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Author Topic: Insurance policies for photographers  (Read 14806 times)

Eric Bowers

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Insurance policies for photographers
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:37:40 PM »
I'm needing to get all of my photo equipment insured. It's insane actually that at this point I haven't done so yet as I'd be up a creek if I got mugged and my camera bag were jacked.

Can anyone offer tips on who to check around with? There's the Hill and Usher people on the Internet who market their company as specific to photo and media pros, and I've gotten some information from them, but also wanted to hear extra input.

It would be a policy that would cover two bodies, plus lenses, plus my computer equipment.

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Insurance policies for photographers
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:37:40 PM »

that1guy

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 03:08:49 PM »
I actually just carry a personal articles policy w/ State Farm.  I have all of my gear insured and it doesn't cost that much.  You can get a regular policy, or a professional policy (if you make money w/ your gear).  The pro policy really doesn't add much at all to the cost.  It is pretty straightforward...I just give them a list of my gear w/ serial numbers and it gets added to the policy.  You'll have to contact them for the fine print details.  Hope that helps!

Actually, this reminds me...I need to update mine :)

Edwin Herdman

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 07:20:40 PM »
I asked about this and got an opinion that the only reasonable way to do it (assuming you have home insurance) is to take out a personal articles rider, just like that1guy suggests.  Otherwise you have to open a whole new policy and it sounds like it'd be a lot more expensive than necessary.

gene_can_sing

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 08:37:24 PM »
Yes, insurance is VERY important as I have just learned. I had a personal articles policy with State Farm. It costed about $180 a year for 10K of coverage on my 7D package. I was down in Peru filming and had my kit backpack STOLEN. I was super, super bummed.

It took State Farm about 1 1/2 months, but they re-imbursed me for FULL VALUE. Which is absolutely incredible.

State Farm is probably the BEST insurance company I've dealt with.

With that said, the Personal Articles policy is suppose to be for NON-PROFESSIONAL use, so it's kind of a grey area, especially for me since I mostly used my 7D for personal video projects, but I do work in Television in Los Angeles so the line is blurred. But when we do shoots, we mostly just rent a RED, but the 7D is in the mix sometimes.

My friend who I works for owns a production studio and they insurance all their equipment and liability with Hartford Insurance.

Maybe if you're making money off your package, you might need to do a more professional based insurance so there is no grey line. But that will be more expensive. Some of the quotes from Hollywood type companies were about $350 a year for 10K of camera stuff.

Hope that helps

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 08:43:29 PM »
My homeowners policy covers it at no extra charge, however, each policy can be different, and not everyone is a homeowner.  Ask your insurance agent, or check with one like
State Farm.  Many of them will only cover you as a add-on to a existing policy.

Norkusa

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2011, 12:24:10 AM »
I was just reading up on photo insurance policies yesterday and I'm still confused on what and where to buy (I'm in the US). The main thing is that I live with my dad, so the homeowner's insurance policy is in his name. Does that make a difference?

I've got a 7D + lenses that I spent around $8k on last year. I'm looking for a policy that will not only cover damage, but stolen *AND* lost equipment too. My main fear is having my bag snatched when I've got my back turned and I've read that most policies don't consider this theft and will not cover it.

wtlloyd

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 10:45:01 AM »
Don't use your homeowner's policy, you risk a premium increase if you have a claim. And, if you have ever made a nickle from anyone through photography, they can deny your claim.
Join NAPP and get insurance through them, or go direct:

http://www.tcpinsurance.com/photographer.html

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 10:45:01 AM »

dwward

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2011, 12:40:17 PM »
Don't use your homeowner's policy, you risk a premium increase if you have a claim. And, if you have ever made a nickle from anyone through photography, they can deny your claim...

I too have a Personal Articles Rider on my State Farm homeowners which costs me $162 for $10k in coverage.  This coverage includes lost or stolen equipment even while overseas.  I actually need to update mine as well with the addition of a 7D and a couple new lens. 

While I can't speak to other homeowners policies, claims against my personal articles policy does not affect my homeowners rates.  If State Farm were to ever deem the claims to be excessive, they simply dropped the personal articles policies.  Your mileage may very.

It's important to understand that most 'standard' homeowners policies include photo equipment, they are completely inadequate for anything beyond a basic Rebel kit. 

The professional policy suggested as an alternative is many times more expensive and also appears to be a full blown professional liability policy designed to insure a photography business as opposed to just photo equipment.  These are apples and oranges we are talking about. 

For those of us who are amateurs with a lot of expensive equipment who only very occasionally sell a photo, a personal articles rider is most likely the most cost effective way to insure our equipment.  And no, the fact that you once sold a photo does not preclude you from have protection under a homeowners or renters rider.  If in doubt, as your insurance agent.  You can rely on his or her advice as they are legal agents of the insurance company.

If your photography "hobby" requires an IRS Schedule C every year, you need a professional policy. 

When looking at equipment policies pay attention to the fine print and make sure the policy you buy is "primary" coverage as opposed to "secondary".  Secondary policies (like the ones they sell you at the rental car counter) require you first make a claim with your homeowners policy. 

My 2 cents.

Norkusa

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2011, 03:45:33 PM »
I was just able to get coverage under my dad's homeowner policy (Hartford) for only $90 per year for $8500 worth of equipment, which is a lot better than I expected to pay. I could have had free coverage but that would have been for Cash Value only, which only covers what the gear is worth used and not what I paid for it new.

The only thing I didn't like about the policy is that it didn't cover "mysterious disappearance". So if I set my bag down and turn my back for a second and someone steals it, they won't cover me. Covers damage, mugging, and anything that happens to it in my home though, so I'm happy with the policy.

prestonpalmer

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 01:28:10 AM »
As another reminder.  If you use your camera equipment to make money...YOU ARE NOT COVERED UNDER A HOMEOWNERS POLICY!!!!!!.  Let me make sure you guys understand what I am saying...  If you have used your camera equipment at anytime in the past to make money. IE, you took a photo and sold it OR were paid to take photos of something, then YOU ARE NOT COVERED UNDER YOUR HOMEOWNERS POLICY!!

Every homeowner policy has an exclusion for "Commercial Use."  Basically the insurance company is happy to collect your premium, if there is ever an equipment claim, they will do a Google search for your name, if you have a website, and it says you charge for photos.  They aren't going to cover you.  They might at best return your premium payments for the rider policy.  But that's it.  they make A LOT of money on "commercial / professional" photographers who pay premiums and don't make claims.  But if you ever make one you are in trouble.  Go with a company specifically designed to cover you.  I personally use MARSH as a PPA member.  $100 deductible on any claim.  I have over 30K of equipment insured with them.

~Preston

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2011, 08:33:26 AM »
I recently talked with my insurance provider USAA about theft in my home since there had been a break-in across the street.  They said that theft was covered; however, they said if I wanted to cover my camera equipment, I could pay only $2.50 a month or so for it.  This covers body and lenses.  Covers loss, accidental damage, and theft.  I was thinking, not too shabby!

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2011, 08:44:41 AM »
I use a separate policy for my camera gear and laptop through State Farm. I think it costs $1.44 (Canada Pro Rate) per every $100 of value a year. It's cheaper if you're not a "pro".

There is no deductible for a claim and you're paid the full value of what you own, not a depreciated value. Watch for depreciated value fine print.

A lot of homeowners policies only cover up to a certain amount for camera/electronics. I know mine only covers up to $5000 and has a $500 deductible.

I have a friend who has made an $18,000 claim and a $11,000 claim through State Farm for gear that was stolen while he was abroad (smash and grab & at gun point). He probably has one claim left before they say "see ya!".



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kubelik

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 09:10:30 AM »
I have a friend who has made an $18,000 claim and a $11,000 claim through State Farm for gear that was stolen while he was abroad (smash and grab & at gun point). He probably has one claim left before they say "see ya!".

read about the argentina robbery on ethan's blog back in the day ... but like a true photographer, he managed to still come away with some top notch shots just using an xti.

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 09:10:30 AM »

Norkusa

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2011, 07:58:04 PM »
As another reminder.  If you use your camera equipment to make money...YOU ARE NOT COVERED UNDER A HOMEOWNERS POLICY!!!!!!.  Let me make sure you guys understand what I am saying...  If you have used your camera equipment at anytime in the past to make money. IE, you took a photo and sold it OR were paid to take photos of something, then YOU ARE NOT COVERED UNDER YOUR HOMEOWNERS POLICY!!

Yeah, we hear ya. I made sure to ask about this when setting up my policy and they told me a commercial policy would have been $550/year for up to $100k of coverage. Since I don't make any money off my photos (yet), the homeowners policy is good enough for me.

BTW, is there any way the insurance company could check if you've ever made money using your equipment? I could see how it'd be difficult to hide something like that if you have a website or listed it on your tax returns, but for someone that shoots portraits once in a while for some extra cash on the side isn't in danger of NOT being covered by their homeowners policy, are they?

prestonpalmer

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2011, 04:00:39 AM »
Norkusa

If you don't have a website and are not claiming any income through your corporation, LLC or personal returns you are likely OK.

When you do start making money, go with a policy designed for photographers.  I know a State Farm underwriter who told me that claims in excess of $10,000 are generally looked at and that there must be "reasonable doubt" that the equipment is not being used commercially.  If they do have "reasonable doubt" they will just return your premium to you... say a few hundred bucks, and say sorry man.  That equipment has made you money. 

Chances of this happening of course are slim, but the more equipment you have the bigger the concern.

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Re: Insurance policies for photographers
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2011, 04:00:39 AM »