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Thread: Insurance for photographic equipment?

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    Insurance for photographic equipment?

    after Jono's recent adventure (and my own, i might add), i really want to get insurance on all my gear. i'm looking for people's experience and/or recommendations.

    i'm a U.S. citizen (and currency), but spend most of my time in France. i would like something based in the U.S. (ease of language) that can provide worldwide coverage and i have no idea where to start looking. advice would be hugely appreciated, including what and how you cover your gear.

    TIA,
    cam

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    I cover my gear with an Inland Marine policy from State Farm.

    Contact them...

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    thank you, John! my condo is covered (and my car used to be) with State Farm. i will look into this further tonight. you're a lifesaver!

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    I am also interested in this . In the past I had always taken out a personal property rider on my homeowners insurance (first with State Farm and then with Chubb). Generally I have found when traveling with 2 M8 s and 6-7 lenses that I need $25K plus in coverage. Thats some significant cost as its seems that its about $2 per thousand per year(replacement cost ).

    The big limitation is that should I loose the equipment and make a claim.....there is a good chance that my homeowners policies on two homes would be canceled. We had one claim for a lost watch about 4 years ago. Never had any other claims. Since one of my homes is in Florida they just cancel you without warning. If you are canceled it goes into the insurance records and you just moved to the high premium catagory. I got around this by appealing to chubb before I signed up. I can have one more claim within the 7 years and not lose the insurance..two and I am out.

    I favor the business insurance approach which I don t think can be linked to your homeowners experience.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Here is the company I use for GM Photography for all my gear , liability and such.

    http://packagechoice.com/index.jsp#htwms
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    I use The Hartford and you can receive a discount if you are an APA member.
    I'm not sure if they offer it to ASMP members or not, but might be wise to look into.

    Chris Lawery(e-mail Me)
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Hmmmm.
    Call me a fool, but I only insure what I can't afford to lose. If I added up all the money I haven't paid out on insurance on computers / cameras and other kit, I think I could easily buy myself an S2 and lenses.

    I remember when a son had an ipod stolen from his car, which (of course) was insured - but the ipod was only insured on our household insurance; the insurance company were delightful

    "£200 sir? that's absolutely fine, we'll have a cheque in the post tomorrow"

    Emma asked what it would do to our premium and he said:

    "I'll just go and check if you can hang on for a minute"

    when he came back:

    " It'll put your premium up by £95 next year, and this will go up for the following two years - if you make no more claims it'll start to go down again"

    So we didn't claim.

    I don't like losing things, but it's a dead cert that if I really had lost £6,000 of leica kit last weekend - I would have saved more than that on premiums I hadn't paid . . .

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Jono -- i'd rather not put this with my homeowners insurance for exactly that reason.

    however, if i lost that amount of gear -- that would be it. no replacement. i dug into some rainy day funds to get it and do not have the funds to purchase new. i am very careful with my gear, for the most part, but things happen and i'd be a fool to think i'm immune....

    an ipod, i'd eat. a Noctilux is something else altogether.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Jono I am exactly where you are regarding insurance. The question for your insurance carrier.....why did I pay for such a low deductible ..if I can t afford to make a claim? They get the money back in two years .

    This is what got me hopping mad at my carrier....they would be happy to take my $500 a year knowing they would almost never have to pay. Homeowners in the USA are as bad as it gets ..the general attitude is that ..if I lose something ..no big deal its covered. Then two claims and you have no insurance. For this reason I have the highest deductible possible on all of my policies including cars.

    But my understanding in the USA that if you get a package of insurance around your "business" or profession....you probably only get two claims ..but its not tied to your house.

    Roger












    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hmmmm.
    Call me a fool, but I only insure what I can't afford to lose. If I added up all the money I haven't paid out on insurance on computers / cameras and other kit, I think I could easily buy myself an S2 and lenses.

    I remember when a son had an ipod stolen from his car, which (of course) was insured - but the ipod was only insured on our household insurance; the insurance company were delightful

    "£200 sir? that's absolutely fine, we'll have a cheque in the post tomorrow"

    Emma asked what it would do to our premium and he said:

    "I'll just go and check if you can hang on for a minute"

    when he came back:

    " It'll put your premium up by £95 next year, and this will go up for the following two years - if you make no more claims it'll start to go down again"

    So we didn't claim.

    I don't like losing things, but it's a dead cert that if I really had lost £6,000 of leica kit last weekend - I would have saved more than that on premiums I hadn't paid . . .

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    I actually know a little about this topic so thought I'd post some points to ponder. Coverages vary with company and country, so it is imperative you check with your provider to get accurate answers, but here are some things to think and ask about:

    1) Your gear might be covered under personal property as part of a regular Homowner's, Renter's or Condominium Unit Owner's insurance policy. Most of these policies limit coverage to personal equipment and usually exclude business property, so may not be adequate for a professional photographer for example. The broadest of these policies will extend certain coverages like theft to anywhere in the world, where others may limit certain (or all) coverages to within your country, state or even to the insured premises itself. Some may have specific limits for certain classes of property, so be sure to ask specifically about photographic gear. These policies usually are "Blanket Coverage" meaning you are covered for up to the total amount as stated on the policy, aside from the special limits referred to above. Settlement can be made at "Replacement Value" or "Actual Cash Value." Replacement Value means the item is replaced with the same item or if not possible, one of like kind and quality. Actual Cash Value is an acronym for "depreciated value," basically whatever the item's used market value is or worse, some value established by application of a company's standard depreciation table. Finally, this type of policy usually covers property on a "Named Perils" basis, which means only the named events stated in the contract will be covered. Invariably these will cover most common looses to your gear like theft or fire, but rarely will cover accidental damage or mechanical breakdown. Making claims on these policies generally trigger underwriting reviews and companies track both claim "Frequency" and "Severity" -- and too much of either can trigger a rate increase or worse, a non-renewal of the policy. So make sure you understand exactly how your coverage will work in case of a loss, ASK THE QUESTIONS BEFOREHAND!

    2) Your gear might be covered as part of a Business Insurance Policy. The coverages and pitfalls follow almost identically above, though since this is a business policy, property is assumed to be used for business purposes. Just make sure you ask all of the above questions as it is far more common for example for a dedicated business policy to limit coverage only to the business premises and not extend it beyond.

    3) Inland Marine. AKA, Floater Policy, Personal Articles Policy, Business Equipment Policy, and probably several other catchy names. Bottom line is this type of policy is a scheduled items policy meaning each item intended to be insured is listed at a stated value at policy inception, as opposed to the blanket coverage nature for the above examples. Next, it usually is broader coverage than above, meaning things like accidental direct physical loss are covered --- IOW if you drop it and break it, it should be covered. (Make sure you ASK what perils are and aren't covered by your carrier.) For this policy you list each individual item you want insured for a specific value and thusly maintain a "schedule" of covered property. For example you might have 25 items total listed, and let's assume item #10 is a $1000 lens. If you drop item #10 you can make a claim, and the company generally will pay you $1000 OR the actual cost to replace the lens, WHICHEVER IS LESS. Thus it is imperative -- and incumbent upon you as the policyholder -- to maintain the schedule accurately as far as items listed and amounts they are listed for. This means a call to your carrier every time you buy or sell an item, or prices on your specific items change. If you buy an item and don't call to add it, it isn't going to be covered when you drop it 3 months later. If an item's value increases and you don't call to increase the stated value, it's going to be under-valued at the time of loss. Companies will generally have separate rates for personal and professional (business) uses of the equipment, and offer deductibles from zero or full coverage on up.

    Hope that summary helps,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Jack

    The biggest issue I face is separation of my equipment insurance from my homeowners. I use Chubb for both homes . The issue in Florida as you must know is every insurer is leaving (and thats with having to use a state sponsored policy for wind) . So any chance that you would lose your homeowners policy is serious. Right now my agent tells me that Chubb would cancel with two claims and no notice. No way around it .....so I can t make another claim for probably another 3 years. My claim was less than $5K for my daughters watch she lost.

    This seems to leave me two alternatives ..self insure my cameras ....zero cost,zero coverage or get a professional policy like Guy has .

    Ideas ?

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    I don't know if this is relevant for your needs, but these people do seem recommended by others -- they are UK based, however; might be worth a call

    http://www.photographyireland.net/viewtopic.php?t=19657
    Slįinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post
    Jono -- i'd rather not put this with my homeowners insurance for exactly that reason.

    however, if i lost that amount of gear -- that would be it. no replacement. i dug into some rainy day funds to get it and do not have the funds to purchase new. i am very careful with my gear, for the most part, but things happen and i'd be a fool to think i'm immune....

    an ipod, i'd eat. a Noctilux is something else altogether.
    Hi Cam
    Well, same here - if it was lost it would be lost, but of course, I have other cameras.
    I did say 'I only insure what I can't afford to lose'.
    Insurance companies make big profits (or did ). You have to decide whether you want to contribute to those risks or take a chance. It's good to add up what you DIDN'T pay for insurance in some little side corner.

    A good example is extended warranty cover - we have 5 macs around here - the amount of money I've saved on extended warranty over 2 years paid for a new 17"MBP - without making a claim. of course, one takes a chance.

    Our washing machine - when we were washing clothes for 3 little boys, we had breakdown cover (and boy did we need it). Now it's for two adults we don't.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Jack

    The biggest issue I face is separation of my equipment insurance from my homeowners. I use Chubb for both homes . The issue in Florida as you must know is every insurer is leaving (and thats with having to use a state sponsored policy for wind) . So any chance that you would lose your homeowners policy is serious. Right now my agent tells me that Chubb would cancel with two claims and no notice. No way around it .....so I can t make another claim for probably another 3 years. My claim was less than $5K for my daughters watch she lost.

    This seems to leave me two alternatives ..self insure my cameras ....zero cost,zero coverage or get a professional policy like Guy has .

    Ideas ?
    Get rid of Chubb now.

    I left them some years ago for the very reasons you mention.

    My agent did some "Homeowners" shopping for me and I first landed with The American Insur, Co. (Firemans), then shopped more and swapped to "Encompass" (a premium division of Allstate) ... the result was better coverage for $1,800. less in annual premiums for my 4200 sq. foot home + riders, 2 million umbrella liability rider, and two vehicles under one master policy. Encompass even knocks off more $ if you sign-up for automatic monthly payment from your bank account rather than paying the whole annual premium up front ... where other companies charge you extra to make installment payments (even my agent doesn't understand that one.)

    Investigate how your insurance co. is figuring replacement value for your home. Chubb and Firemans uses replication value which is much higher than replacement value. The difference is that one is supposed to be based on duplicating your exact home using the same materials, where the other is based on replacing the home with a like home with the same sq. footage. This is where insurance lingo can cost you a bundle ... if you have a 1929 Craftman's home you may want "replication", but for most homes "replacement" is fine. Trouble is, some companies don't offer replacement value ... Chubb and Fireman's uses replication so the value is much higer for premium calculations.

    One value of a poor ecomomy and reduced income is that you have time to investigate all this stuff and get to the bottom of it to save a lot of cash.

    My next target is my Business insurance. They already lowered the premium by 35%, by my just telling them to lower it or I will walk. Joining a Photo group may be the answer since some offer coverage, but the premiums are based on Group coverage not individual coverage.

    Guy and Jack may have enough members to offer the membership group to an Insurance vendor or agent to provide a policy to everyone at a reasonable premuim. A simple poll of the membership list would tell them is there are enough bodies willing to sign-up. No matter what, it's sure to be less than if you bought a policy alone.
    Last edited by fotografz; 21st May 2009 at 02:35.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Guy and Jack may have enough members to offer the membership group to an Insurance vendor or agent to provide a policy to everyone at a reasonable premuim. A simple poll of the membership list would tell them is there are enough bodies willing to sign-up. No matter what, it's sure to be less than if you bought a policy alone.

    Not a bad idea. Jack is a insurance agent but only in California. But he certainly knows the ropes on it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Marc
    I have no doubt that you are correct about lower cost alternatives. My reason for Chubb is that they have a great reputation for handling claims. Same reason I use State Farm for my cars . So my first priority to look at the claims handling reputation. My experience with both companies has been excellent.

    Then I evaluate what coverage I really need.....the biggest waste is over insuring or insuring for things that you would never claim. My values for home replacement are pretty fair and frankly with my outlook for real estate ...I would look hard at taking the money and not rebuilding. The biggest savings came from raising my deductibles and self insuring for the normal losses.

    Florida is sort of a special case....because of the hurricane losses and consumer friendly insurance commission.....its a terrible place to do business for an insurance company. The other alternative to Chubb in my area has always been AIG . Lets look at their reputation...even before the melt down ....their business model was built on fighting claims and settling out at pennies on the dollar.

    So I start with thinking through a typical claim.....your home is robbed, the pipes break, you have a fire and it burns to the ground, you get water damage which results in a major mold issue. How would these be handled? Most of my experience is from friends and family as well as my broker.

    The 2nd area is "what would cause my policy to be cancelled?" Jack s point is correct about its up to the underwriters......but I have checked with quite a few homeowners ..in Atlanta and Florida. Its generally two claims and they tell you another claim and your canceled . If they are major claims it can be the 2nd claim and you are out.

    The gap in my coverage is only for my equipment when traveling.....the small domke I travel with has over $25K in equipment .....so it would be comforting to have it covered....but its insignificant compared to the homes. So I need a solution not tied to my homeowners policies.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post

    Ideas ?
    Well...

    First thing is find another company to insure your home. Since you already have cars with the Farm, they will most likely insure your home in Florida AND you'll get a multiple line discount on BOTH the cars and the house. Definitely worth looking into. Also, they can sell you the floater policy if you want it.


    Sidebar note: Florida and California (and Massachusetts, but that's it's own story) are very tough states for insurance. The state governments have placed so many restrictions on how and what companies can write, most smaller companies have abandoned those states. This has left consumers with far fewer choices.

    And so follows claims history; it is a big issue now especially in Florida and California. So yes, make too many claims over a given period of time against the policy and you run the risk of being non-renewed. Best strategy here is to move your home policy to the highest deductible you are willing to pay before submitting a claim, thus saving significant premium dollars and positioning the policy to only come into play in the event of a significant loss. Here I'd then use the premium dollars saved on the home policy to pay for the scheduled articles policy or possibly a small business policy with lower deductible to cover specific items you are concerned about. Note that the inland marine policy is regularly used to cover valuable specialty items like jewelry, fine arts, silverware, stamp and coin collections, high end camera gear, high end sporting equipment and even computers.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    I use The Hartford commercial insurance for my gear. I had 2 claims in 3 years at one point totaling 4300 dollars. No rise in premiums. they have a 250 deductible and always pay within 10 days of getting recipts. Also they include liability insurance and a 10 grand computer floater. David

  19. #19
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    Re: Insurance for photographic equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    Call me a fool, but I only insure what I can't afford to lose.

    I agree with the fool. (Does that make me a fool, too? ) I only insure very big ticket items and then only if the risk justify it. To insure or not, for me, involves also considering the risk. I would not insure a $250,000.00 sailboat if I used it for sailing in the ocean -- not much to run into out on the big blue. But if I had a $5,000.00 sailboat that I used in the bay I would insure it -- things like other boats, and 'land', a boat's mortal enemy, everywhere.

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