Derek that often there are too many faults in the small print of the home owner's policy. There is a policy that is written by Fireman’s Fund/Allianz specifically designed for APA members. This policy provides worldwide, replacement cost coverage with a deductible as loss as $250 per claim. If you are an APA member, you may purchase an annual policy for $45,000 in equipment at a premium of $408. If not a member, the annual premium is $816. I joined the APA as an affiliate member for $125 per year and qualified for the $408 annual rate. You can contact [email protected] who is one of the agents working the APA Insurance program.
    Charles

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Wayne,

    Sorry to hear about your accident. But I'm relieved to hear that everything still works.

    I insure my gear through Rand Insurance and Chubb. They have an affiliation with NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) that provides equipment insurance to NANPA members in the US. Here's a quote from their website:

    The NANPA Photographers Equipment Insurance Program protects against breakage, fire, vandalism and theft (barring mysterious disappearance). It also includes extended warranty and maintenance contracts in loss assessments, and even optional blanket protection for unscheduled items under $500 in value...

    Their rates are 0.0245 per dollar of insured value, with a minimum policy amount of $350. I've used them for several years but haven't had to file a claim. I fell on some slippery rocks in Alaska in 2005 and my D2x and 200-400mm lens protected me from breaking a hip. Dinged the hood and the camera body, but no damage requiring a claim.

    We have a State Farm personal articles policy rider on our homeowners policy to cover jewelry items but they were not as accommodating for high-end photography gear, requiring appraisals, imposing caps, not insuring all perils, etc. They also don't insure equipment that is used for ANY commercial purpose.

    I'm not reckless with my gear, but when I pack a MFD body and a few lenses in my bag, I'm carrying $50K worth of stuff. Not having insurance seemed foolish to me. By the way, the NANPA policy covers my laptop and desktop computers and Epson printer since those are primarily for photo editing.

    Hope this helps,

    Joe
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I have a State Farm Personal Articles policy for my wife's jewelry and my camera gear. It is is all-risk coverage, covers accidental damage as well as theft, and they pay up to your stated value to repair or replace the item. I only put my really expensive, most fragile camera items on it though.
    Jack
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    Super Duper
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I have a State Farm Personal Articles policy for my wife's jewelry and my camera gear. It is is all-risk coverage, covers accidental damage as well as theft, and they pay up to your stated value to repair or replace the item. I only put my really expensive, most fragile camera items on it though.
    Ditto on the camera bits...but I should add some jewelry to the policy.

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by cs750 View Post
    I agree with Derek that often there are too many faults in the small print of the home owner's policy. There is a policy that is written by Fireman’s Fund/Allianz specifically designed for APA members. This policy provides worldwide, replacement cost coverage with a deductible as loss as $250 per claim. If you are an APA member, you may purchase an annual policy for $45,000 in equipment at a premium of $408. If not a member, the annual premium is $816. I joined the APA as an affiliate member for $125 per year and qualified for the $408 annual rate. You can contact [email protected] who is one of the agents working the APA Insurance program.
    Charles
    Yes, mine too is the Fireman's Fund. Very good policy, specifically geared for photographers. I'm paying about $1200 for ~$100K (plus other stuff). I did not need to be a member though.

    I cannot stress enough about a policy's fine print; prior to Fireman's I was on Traveller's home owner rider policy for the gear and after extensive policy reading I confirmed with the broker that the policy only covered loss if it occurred on premise (that's not good for a landscape photographer)! Mind you this was a rider and may not be the case with every policy. If you sell your work they may also claim you should have had a business policy, etc...

    It truly is buyer beware with insurance; you never know an insurance company unless you've been through a claim with them.

    Kind regards,
    Derek

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    For those who are covering their camera equipment with a homeowners personal articles policy or rider (State Farm or otherwise), I'd advise reading the fine print carefully to make sure the exclusions don't come back to bite you in the rear. Homeowners policies (including State Farm) typically exclude ANY commercial use, and don't cover all perils. I've used State Farm for homeowners, auto, liability, personal articles (jewelry) all my adult life, but do not use them for camera equipment insurance. I'm just sayin'.
    _________________________________
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    For those who are covering their camera equipment with a homeowners personal articles policy or rider (State Farm or otherwise), I'd advise reading the fine print carefully to make sure the exclusions don't come back to bite you in the rear. Homeowners policies (including State Farm) typically exclude ANY commercial use, and don't cover all perils. I've used State Farm for homeowners, auto, liability, personal articles (jewelry) all my adult life, but do not use them for camera equipment insurance. I'm just sayin'.
    Exactly! Joe said it much better than I did. Thanks Joe.

    Kind regards,
    Derek

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    We can't emphasize too much the need to read and study your policy! Joe's comment about exclusions relating to commercial use coming back to bite you in the rear is very important. The fact your local agent who you may have dealt with for years says you are covered...is not good enough! Your agent's assertions do not eliminate the specific exclusions contained in the policy. Study your policy! Charles

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    A word of warning: Home owners riders must be investigated very carefully... even so called "all inclusive" policies, and even if the selling agent says it covers anything. The selling agent is NOT who determines payout, a claims adjuster does.

    IF you earn any money with your insured gear, including selling prints, any claim can be denied as being a business tool. I actually had that happen to me, I was shooting a wedding for a friend for just expenses, and dropped a V camera with back. Homeowners rider scheduled items claim denied from Chubb because of professional usage.

    Conversely, if you have a business policy and have an issue while using the gear for personal pleasure, they can deny the claim. A pro friend was on vacation in Jamaica, was robbed at gun point and lost his Nikon and lenses ... claim denied because it wasn't being used for business.

    I still suspect that if you peeled the onion on the background of these insurance companies, you'd find Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lanskey as founding fathers

    I now have Travelers/Fireman's Fund business policy for "Portrait Studio." $95,000. broad gear coverage with a $500. deductable that covers any item under $6,000. (lighting, computers, 35mm DSLR kits, specific lenses, accessories, etc.). Plus scheduled items for each over $6,000, totaling $85K (mostly H4D and S2 stuff + M9s), with no deductable; plus $2 million liability ... the premium is about $1,200 a year.

    Buyer Beware!

    -Marc

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I still suspect that if you peeled the onion on the background of these insurance companies, you'd find Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lanskey as founding fathers.

    Careful they are my cousins. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    A personal articles policy is a separate policy form a Homeowners policy, and at least State Farm has camera rates for both amateur and professional uses -- cannot speak to the others. However, it appears that other professional rates may be cheaper, so certainly worth investigating!
    Jack
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    A word of warning: Home owners riders must be investigated very carefully... even so called "all inclusive" policies, and even if the selling agent says it covers anything. The selling agent is NOT who determines payout, a claims adjuster does.

    IF you earn any money with your insured gear, including selling prints, any claim can be denied as being a business tool. I actually had that happen to me, I was shooting a wedding for a friend for just expenses, and dropped a V camera with back. Homeowners rider scheduled items claim denied from Chubb because of professional usage.

    Conversely, if you have a business policy and have an issue while using the gear for personal pleasure, they can deny the claim. A pro friend was on vacation in Jamaica, was robbed at gun point and lost his Nikon and lenses ... claim denied because it wasn't being used for business.

    I still suspect that if you peeled the onion on the background of these insurance companies, you'd find Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lanskey as founding fathers

    I now have Travelers/Fireman's Fund business policy for "Portrait Studio." $95,000. broad gear coverage with a $500. deductable that covers any item under $6,000. (lighting, computers, 35mm DSLR kits, specific lenses, accessories, etc.). Plus scheduled items for each over $6,000, totaling $85K (mostly H4D and S2 stuff + M9s), with no deductable; plus $2 million liability ... the premium is about $1,200 a year.

    Buyer Beware!


    -Marc
    excellent post - It's exactly what this thread needed

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    For those who are covering their camera equipment with a homeowners personal articles policy or rider (State Farm or otherwise), I'd advise reading the fine print carefully to make sure the exclusions don't come back to bite you in the rear. Homeowners policies (including State Farm) typically exclude ANY commercial use, and don't cover all perils. I've used State Farm for homeowners, auto, liability, personal articles (jewelry) all my adult life, but do not use them for camera equipment insurance. I'm just sayin'.
    Yes, when I was shooting commercially and not even full time but with a lot more gear than I have now my State Farm rep explained I needed a separate policy. The other important thing to do is to keep it up to date, making sure they have a hard copy of any changes.

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Thanks for all the comments. Making some calls this morning.
    wayne
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Wayne put it under Pixels Foto and frame get a commercial package
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I've been with Hill and Usher for several years. Haven't had to make a claim so can't say how they actually handle things if you do but the price was as good or better than the other agencies I checked with. The peace of mind I have when travelling or even shooting around here is worth the premium every year.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Same here Hill and Usher and made claim went smooth. Underwriter is Travelers
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  25. #25
    Porpoise
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    You all do know insurance companies are in the game for profit!?
    IMO insurance is nice if:
    1. They are mandatory by law
    2. If your risk is far above average
    3. If a loss would mean bankruptcy.

  26. #26
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Your joking right. 50k lose we are all dead in the water. For that kind of dough my wife would hit me with a bat if not insured. BTW Im in business to make a profit and damn happy to charge the most I can too.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    After I did a calculation of what it would cost me to replace my gear, I also decided to get insurance. Just makes me sleep better (or eat more peacefully when I leave hotel room). There are several offers for specialized camera insurers in Europe, but I noted it is important to read the fine print as they have very different conditions as regards what risks are covered or excluded (in particular, if gear is stolen from a car).

    Prices seem to get reasonable if you include a clause that in case of claim you pay a certain amount (250, 500, or 1,000 Euros) yourself. Since I mainly want to insure the risk of loss or theft of a major part of the equipment, that's fine with me.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Yes most plans have different deductibles that you can do. Just like car insurance. Mine is 500. For the amount of coverage I have it actually is quite inexpensive.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I just had my first real camera accident in 20 years, so I'm very glad I have commercial insurance. I mostly had the coverage for liability, though. Lots of sites that I shoot at wouldn't let me in without it, so I really had no choice. And from what I hear, most of the yearly cost (mine is about $1200, and I'm in NYC) is for the liability as well. So while I could have put away $1200 each year and covered this week's damage, I don't have a medium format back. And I'm much more comfortable having the liability damage.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    I have a 5 million liability package since it is required by two of my corporate clients. I have to have it. Also I have to prove it with a certificate. Now I work a lot in the aerospace and defense communication areas which dictates these requirements.

    So depending on your field of photography you need to adjust. Frankly no Pro should even pick up a camera without liability insurance. You would be nuts not too have it. We do get sued folks for all different reasons and the most lawsuits come from you guessed it weddings.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  31. #31
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Actually this is a great topic and glad it was brought up.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Wayne, I had the exact mishap while I was in Australia but not near as lucky as you. Fortunately I was carrying the 645df and 75-150 instead of the cambo which I use 90% of the time. On a $1500 repair I think I paid $100.

    Be very careful with homeowner or personal coverages, you want a commercial use policy if you are trying to earn money and/or writing off expenses related to your photography.

    I just factor the insurance cost into my budget/pricing.

  33. #33
    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Wayne put it under Pixels Foto and frame get a commercial package
    Actually checking this ... if I can get a personal equipment rider through Pixels. I'm starting to do some workshops through the place so I'm using my equipment while teaching. Somehow I should be able to justify it.
    wayne
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  34. #34
    Porpoise
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Your joking right. 50k lose we are all dead in the water. For that kind of dough my wife would hit me with a bat if not insured. BTW Im in business to make a profit and damn happy to charge the most I can too.
    Nope. 50k will really, really hurt. But it won't make me bankrupt. Why share your profit with the insurance companies? If you add up all the risks which would not be really disastrous, you should be able to pay those easily with what you save on yearly insurance costs.
    Of course, if you are a pro and would in no way be able to pay for new gear after a loss, that counts as a disaster.

  35. #35
    Porpoise
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    Re: Insuring your gear ...

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    After I did a calculation of what it would cost me to replace my gear, I also decided to get insurance. Just makes me sleep better (or eat more peacefully when I leave hotel room). There are several offers for specialized camera insurers in Europe, but I noted it is important to read the fine print as they have very different conditions as regards what risks are covered or excluded (in particular, if gear is stolen from a car).

    Prices seem to get reasonable if you include a clause that in case of claim you pay a certain amount (250, 500, or 1,000 Euros) yourself. Since I mainly want to insure the risk of loss or theft of a major part of the equipment, that's fine with me.
    Many (probably most) insurers won't cover your stuff if it is stolen from a hotel room without forced entry. Could luck claiming it from the hotel owner in that case.

    At least choose the highest deductible possible. In addition to the profit of the insurer come the high costs (don't forget your own time) for filing smaller claims. The difference between 250 euro and 1000 euro won't make you bankrupt (unless perhaps if you just went for that IQ180 you couldn't really afford ).

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