canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: Marsu42 on February 14, 2013, 02:12:16 PM

Title: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 14, 2013, 02:12:16 PM
I didn't quite know where to put this question, so it ended up in "lenses" since these are the most expensive items in the bag.

The motive for me thinking about insuring my gear is that I though someone has nicked my 70-300L out of my bag today - but back at home I gladly saw that I didn't take it with me in the first place as I usually do. So: My current gear (camera+lenses+flashes+filters+...) I'm carrying around is worth about €5000, and I'm going to add a 6d+24-70tc totaling about €8000. I bought this gear piece by piece, but somehow it's grown to (for my standard) considerable value, though it's far from the pro 1dx/5d3+f2.8-kits other people have.

Starting as of today I somehow feel that not insuring the stuff but carrying around the greater part of it most of the time is not exactly clever, on the other hand my budget is stretched as it is so I'm wondering if other people insure their "midrange" dslr gear against theft & damage or they consider the real world risk too low to pay for the insurance?
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: RLPhoto on February 14, 2013, 02:14:17 PM
I made a point to insure everything. Filters, Softboxes, light stands, the works because those little things stolen at one time add up to a significant amount of $$$$.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: florianbieler.de on February 14, 2013, 02:22:46 PM
I didn't think much about insurance until I got my 5D3. Shorty before I dropped my 500D by accident with a Tamron 17-50 attached, the latter suffered a 200€ damage which is almost like it totaled.

When I got the 5D3 the first thing was to insure everything, well not everything, body, lenses and flash are insured. Small things like sd cards, batteries and so on are automatically included. I also carry around a rough 7000€ in my camera bag and doing that without insurance is not only stupid but downright irresponsible. Getting nicked is one thing and that can happen to anyone out on a photo trip alone if you cross the wrong peoples way but I also wanted it insured just for the case I accidentally drop it again. That 2.5% of the gear value I pay per year is worth it the second you drop it or someone threatens you.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 14, 2013, 02:30:15 PM
That 2.5% of the gear value I pay per year is worth it the second you drop it or someone threatens you.

You seem to be German - did you do a survey for the cheapest insurance company, is 2.5%/year the best offer, what company is it? The next step for me would be to search for a company, and I really don't know where to start (again, in Germany).
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: florianbieler.de on February 14, 2013, 02:43:43 PM
They all have similar values. I am at Poepping's (http://www.fotoversicherung.com/Poppings_Fotografenversicherung/Fotoversicherung.html).
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: awinphoto on February 14, 2013, 02:46:01 PM
I would hardly consider the 100L, 70-300L, 17-40L etc as "mid-range", but most definitely (especially since I make my living with  my gear)  We have a commercial policy through allstate which protects up to $5000 i believe on any one claim, so assuming I dont lose my entire kit in a fire, which then likely my homeowners would kick in there or the like, then i'm good.  The 5d3 is my single biggest item, price wise, so i'm comfortable with that.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 14, 2013, 02:50:53 PM
I recently lost my 24-70 f/2.8 L MK II costing $2200 ($60 shipping & $115 customs duty), so I can understand the valuable of insurance to a photographer ... unfortunately the concept of Camera/lens insurance does not exist in the Gulf (I guess it is because 90% of the residents in the Gulf countries are expats who go back to their home countries every year and it would be impractical for insurance companies to curtail fraudulent claims.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 14, 2013, 02:55:30 PM
I recently lost my 24-70 f/2.8 L MK II costing $2200 ($60 shipping & $115 customs duty), so I can understand the valuable of insurance to a photographer ... unfortunately the concept of Camera/lens insurance does not exist in the Gulf (I guess it is because 90% of the residents in the Gulf countries are expats who go back to their home countries every year and it would be impractical for insurance companies to curtail fraudulent claims.
Although I checked many places, I have not found anyone providing insurance for camera gear in Qatar ... does anyone here in Canon rumours know of any company providing insurance in Qatar?
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 14, 2013, 02:56:10 PM
They all have similar values. I am at Poepping's (http://www.fotoversicherung.com/Poppings_Fotografenversicherung/Fotoversicherung.html).
Thanks!

I would hardly consider the 100L, 70-300L, 17-40L etc as "mid-range"
Well, I concur there are a couple of top range items included (100L, 600rt) but since for every other lens & camera there are cheaper and more expensive offers I consider €5000-8000 still midrange - a 1dx body alone costs that much, not to think of €10k tele primes. But correct me if I'm wrong, I'd happily change my perspective on my gear.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: ChilledXpress on February 14, 2013, 03:58:00 PM
Is your midrange gear insured?

Low, mid and high... it all gets insured, I make no distinctions regarding replacement of my gear.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 14, 2013, 04:18:48 PM
Low, mid and high... it all gets insured, I make no distinctions regarding replacement of my gear.

Personally, I'd 100% insure my €10k tele prime, I wouldn't do it with all the low tech stuff I'm carrying around like an mp3 player or a gps logger - that's why I was making the distinction. But good I wrote this thread, I come to realize I've invested a lot of €€€ in this during the last 2 years and it's not worth loosing it by accident :-o
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: DCM1024 on February 14, 2013, 05:01:02 PM
All of our camera gear is insured by State Farm, but oddly enough, they would not cover my Ipad 4. Apparently that item represents a higher risk than a 5d3!
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Caps18 on February 14, 2013, 05:49:45 PM
I'm trying to get mine insured.  How would you go about getting an appraisal of the current value?

I have about $5,000-$6,000 US, maybe a little more worth of gear, and even though I am low risk, I've come close to having two fires/explosions at my house so far...  Plus the international travel I do, although I usually keep it secure.  But, you never know.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Meh on February 14, 2013, 06:49:36 PM
I assure you, I always ensure my gear is insured.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: ChilledXpress on February 14, 2013, 08:01:20 PM
I'm trying to get mine insured.  How would you go about getting an appraisal of the current value?

I have about $5,000-$6,000 US, maybe a little more worth of gear, and even though I am low risk, I've come close to having two fires/explosions at my house so far...  Plus the international travel I do, although I usually keep it secure.  But, you never know.

I had my agent come to my house... she took photos, copies of reciepts, etc... easy as pie! Covered about 60k worth of electronics and gear under a home/buisness policy. They covered my iPads too.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: bycostello on February 14, 2013, 08:04:01 PM
I assure you, I always ensure my gear is insured.

+1
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: dr croubie on February 14, 2013, 08:14:04 PM
Get all your gear, and all your receipts (I hope you still have them), and you'll be surprised.

I buy a lot of stuff off ebay, and i mean a lot (check my gear photos in my signature, that was about 1 year ago and it's probably doubled since then). Being the complete nerd that I am (hey, i'm a gearhead nerd, not a photographer), I went back over my paypal and ebay accounts and worked it all out one day into a spreadsheet. (tip, another good reason to do this is to mark-down all of your serial numbers in case something gets stolen)

I have only 3 big-ticket items (well, 'big ticket' to me, not compared to some of you guys), my 7D and 15-85 (€1800 cost) and 70-300L (€1200 cost), which is about $4000 total.

Then my 'rung down' stuff, 85/1.8, 100/2.0, Samyang 35/1.4, Sigma 8-16, FL55/1.2+EdMika, 430EXmk1, EOS3, Zeiss 300/4.0, Voigtlander 21/4.0, Mamiya 645AF, Vanguard tripod, all of which were between $200-500 each, maybe another $3-4000 to the total.

A lot more stuff just below that, lots of Pentacon Six Zeiss stuff and a few 'nice but not the best' lenses for $50-150 like my Takumar 50/1.4, Jupiter 85/2.0, Shorty McForty and Nifty Fiftington.
Then comes all the crap. Russian lenses for $10-50 each, lenscaps for $2 each from china (I always get lenses without caps, and I'm so fricking OCD that everything has to have a cap, front and rear), filters of various shapes, sizes and colours, step rings from 39 to 106mm and down again, cokin attachments, grips, arca-swiss plates and clamps, a nodal-ninja, bellows, extension tubes, focussing screens, teleconverters.
You name it, i've bought it.

But get this. I typed all of this stuff into my big OCD spreadsheet, and the numbers are a bit amazing (and a bit scary). I can check when I get home for the exact magic number, but it's something like $150. Add up the total price of everything that cost above that 'per item', and add up the cost of everything below that 'per item', and you get roughly the same value (maybe $7-8000 or so). So despite my complete lack of 'big ticket' stuff like a 1DX or über-white, the value of my kit is a lot more. And I'm not going to carry it all at once. (I might get it all in my car at once, but that's because the car is a Falcon Station Wagon with a huge boot).

Anyway, how do I insure this? I've got a $5000 out-of-home accidental damage on it, which is probably the most i'll have in a backpack at once (and it's the most my insurance company will give me). But do I bother insuring all the small crap? The lenses that cost $10, and the caps to go with them? All the filters that I only bought because they were cheap, and probably won't buy again? The only way I'm losing the whole kit is in a fire, even if someone broke in they might take the 70-300L and 7D and leave the gunge (hey, I would too). So is it worth insuring $15k of stuff, even $10k?
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: RMC33 on February 14, 2013, 08:53:48 PM
Much like RL I have all my gear insured vs. theft, damage on the job, damage to other peoples stuff. One thing my insurance agent told me do was install a safe in my home for my most valued items. It cut my cost by 25% and has paid for itself over 4 years. Biggest hassle with it was going through and listing EVERY item, but my insurance keeps all my SN's and photos on file to ID items if they go missing. I have state farm (this falls under my homeowners/small business insurance) and my agent is great. It also includes my 3D printers computers etc. for my patent/prototype consultancy.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Richard8971 on February 14, 2013, 08:57:12 PM
All of my camera equipment is insured through State Farm. They wrote me a personal articles policy and have had it for almost 2 years. As of my seperation from the wife I ended up with half of the camera equipment and she the other half. But even at around 6 grand worth of camera gear, it runs me about 70-80 bucks a year for the coverage, and you get to set the value of your equipment. (I would imagine within reason of course, I always went for new replacement value)

Zero deductable and 100% accident/theft coverage. I have used it twice now, once for my 40D when it got dropped (they gave me $1100 towards a new 7D) and my EF-s 60mm macro when my wife's cat knocked it off of the bookself. (Full replacement cost)

No questions asked and wonderful service. I couldn't be happier.

D
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: jdramirez on February 14, 2013, 10:59:29 PM
I think I have a personal property (or something like that) policy through Erie Insurance in PA.  They charge by the value of your gear.  I think it was something like 46 bucks per year against theft or accidental damage for around $5,000 of gear.  I haven't had to use it, but there isn't a deductible.  Contact a legitimate company before you go with someone you have never heard of.  Peace of mind is worth the extra 10 bucks you might have to pay.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Ellen Schmidtee on February 15, 2013, 12:19:14 AM
I've insured it after I bought an apartment, and had to insure it & it's content. I've extended the photography equipment's insurance to cover it's use outside my apartment.

I didn't insure the cheaper items (filters, 2nd hand film camera, P&S, etc) as in the long range, buying new would be cheaper than having it insurance company pay for it.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 15, 2013, 03:16:23 AM
Get all your gear, and all your receipts (I hope you still have them), and you'll be surprised.

I was esp. surprised that almost no orders from overseas contained a correct receipt, they were either declared as "gift" (China) or the €150 value was magically reduced to €20 for EU vat & tax evasion (US order). I didn't ask for this, though I admit it didn't bother me then, but when insuring the gear it'll be a problem. But most likely I'll go the way to only ensure the more expensive items of €100+ and not every lens cap or hood.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Random Orbits on February 15, 2013, 01:31:54 PM
Get all your gear, and all your receipts (I hope you still have them), and you'll be surprised.

I was esp. surprised that almost no orders from overseas contained a correct receipt, they were either declared as "gift" (China) or the €150 value was magically reduced to €20 for EU vat & tax evasion (US order). I didn't ask for this, though I admit it didn't bother me then, but when insuring the gear it'll be a problem. But most likely I'll go the way to only ensure the more expensive items of €100+ and not every lens cap or hood.

Depends on the company.  My insurance company just asked for a list of equipment and current price quotes.  I bought some equipment new, but most of it is used.  However, all of it is insured for replacement value, so I got that info from the Adorama site.  I didn't cover the filters, bags, tripod, etc, even though the value of those things add up as well.  The insurance value threshold is a personal preference.  If I were to lost everything, it'd cost a bit to replace but certainly would cost a lot more without insurance.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 16, 2013, 06:05:45 AM
Another question since I stayed clear of insurances so far: What happens if I actually loose something and the company has to replace it? Do say "No problem, no need for proof it was really stolen or it's a fraud attempt, here's your (insert value here) and have fun with it"? Does the insurance rate rise afterwards or (when) do they cancel the contract? Sorry if this sounds silly or naive, but I really have no experience with insurances at all.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: dr croubie on February 16, 2013, 06:01:06 PM
Wow, what a good rainy-day exercise (or in my case, it's 37C outside today so i'm indoors with the aircon on full blast).
Added in all my purchases from this year to my spreadsheet, put in some proportional weighting factors for things i'd bought all at once with combined shipping, converted the whole lot to $AU using today's exchange rates (which isn't exactly fair, some rates have changed 15% since I bought the stuff, oh well).
And the total cost of my gear is $19,867.
Sum total of everything $236.91 and over is almost the same as the sum total of everything $236.90 and under, that's my "halfway point" of value.

There's some more scary numbers in there, like everything that's cost me $20 or less including shipping, so really low-value items that I wouldn't even think twice about buying, have still cost me $755 added together. Even things under $50 that I seem to buy without thinking have cost me $3000 in total over the past few years.

So yeah, how do I insure that? Currently my home+contents policy gives me $5000 of 'accidental damage and theft outside of home', ie if someone steals my backpack or i drop it off a cliff. And my policy also gives me 'up to $10k of camera equipment', which i'm definitely well over, so I've got $15k of regular 'contents' specified damages, ie if someone breaks in and/or sets fire to my house. Is it worth updating to include the last $5k? That only includes stuff that cost me $85 or less per piece. The chances of losing absolutely everything are pretty low (especially in a double-brick house with only a wooden roof to burn).
Sigh, too complicated, I think i'm going to leave it at $15k to save on premiums and go shoot some pictures instead.

Another question since I stayed clear of insurances so far: What happens if I actually lose something and the company has to replace it? Do they say "No problem, no need for proof it was really stolen or it's a fraud attempt, here's your (insert value here) and have fun with it"? Does the insurance rate rise afterwards or (when) do they cancel the contract?

I'm not sure about genuine "losing something" whether they take your word for it. But for theft you definitely need a police report, like when I was backpacking and someone pilfered my P&S from my pocket at a pub (ok, it may have fell out, but for insurance purposes it was stolen), and I had to fill in a proper police report in German (thankfully I eventually found the only cop who spole decent english in Salzburg). That was Travel Insurance (don't leave home without it), so I'm not sure what would happen to premiums if I claimed on my home+contents, hopefully I never have to find out.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: barracuda on February 16, 2013, 08:36:44 PM
I have a State Farm personal articles policy that covers most of my camera gear at full replacement cost. At first I covered everything, memory cards, batteries, etc. but then realized that I would never make a claim for the small things if I happened to lose them. When my agent told me that her brother had a similar policy and that State Farm cancelled his policy when he made too many loss claims, I decided to only insure items costing over $300.

I've had the policy for about 5 years now and have only made one claim for a broken 580EX that I dropped. They basically paid for a new 580EXII. When I made the claim, they asked if I had gotten an estimate to repair it, which I did. Canon's estimate was a minimum of $150, so State Farm just sent me a check for what I originally paid for the 580EX. I later got the flash repaired for $150 and have kept it since I could always use another flash with 5 camera bodies.

As my collection of camera gear has grown, my annual insurance cost has doubled from around $150 to $300 per year. Is it worth it? I think so. Although I've only had one loss, I gain peace of mind and feel that I don't have to baby my equipment (although I am careful with it). I also know that if I'm ever in a situation where I'm in a confrontation with someone for my camera gear, I'd just hand it over knowing that I'd get brand new updated versions of my equipment without a problem. I would however, kindly ask for the memory cards.  How ironic, in that that's one of the things I don't insure.  :)
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: 7enderbender on February 16, 2013, 08:40:11 PM
Good question. I have to admit that I still don't have insurance. I simply haven't found any insurance company yet with reasonable rates. I live in Massachusetts and the regulated market here leads to a lot of insurance companies not doing business here. So all the great and cheap plans such as the one through State Farm are simply not available here. Tagging my stuff to my home insurance is a problem as well since I'd never be able to claim anything really without risking the rates for my house that is close to the coast and almost nobody offers insurance for houses here (and being forced to buy insurance from the state is very costly).
Still thinking about joining one of the professional photography organizations and buy insurance through them. But that's not cheap either. I'll have to see how much income actually comes in from photography over the next few months and then see.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Zv on February 16, 2013, 09:42:31 PM
Another question since I stayed clear of insurances so far: What happens if I actually loose something and the company has to replace it? Do say "No problem, no need for proof it was really stolen or it's a fraud attempt, here's your (insert value here) and have fun with it"? Does the insurance rate rise afterwards or (when) do they cancel the contract? Sorry if this sounds silly or naive, but I really have no experience with insurances at all.

Insurance companies used to ask you to report the loss to the police incase it's ever found and handed in. The police gave you a ref no. or a loss report number to give the insurance company along with details of the loss. However, since the advent of mobile phones, the police were getting too many calls about lost phones that they got a bit fed up and sometimes refused to issue a loss report. This was back when I worked for O2 in the UK (5 yrs ago).

Dunno about cameras, but check with the insurer and read the terms and conditions very carefully. The bastards hide stipulations in there then when it comes to claiming they repudiate the claim and refer to you to said terms and conditions.

Sometimes you have to specify high value items like a DSLR and lens in the policy for an additional premium. This is actually a good idea otherwise you won't get the full value of the item back, just a limited sum.

And then theres the excess.

Seriously unless you are juggling lenses for a living I'd say insurance is a waste of money. Risk is always present no matter what we do. It's part of life. Insurance is like gambling. I bet so much that I will screw up. Ummm of course you will!!! Why pay for that! Buy new gear if and when jt breaks (rare). Or get it repaired. Or upgrade. Or cut your losses and pack it up and go home!

 :P
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: rolsskk on February 16, 2013, 10:26:33 PM
I just want to footstomp something for everyone here with regards to insurance - just because your company says it's "insured" does not mean it'll be covered! I say this because there are obvious limitations for policies such as homeowner/renter and auto polices where they'll be cover IF your gear is stolen FROM those locations. That being said, you typically need a Valuable Personal Property rider on your homeowner/renter's policy, where you specifically identify each and every item, by serial number (if applicable), for coverage in between the house and the car, as well as piece of mind. Aside from the information that I've provided the insurance company, I've got a PDF that has all of the pertinent information and pictures of the insured items, just in case.



Although I checked many places, I have not found anyone providing insurance for camera gear in Qatar ... does anyone here in Canon rumours know of any company providing insurance in Qatar?
Just curious if you're a US Ex-pat there, if so, try a US based insurance company? Some will provide international coverage.
All of our camera gear is insured by State Farm, but oddly enough, they would not cover my Ipad 4. Apparently that item represents a higher risk than a 5d3!
You need to make sure you ask how and what policy it would be covered under.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: DCM1024 on February 16, 2013, 11:16:48 PM

All of our camera gear is insured by State Farm, but oddly enough, they would not cover my Ipad 4. Apparently that item represents a higher risk than a 5d3!
You need to make sure you ask how and what policy it would be covered under.
[/quote]

The policy is not in my name. I was told by the policy holder that State Farm would not insure under either the homeowner or extended electronics policies.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: samkatz on February 16, 2013, 11:34:44 PM
Here in the USA, get a rider on your homeowners where you itemize all your equipment, including your laptop. Make sure the rider covers "all losses"...eg, gets stolen out of your car... It won't be the cheapest insurance, but certainly gives you peace of mind.  You don't travel around w/your TV or home equipment but you want to be free from worry when you travel w/your cameras.   I dropped a Canon and lens in a river once, and they paid w/no problem.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Botts on February 16, 2013, 11:37:45 PM
Another question since I stayed clear of insurances so far: What happens if I actually loose something and the company has to replace it? Do say "No problem, no need for proof it was really stolen or it's a fraud attempt, here's your (insert value here) and have fun with it"? Does the insurance rate rise afterwards or (when) do they cancel the contract? Sorry if this sounds silly or naive, but I really have no experience with insurances at all.

My insurance company (home insurance as I'm not a pro) told me that if I'm in the USA or Canada, they'd like a police report stating the loss, but if I'm in Mexico, or a country that the police will hassle me in, they'd rather I not take the risk of reporting it.

My home insurance also didn't require an itemized list, just the ability to prove what I had in the event of loss. So I keep a copy of the receipts for all my gear in a folder in a safe, and a PDF copy of all receipts on my laptop, and in the cloud with DropBox. 

I believe this is partially because my insurance plan also covers "mysterious disappearance" without exclusion.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: tapanit on February 17, 2013, 01:00:58 AM
Starting as of today I somehow feel that not insuring the stuff but carrying around the greater part of it most of the time is not exactly clever, on the other hand my budget is stretched as it is so I'm wondering if other people insure their "midrange" dslr gear against theft & damage or they consider the real world risk too low to pay for the insurance?
I insure nothing. Regardless of how high the risk is, I'm sure the insurance companies have figured it out better than I could, and if it's profitable for them, it can't be for me, in the long run.

Insurance makes financial sense only if there are secondary considerations, i.e., if the insurance money you'd get would in the event be worth more to you than the actual amount you get. Travel insurance makes sense because in some places not having one might mean you won't be admitted to a hospital (or get the emergency helicopter ride or whatever). Insuring your house makes sense if a fire could otherwise drive you bankrupt. But it never pays to insure cheap stuff.

As far as photo gear is concerned, if you're a professional, making your living out of photography, insurance can mean you can replace the gear faster and thus lose less work opportunities, and then it might pay off. Especially if the insurance is tax-deductible.

But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay. Compare the insurance premiums with what the bank would charge for a loan. If insurance company wants 2.5% of the value of the item and interest rate in the bank is 5%, you'd have to figure you break half of your gear for insurance to make sense.

Of course there again may be side-effects besides money. Maybe you know your wife wouldn't let you take a loan to replace the lens but would let you use the insurance money for it. Then insurance might again make sense.

Otherwise, you are paying for not having to do the math and for feeling a little less uncertain about the future. Maybe that feeling is worth the money to you. But it will cost you money, not save it.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Zv on February 17, 2013, 03:06:28 AM
Starting as of today I somehow feel that not insuring the stuff but carrying around the greater part of it most of the time is not exactly clever, on the other hand my budget is stretched as it is so I'm wondering if other people insure their "midrange" dslr gear against theft & damage or they consider the real world risk too low to pay for the insurance?
I insure nothing. Regardless of how high the risk is, I'm sure the insurance companies have figured it out better than I could, and if it's profitable for them, it can't be for me, in the long run.

Insurance makes financial sense only if there are secondary considerations, i.e., if the insurance money you'd get would in the event be worth more to you than the actual amount you get. Travel insurance makes sense because in some places not having one might mean you won't be admitted to a hospital (or get the emergency helicopter ride or whatever). Insuring your house makes sense if a fire could otherwise drive you bankrupt. But it never pays to insure cheap stuff.

As far as photo gear is concerned, if you're a professional, making your living out of photography, insurance can mean you can replace the gear faster and thus lose less work opportunities, and then it might pay off. Especially if the insurance is tax-deductible.

But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay. Compare the insurance premiums with what the bank would charge for a loan. If insurance company wants 2.5% of the value of the item and interest rate in the bank is 5%, you'd have to figure you break half of your gear for insurance to make sense.

Of course there again may be side-effects besides money. Maybe you know your wife wouldn't let you take a loan to replace the lens but would let you use the insurance money for it. Then insurance might again make sense.

Otherwise, you are paying for not having to do the math and for feeling a little less uncertain about the future. Maybe that feeling is worth the money to you. But it will cost you money, not save it.

+1 and as someone who worked for an insurance company I can concur. Amount paid out in claims is a pittance compared to what they make. What does that tell you?
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 17, 2013, 04:02:06 AM
+1 and as someone who worked for an insurance company I can concur. Amount paid out in claims is a pittance compared to what they make. What does that tell you?

I don't think it's quite as simple, and nobody confuses insurance companies with charity, that's why I never had me as a customer. But I know there are legit cases, and I would be one: If I loose my €8000 gear, I cannot replace it because I simply don't have the money. Money I don't have doesn't pay me interest in the bank. So for risks that are too great to cope with on my own (same thing: health care) I consider insurance a good idea, even though it's basically another means of transferring wealth from "have nots" to "haves" because as written above if you've got enough money insurance might be considered a waste of it except if you want to pay for a subjective "peace of mind".

The chances of losing absolutely everything are pretty low (especially in a double-brick house with only a wooden roof to burn).

My "problem" is that I am very well able to carry 100% of my gear around, and often I do, it's (or will be) "only" 2 camera bodies + 4 lenses + the usual flash-filter stuff. And it's all conveniently packed into one bag, though I try to make it look as cheap as possible from the outside...

.. .and fortunately, in Germany there seem to be ok companies like the one menitoned above that is specialized in dslr equipment so figuring out what the terms are should be possible even for non-lawyers like me. The rates are reasonable or to be expected, I guess:

0€ co-payment: 3.25% of gear value
100€ co-payment: 2.5% of gear value
250€ co-payment: 2.0% of gear value
1000€ co-payment: 1.6% of gear value
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Ellen Schmidtee on February 17, 2013, 04:36:09 AM
Another question since I stayed clear of insurances so far: What happens if I actually loose something and the company has to replace it? Do say "No problem, no need for proof it was really stolen or it's a fraud attempt, here's your (insert value here) and have fun with it"? Does the insurance rate rise afterwards or (when) do they cancel the contract? Sorry if this sounds silly or naive, but I really have no experience with insurances at all.

In Israel the insurance company would like proof the equipment existed in the first place (read: the assessor has seen it when he came when the insurance was made, or a receipt for the purchase of the item was sent to them), though some items of small value were value in lump without being itemized.

Also, a complaint should be filed with the police, though when it comes to property damages, this means very little. A few years back I reported my house was broken into and some property stolen. The police officer signed my copy of the report, didn't keep a copy, and when I asked her whether someone is going to come around and take fingerprints off the window, she said I've seen too many police shows on TV. As newspapers report, this is typical - the police don't have enough man power to investigate, and keeping copies would make for bad stats (lots of unsolved crimes).

There's a clause saying if the stolen equipement is found, it becomes the insurance company's property. As the assessor didn't write down the equipment's serial numbers (just model, e.g. "Canon EF 50mm f/1.4"), I'm not sure they could enforce it.
 
Insurance rate would be higher, though. E.g. there's a discount for not having sued the insurance company.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Zv on February 17, 2013, 05:38:22 AM
+1 and as someone who worked for an insurance company I can concur. Amount paid out in claims is a pittance compared to what they make. What does that tell you?

I don't think it's quite as simple, and nobody confuses insurance companies with charity, that's why I never had me as a customer. But I know there are legit cases, and I would be one: If I loose my €8000 gear, I cannot replace it because I simply don't have the money. Money I don't have doesn't pay me interest in the bank. So for risks that are too great to cope with on my own (same thing: health care) I consider insurance a good idea, even though it's basically another means of transferring wealth from "have nots" to "haves" because as written above if you've got enough money insurance might be considered a waste of it except if you want to pay for a subjective "peace of mind".

The chances of losing absolutely everything are pretty low (especially in a double-brick house with only a wooden roof to burn).

My "problem" is that I am very well able to carry 100% of my gear around, and often I do, it's (or will be) "only" 2 camera bodies + 4 lenses + the usual flash-filter stuff. And it's all conveniently packed into one bag, though I try to make it look as cheap as possible from the outside...

.. .and fortunately, in Germany there seem to be ok companies like the one menitoned above that is specialized in dslr equipment so figuring out what the terms are should be possible even for non-lawyers like me. The rates are reasonable or to be expected, I guess:

0€ co-payment: 3.25% of gear value
100€ co-payment: 2.5% of gear value
250€ co-payment: 2.0% of gear value
1000€ co-payment: 1.6% of gear value

Is there a reason you always carry all your gear? I only every take everything if I am moving to another country. Otherwise I select the bare minimum gear I need and stick it in one small backpack. Usually one body one lens one speedlight is my go bag. Kinda like limiting myself, makes for creative thinking!
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 17, 2013, 06:40:16 AM
But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay. Compare the insurance premiums with what the bank would charge for a loan. If insurance company wants 2.5% of the value of the item and interest rate in the bank is 5%, you'd have to figure you break half of your gear for insurance to make sense.
What are you talking about? ... You don't have to break half your gear for insurance to make sense, my 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II alone costs around $ 2000 ... paying 2.5% (i.e. $50 a year) is peanuts compared to not having an insurance and having the lens stolen/lost ... would you rather pay $ 50 or $ 2000.
Recently someone stole my 24-40 f/2.9 L II lens, unfortunately I had no insurance (insurance for camera gear, does not exist in this coountry) and I cannot buy the 24-70 L II again ... but if I had insurance, paying that $50 would have made helluva lot of sense.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Zv on February 17, 2013, 07:37:38 AM
But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay. Compare the insurance premiums with what the bank would charge for a loan. If insurance company wants 2.5% of the value of the item and interest rate in the bank is 5%, you'd have to figure you break half of your gear for insurance to make sense.
What are you talking about? ... You don't have to break half your gear for insurance to make sense, my 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II alone costs around $ 2000 ... paying 2.5% (i.e. $50 a year) is peanuts compared to not having an insurance and having the lens stolen/lost ... would you rather pay $ 50 or $ 2000.
Recently someone stole my 24-40 f/2.9 L II lens, unfortunately I had no insurance (insurance for camera gear, does not exist in this coountry) and I cannot buy the 24-70 L II again ... but if I had insurance, paying that $50 would have made helluva lot of sense.

50 bucks a year? What insurance company is this? I just went online and got a quote for $600 a year. And thats not pro cover. That would be the cost of a small lens every year! Pretty sure I could afford NOT to pay that!
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Marsu42 on February 17, 2013, 07:44:25 AM
Is there a reason you always carry all your gear?

Um, because I don't know what I'll shoot through the day and want to have all focal ranges covered (macro, uwa, standard and tele)? If sticking to one lens and flash works for you it's great, but I guess most people buy their gear not to admire or select at home but to change lenses from time to time - and I bought my lenses like the 70-300L because I am still able to take them with me unlike other larger and heavier versions like the 70-200L.

50 bucks a year? What insurance company is this? I just went online and got a quote for $600 a year. And thats not pro cover. That would be the cost of a small lens every year! Pretty sure I could afford NOT to pay that!

I just wrote the rates at least from a standard insurance in Germany in a post above - but the offers seem to vary between countries a lot.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Botts on February 17, 2013, 09:33:11 AM
I insure nothing. Regardless of how high the risk is, I'm sure the insurance companies have figured it out better than I could, and if it's profitable for them, it can't be for me, in the long run.
Otherwise, you are paying for not having to do the math and for feeling a little less uncertain about the future. Maybe that feeling is worth the money to you. But it will cost you money, not save it.

On a grand scale, for long-term you're correct.  On a realistic scale though, it comes down to risk tolerance.

Right now, I'm sitting with $9,000 worth of gear in my backpack.  This is currently my hobby.  If my backpack were to disappear, I'd be crushed, and not able to repurchase the gear.  It would take me several years to rebuild my collection.  For me, the risk of losing the insurance premium by not using it is far outweighed, by the potential risk of $9,000. 

The math doesn't make sense to insure when you include the risk of actually using all 9k of gear.  But I am not an insurance company that can afford to "write off" the capital loss.  For an insurance company, it makes sense to insure me, I'm likely 100% profit.  But to me, the cost is worth it.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Eagle Eye on February 17, 2013, 11:04:46 AM
I have my 5d Mark II, 17-40L, 24-105L, 24-70L, 70-200L, 50L, 100L Macro, 135L, 28 1.8, 85 1.8, 580EXII, and Gitzo tripod  all fully insured for the cost of brand new replacement through USAA for $118 annually. Replacement costs were pulled from B&H and are typically higher than what I actually paid (why lenses are a great investment). This covers every possible source of loss or damage, from theft to dropped out of a helicopter at 3000 feet. There's no deductible. I live in Texas.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: miah on February 17, 2013, 12:25:10 PM
Like several other posters, I don't "believe" in insurance, think it's generally a raw deal, and buy as little of it as possible. That said, all $15K worth of my photo gear is fully insured with State Farm.

Their Personal Articles policy is a no-brainer. It's an excellent value for the money, which I've come to know first-hand: I hit a rock and dropped an EOS 10S/24-135mm film camera/lens in the San Juan river while canoeing and it was replaced with the next BETTER model, no questions asked; my Sony digital camcorder and some accessories were stolen while diving in St. Vincent and it was replaced with the next BETTER model, no questions asked; my iPod, new Sony camcorder and a bunch of accessories were stolen while motorcycling across Bolivia and they were replaced with the next BETTER model, no questions asked. All of this was zero deductible and the new gear was Fed Ex'ed to me overnight.

The fact is, everyone must weigh their own level of personal risk. I travel a lot, and can't possibly watch my gear 100% of the time. This is far different than the guy who keeps most of his gear safely stowed at home and takes a small kit out on weekends where it's always in his possession. My risk is relatively high, so much so that I'm surprised State Farm is willing to sell their policies at such reasonable rates and still cover loss or damage anywhere in the world. But if your risk is relatively low, self-insuring might be the better choice.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: RMC33 on February 17, 2013, 12:36:07 PM
I have my 5d Mark II, 17-40L, 24-105L, 24-70L, 70-200L, 50L, 100L Macro, 135L, 28 1.8, 85 1.8, 580EXII, and Gitzo tripod  all fully insured for the cost of brand new replacement through USAA for $118 annually. Replacement costs were pulled from B&H and are typically higher than what I actually paid (why lenses are a great investment). This covers every possible source of loss or damage, from theft to dropped out of a helicopter at 3000 feet. There's no deductible. I live in Texas.

Thats not bad at all!
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 17, 2013, 03:50:04 PM
But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay. Compare the insurance premiums with what the bank would charge for a loan. If insurance company wants 2.5% of the value of the item and interest rate in the bank is 5%, you'd have to figure you break half of your gear for insurance to make sense.
What are you talking about? ... You don't have to break half your gear for insurance to make sense, my 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II alone costs around $ 2000 ... paying 2.5% (i.e. $50 a year) is peanuts compared to not having an insurance and having the lens stolen/lost ... would you rather pay $ 50 or $ 2000.
Recently someone stole my 24-40 f/2.9 L II lens, unfortunately I had no insurance (insurance for camera gear, does not exist in this coountry) and I cannot buy the 24-70 L II again ... but if I had insurance, paying that $50 would have made helluva lot of sense.

50 bucks a year? What insurance company is this? I just went online and got a quote for $600 a year. And thats not pro cover. That would be the cost of a small lens every year! Pretty sure I could afford NOT to pay that!
Clearly you have not read some of the quotes given by others here in the thread (e.g. florianbieler.de & Eagle Eye ... florianbieler.de also gave a web link which you can check it out yourself). BTW Which insurance company gave you the quote of "$600 a year"? what annual percentage were they charging you? and what is the total value of the gear? 
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: tapanit on February 17, 2013, 11:46:59 PM
But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay.
What are you talking about? ... You don't have to break half your gear for insurance to make sense, my 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II alone costs around $ 2000 ... paying 2.5% (i.e. $50 a year) is peanuts compared to not having an insurance and having the lens stolen/lost ... would you rather pay $ 50 or $ 2000.
OK, I oversimplified the numbers, but really... would you rather pay $2000 now or $50/year forever? How about $500/month? If you preferred $50/month, congratulations, you've understood the time value of money.

Where exactly it breaks even depends on the interest rate etc, but nonetheless there is a monthly sum that's effectively the price of an "eternal loan" for $2000. For argument's sake let's say it's $200/month. Then your choice would be certain loss of $50/month with insurance, or possible loss of $200/month without. How likely would you have to be to destroy the camera for insurance to make sense?

And finally, do you think you can estimate that probability better than insurance companies?
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: tapanit on February 18, 2013, 01:29:13 AM
I insure nothing. Regardless of how high the risk is, I'm sure the insurance companies have figured it out better than I could, and if it's profitable for them, it can't be for me, in the long run.
On a grand scale, for long-term you're correct.  On a realistic scale though, it comes down to risk tolerance.
Of course. I wasn't arguing nobody should take insurance, only explaining why I don't. Mostly it comes down to mental risk tolerance, rather than financial - how you feel about uncertainty.

I also travel a lot and take chances with my gear. I've traveled in places where I was told "robbery is near  certainty", and I have once destroyed a DSLR by slipping on a rock while crossing a river (an L lens also got wet but was fine after cleaning). But no regrets: I've done the math, and if I'd consistently insured my photo gear over the 15 years (at the time) I'd been using SLRs it would've cost me way more than replacing that body did.
Quote
I am not an insurance company that can afford to "write off" the capital loss.  For an insurance company, it makes sense to insure me, I'm likely 100% profit.  But to me, the cost is worth it.
Then by all means pay it. For me, it isn't, so I don't.
Title: Re: Is your midrange gear insured?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 18, 2013, 01:16:42 PM
But in general, especially for a hobbyist, insurance does not pay. Compare the insurance premiums with what the bank would charge for a loan. If insurance company wants 2.5% of the value of the item and interest rate in the bank is 5%, you'd have to figure you break half of your gear for insurance to make sense.
What are you talking about? ... You don't have to break half your gear for insurance to make sense, my 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II alone costs around $ 2000 ... paying 2.5% (i.e. $50 a year) is peanuts compared to not having an insurance and having the lens stolen/lost ... would you rather pay $ 50 or $ 2000.
OK, I oversimplified the numbers, but really... would you rather pay $2000 now or $50/year forever? How about $500/month? If you preferred $50/month, congratulations, you've understood the time value of money.

Where exactly it breaks even depends on the interest rate etc, but nonetheless there is a monthly sum that's effectively the price of an "eternal loan" for $2000. For argument's sake let's say it's $200/month. Then your choice would be certain loss of $50/month with insurance, or possible loss of $200/month without. How likely would you have to be to destroy the camera for insurance to make sense?

And finally, do you think you can estimate that probability better than insurance companies?
You have gone from over simplifying to over complicated, we are talking about 2.5% insurance per year ... so I'm not sure what you are goin on about "eternal loan" and $200/month ???
I am really interested to know which insurance company is charging you $200/month (i.e. $1200 per year for a $2000 lens) ::)