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adam satushek
2-May-2014, 10:08
Hi All,

I have posted the same question on Rangefinder Forum, but I wanted to check here to see if I can get a good diversity of responses. Also, I've been away from this forum too long...as I have been shooting mostly rangefinders...but the question should apply to LF gear.

I have read some threads on this and it seems that many people have coverage for their cameras through their homeowners or renters insurance either as part of the standard policy or through special riders.

I am traveling to Costa Rica the end of this month, not overly worried about theft or anything, but just to be cautious I checked with the company that provides my renters insurance to see if my equipment would be covered if something happened. I will be bringing a couple Leicas and a couple Mamiya 7IIs. After talking with 4 insurance representatives I finally got a definitive response: My policy would cover loss due to theft or fire even while traveling, or I could add a special endorsement for my gear that would cover accidents as well. However, the big catch is that I have a website, and occasionally (every couple of years) sell photographs that may have been taken with the gear. So now my cameras are business related and are only covered for $2500 in my house and $250 off premises.

So, I was wondering what people in similar situations do? I participate in business activities when I sell photographs through my gallery, but I also work full time and am in grad school so this doesn't currently happen as much as I would like. I also have a slew of LF gear and a drum scanner that seem to not be covered past the $2500/$250 limits. I will contact some local insurance companies and see what they can offer, but I wanted to see what other people who use their gear for a business do for insurance? Purchase business insurance? Just hope nothing happens? Assume that homeowners/renters insurance will come through?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Adam

Luis-F-S
2-May-2014, 10:10
You can get insurance through the Professional Photographers of America if you're a member.

adam satushek
2-May-2014, 10:19
You can get insurance through the Professional Photographers of America if you're a member.

I am not a member, and the rates for insurance look reasonable, but once you add in the yearly/mouthy membership fee its seems expensive. Do you recommend this coverage? Seems like it could be a good option, but a bit pricey once membership is considered.

vinny
2-May-2014, 10:31
get a photo gear rider through your renters/homeowner's policy. they usually have two types-pro and not. if you make money from photography they classify it as pro and the rates are higher.

bdkphoto
2-May-2014, 10:51
Hi All,

I have posted the same question on Rangefinder Forum, but I wanted to check here to see if I can get a good diversity of responses. Also, I've been away from this forum too long...as I have been shooting mostly rangefinders...but the question should apply to LF gear.

I have read some threads on this and it seems that many people have coverage for their cameras through their homeowners or renters insurance either as part of the standard policy or through special riders.

I am traveling to Costa Rica the end of this month, not overly worried about theft or anything, but just to be cautious I checked with the company that provides my renters insurance to see if my equipment would be covered if something happened. I will be bringing a couple Leicas and a couple Mamiya 7IIs. After talking with 4 insurance representatives I finally got a definitive response: My policy would cover loss due to theft or fire even while traveling, or I could add a special endorsement for my gear that would cover accidents as well. However, the big catch is that I have a website, and occasionally (every couple of years) sell photographs that may have been taken with the gear. So now my cameras are business related and are only covered for $2500 in my house and $250 off premises.

So, I was wondering what people in similar situations do? I participate in business activities when I sell photographs through my gallery, but I also work full time and am in grad school so this doesn't currently happen as much as I would like. I also have a slew of LF gear and a drum scanner that seem to not be covered past the $2500/$250 limits. I will contact some local insurance companies and see what they can offer, but I wanted to see what other people who use their gear for a business do for insurance? Purchase business insurance? Just hope nothing happens? Assume that homeowners/renters insurance will come through?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Adam

You will find that to cover your equipment properly a real business policy is necessary. There are many polices available through the trade organizations PPA, ASMP, APA WPPI, etc. If you are in grad school you might be able to join as a student member and still receive a discount on the insurance.

adam satushek
2-May-2014, 10:59
vinny: Unfortunately my insurance will not allow me to add any photo equipment as scheduled property because it is occasionally used for business. I just called them again, and confirmed that my gear is not covered and they cannot cover it. I guess they don't offer any business insurance...I will probably be looking to change coverage...but this is unlikely to happen in the next few weeks before my trip.

bdkphoto: I will look more into those associations and the insurance options they offer. Seems you might be correct that I need business insurance. I am in grad school, not for photography, but maybe I can still get a student discount...I will certainly look into it.

vinny
2-May-2014, 11:07
fyi, I currently have liberty mutual and had state farm prior. the state farm add on policy was somewhere around $300/year as non pro and that is based on $$ amount of coverage.

Randy Moe
2-May-2014, 11:18
I joined PPA this week.

Greg Miller
2-May-2014, 11:26
I get my insurance from Chubb via NANPA. NANPA membership is about $100. Chubb has been good and recently covered a $3,000 claim for a totaled pro DSLR body without any hassles.

bdkphoto
2-May-2014, 11:33
vinny: Unfortunately my insurance will not allow me to add any photo equipment as scheduled property because it is occasionally used for business. I just called them again, and confirmed that my gear is not covered and they cannot cover it. I guess they don't offer any business insurance...I will probably be looking to change coverage...but this is unlikely to happen in the next few weeks before my trip.

bdkphoto: I will look more into those associations and the insurance options they offer. Seems you might be correct that I need business insurance. I am in grad school, not for photography, but maybe I can still get a student discount...I will certainly look into it.

I know ASMP has multiple membership categories and all of them will have the same benefit for insurance. If you reach out to the CO chapter they will be glad to get you on board in the proper category - if you are in grad school and doing photo work on the side you may still be able to join as a student- I would certainly ask, most certainly as an emerging associate. You will find the cost of membership quickly offset by by the discount(s) and even the programming - stuff like the fine art reviews etc. are well worthwhile. ( For clarity I serve on the National ASMP Board, and used to run the NYC chapter ). You will find similar things with the other photo trade associations.
If you have a website and can be seen doing business in photography the homeowners plans will not cover you properly. I've seen many folks caught short when trying to file a claim. I've signed up several new members here in NYC just for this reason.

jp
2-May-2014, 12:36
I wouldn't bother with insurance.

If you ran a real business and NEEDED insurance for liability and/or risk losing a $3000 wedding gig because a pelican case with all your DSLRs in it grew legs and disappeared, then be insured for a couple hundred dollars.

For recreational use or rare business opportunity you don't depend on, keep your money and take care of the equipment. In gambling, the house always wins they say, in insurance, you are the gambler and the insurance company is the house. Statistics are on their side and that's the business. Yeh, losing a leica or mamiya 7 would be pretty sad, but if they are paid for and you're not depending on it for income, and you have other cameras, you are not at risk. You just have a little bit less "stuff'.

ROL
2-May-2014, 15:20
I wouldn't bother with insurance.

If you ran a real business and NEEDED insurance for liability and/or risk losing a $3000 wedding gig because a pelican case with all your DSLRs in it grew legs and disappeared, then be insured for a couple hundred dollars.

For recreational use or rare business opportunity you don't depend on, keep your money and take care of the equipment. In gambling, the house always wins they say, in insurance, you are the gambler and the insurance company is the house. Statistics are on their side and that's the business. Yeh, losing a leica or mamiya 7 would be pretty sad, but if they are paid for and you're not depending on it for income, and you have other cameras, you are not at risk. You just have a little bit less "stuff'.

That's harsh. I suspect many of us are between the two extremes you define, being semi-professional whatever that is. Even at that, a couple of hun a year isn't much for replacement that can easily go into the thousands in case the inevitable happens. Yes, unfortunately inevitable for many of us. I lost an entire M7II kit, locked and out of site in my vehicle, while parked for a short time in SF many years ago (I lived in SF near the Tenderloin for a couple of years and never suffered any losses). It was my main, and only 120 system at the time. True, I would have had less stuff and also no need to buy any more 120 film (what a load lifted?!?). It would have been, and still is, an unrecoverable loss without insurance. It actually turned out better than that since Mamiya was offering free a lens with new body and lens purchase. It is unrealistic to believe that, try as we might, we are always in charge of our circumstances.

I understand the PPA, of which I have never been a member, for the sole reason that I do not consider myself to be a professional photographer, also offers a very good Square type substitute for POP on-line purchases.

Drew Wiley
2-May-2014, 15:36
Check your homeowner's as well as auto insurance theft policy first. Equip insurance for a business per se is generally much more expensive. IF your photography
business is a second source of income, or a "hobby" rather than your full time occupation, you MIGHT already be well covered, and covered with less deduction than
a business policy would entail. Or a modest rider to your existing coverage might be all you need. It doesn't hurt to ask your agent.

Barry Trabitz
2-May-2014, 22:04
If you qualify, USAA offers a very reasonable valuable property insurance policy.

Wayne
12-May-2014, 21:22
Exercise is the best insurance.

If you exercise and they steal your gear at least you'll have your health.

Richard Johnson
13-May-2014, 06:46
The problem with many policies is that if you do make a claim, the insurance company will go out of their way to prove that you are a professional, including searching forums like this one for your posts. Any indication that you are serious... so little as a Tumblr or a business card, will disqualify you from regular homeowners coverage.

All of the professional policies I've seen have bundled professional liability and electronics coverage along with photo equipment coverage, so you end up paying for more than you need in most cases. That's not a bad thing in most cases but I haven't seen any professional policy for less than $500/year with $10K equipment.

Also, actually making a claim and collecting is not for the faint of heart. So if $500/year is too much then self-insuring - or limiting how much gear you travel with - keeping your choices on the modest side - is not a bad policy. I wouldn't travel with a Mamiya and Leica kit myself, I'd opt for a smaller kit that I could keep on my person 24-7 or go with cheaper stuff. When we to China next year I'm taking good but reasonable priced gear that won't be irreplaceable even though I have a professional policy because I'd expect it might be $500 worth of hassle to make a claim should I have a problem overseas.

Frankly if you think you can afford expensive camera gear but balk at the insurance, then the reality is that you really can't afford the expensive camera gear at all.

paulr
24-Jul-2015, 09:53
The problem with many policies is that if you do make a claim, the insurance company will go out of their way to prove that you are a professional, including searching forums like this one for your posts. Any indication that you are serious... so little as a Tumblr or a business card, will disqualify you from regular homeowners coverage.

Do you know this from experience? If so, how recent and what state? I'm not doubting you, just trying to get the most accurate educated guesses. We're in the process of getting long-overdue homeowner's insurance and it would be nice to have my gear insured (for the first time ever).

My professional status is, shall we say, ambiguous. My annual income from photography has ranged from negative many-thousands to positive many-thousands. Far more negative years than positive, although inconveniently I'll have significant taxable photographic income this year (all from print sales and crowd-funding; none from commercial work).

I'm just hoping there's a way to include the gear on the regular homeowners plan. The deprecated value of the gear is probably under $8000.

Ari
24-Jul-2015, 10:06
Paul, there is some truth to what Richard has stated. The insurance companies will want to be clear on how you use your photo equipment (pro, amateur) so they can quote you rates accordingly.
I found a company in Canada, AON, that doesn't care whether or not you're a pro. They will insure your gear for whatever amount you want (minimum $5K, I believe), and if anything happens to it, file a claim and that's it.
They did away with some traditional variables such as percentage of income derived from photography, pro/amateur, etc., and made it more straightforward.
It was set up in response to the incredibly expensive insurance rates levied upon photographers in Canada who are, like you, ambiguously professional.
My quote for $20K worth of gear was about $650/year, and FWIW, I'm not a customer, just someone who looked into it.

Corran
24-Jul-2015, 10:22
I'm pretty sure if you get paid at any time and use your equipment for such, you will not be able to register it under your homeowners.

I researched this extensively for my audio equipment and was told that by my insurance company and many full-time pros in the business. Photo gear shouldn't be any different I don't think. You should consult your insurance company either way.

paulr
24-Jul-2015, 10:52
Thanks! That's all helpful. I'll do some more research.

bdkphoto
24-Jul-2015, 10:59
Do you know this from experience? If so, how recent and what state? I'm not doubting you, just trying to get the most accurate educated guesses. We're in the process of getting long-overdue homeowner's insurance and it would be nice to have my gear insured (for the first time ever).

My professional status is, shall we say, ambiguous. My annual income from photography has ranged from negative many-thousands to positive many-thousands. Far more negative years than positive, although inconveniently I'll have significant taxable photographic income this year (all from print sales and crowd-funding; none from commercial work).

I'm just hoping there's a way to include the gear on the regular homeowners plan. The deprecated value of the gear is probably under $8000.

This question came up often when I ran the NYC membership for ASMP. Homeowners plans will not cover you when you are doing business. I've heard lots of real stories of folks getting caught short when trying to file a claim. OTOH a basic business policy will allow for replacement costs and provide you with basic liability coverage ( and full replacement for your office computers etc.) along with the ability to have certificates issued when needed on location. ( just try to do any shoot in a commercial bldg without one....)

Randy Moe
24-Jul-2015, 11:17
That's why I keep screaming, 'I am a hobbiest!" and will not take payment for anything.

And I don't.

Drew Wiley
24-Jul-2015, 11:40
Everything depends on your SPECIFIC homeowner policy. Mine allowed me to add my gear even though I was technically pro. Same with my brother. Generally you're going to get far more affordable coverage with a lower deductible using Homeowner's. But ya gotta ASK first!

emh
24-Jul-2015, 15:27
If you derive any taxable income, or write off any photo related expenses (equipment/lab costs/ etc.), travel expenses, or live in a jurisdiction where a permit/license is required to run a business from your home (assuming you have the license), a homeowners policy will not cover your equipment.