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Photography equipment insurance in focus

16/03/2020

Photography equipment insurance pays for repairs or replacement if your camera's crocked.

In the same way that a case and lens cap protect your camera, so the right photography equipment insurance protects your business.

You rely on your kit as much as your skill in operating it to do your job, and a smashed DSLR or missing flashgun can spell instant trouble. Replacing gear at short notice is impractical and expensive, and since cancelled jobs mean unhappy customers and lost money, it’s better to have a plan B.

That’s where photographers’ equipment insurance comes in. But you need to make sure you:

  • Get the right policy for what you do
  • Buy enough cover for ALL your equipment
  • Stick to the conditions set out in your policy wording if you want your claim paid.

Here's everything you need to know.

Why won’t my home contents insurance cover my gear?

Good question. If you store your gear at home, you’d expect it to be covered by your home contents insurance, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as that – you need to check your policy wording very carefully. The clue’s in the name and many home contents policies make a distinction between items for personal use and those for business use.

Then there’s the whole matter of high-value. As a rule of thumb, there’s a value limit for items insured under home contents cover, usually around the £1,500 mark. Anything above that needs to be ‘named’. So, if you have expensive specialist kit like cameras, lenses, and laptops loaded up with image-processing software, beware.

And going back to the crucial ‘home’ part of general contents insurance, don’t forget that you take your kit out and about with you, away from the home. That means to protect your gear while you’re working, you’d need to arrange ‘extra cover’, at an extra price.

Photography equipment insurance is specifically designed for the needs of professional photographers. So it’s a much better bet.

Can I cover just some of my kit with photography equipment insurance?

In short, no.

To make sure you’re not left out of pocket, you need to add up the value of all the things you use to run your business, from the most expensive technical kit to the everyday bits and pieces. Then buy enough photography gear insurance to cover everything.

Because if the whole lot goes missing in a burglary, you’ll want to be able to claim for all of it, not just some of it, or up to a certain amount. Be aware also that you need to value items at their replacement cost, not what you paid for them in the first place.

Another temptation might be only to insure a proportion of your equipment – say a standard combination of a camera, a tripod and a couple of lenses. It’s the gear that you’d typically take to a job.

But you probably have other cameras and equipment stashed in your storeroom. And you’re working on the assumption that because you don’t use it all at once, you only need to insure the kit that you’re most likely to have with you at any one time.

Unfortunately, that makes you underinsured and it means your insurer can reduce your claim by applying what’s called the ‘average rule’. It’s a comparison between the amount your equipment is insured for and the true value of all your business kit. If, say, there’s a 20% difference between the two, your claim may be reduced by the same amount.

Ouch.

What happens if not having the kit I need stops me working? 

A good photography equipment insurance policy will pay for you to hire the kit you need to tide you over in the meantime if yours is sent away for repair, or there’s a delay in sourcing a replacement.

That can be a godsend if you’ve already got jobs booked in. It keeps your revenue on a roll and means you don’t have to risk your reputation by letting clients down at short notice.

Usually, you’ll have to source the equipment you need yourself, get a rental price and clear it with your insurer first. But that’s a small price (not) to pay to keep your business firing on all cylinders

Does my photography equipment insurance cover me abroad?  

As usual, it depends on your policy wording. So read it carefully. Many photography equipment policies will only cover you for the work you do within UK borders, to fulfil contracts written under British law.

But it’s often possible to extend your cover to include any jobs you’ve lined up further afield, both within the European Union and worldwide. Extending cover will increase what you pay a little bit of course, but that’s because the insurer is taking on more risk.

So, it’s common sense, whichever way you look at it.

How can I help make sure my equipment claim will be successful?

It’s important that you play by the rules of your policy wording. And where photography equipment is concerned, that usually means making certain you don’t leave your kit anywhere it could more easily fall victim to light fingers.

Basically, you need to make sure your gear is as safe as it can be. So, if you leave it in a vehicle temporarily, it has to be out of sight in a locked compartment like the boot or glove compartment. Likewise, any gear you’re not actually using while on a shoot should be stored in a locked room.

Your data also needs taking care of, so you should make certain to back it up regularly. And that doesn't just mean transferring images from a memory card onto your laptop. It means keeping a second copy as a safeguard.

Other things that will help state your case for a claim include keeping receipts for the equipment you buy and taking photographs (all in a day’s work) of any items you no longer have proof-of-purchase for. That way, you have your own personal inventory.

Is my equipment covered if it stops working?

You can claim under your professional camera equipment insurance if, say, you drop your DSLR (butterfingers!) and it stops functioning as a direct result. That’s straightforward accidental damage.

But if your camera or anything else fails during a shoot because of a mechanical or electrical fault, then it’s not covered. For that, you need equipment breakdown insurance, which covers your computers too. It’ll also pay to help retrieve any data lost during the breakdown.

What equipment breakdown insurance doesn’t cover though is when a piece of kit stops working through wear and tear. That’s just life.

Snap happy

So, to put things in focus, it's fair to say that photographers rely on their kit to run their business. A photographer without a camera is like a car mechanic without a wrench…or these days, without a suite of diagnostic testing equipment.

But just as a mechanics’ tools of the trade have become more complex and pricey over time, so has camera equipment. And photographers can amass quite a bit of gear as the years roll by. Gear they rely on to earn a living.

That’s why it makes sense to protect your kit and your livelihood with photography equipment insurance. If you’re ready to press the button on a quote, click here. Or you can call the team on 0345 222 5391.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.

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