Camera insurance for amateurs?

fatsilasfatsilas Big grinsRegistered Users Posts: 15 Big grins
edited February 3, 2010 in Cameras
Hi all, I don't really know if this is the right forum for this kind of question but I'm just looking in to getting some kind of insurance on my camera equipment. I'm not a professional and my camera gear is not worth all that much relative to what kind of set up professionals might have, but it's certainly more than I could afford to replace. I don't own a home, so the oft spoke of add on to homeowners insurance if off the table. And I also live in China for the time being and don't plan on living back in the USA anytime soon.

I'm just wondering what other amateur photographers do in the insurance field and would love any tips anyone can pass along.

Thanks,
erin

Comments

  • alexfalexf Nikon shooter Registered Users Posts: 436 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2010
    I don't know the insurance business in China (I am in the USA) but I can tell you I lost a camera years ago. Since then I made it a point (live and learn), to insure my equipment.

    I have it insured as part of my house contents insurance policy. I just list the items separately (camera and any lens over US$200). That way, should something happen I am covered. Once I sold a lens and bought a used replacement as an upgrade. I immediately contacted the insurance company to drop the old lens and the new one. The yearly fees are very reasonable and the process is simple.

    Professional or amateur does not matter. You should have coverage.
    AlexFeldsteinPhotography.com
    Nikon D700, D300, D80 and assorted glass, old and new.
  • rwellsrwells Let the shootin' begin... Registered Users Posts: 6,084 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2010
    I also don't know about insurance in China. You might check with the PPA to see if their insurance coverage includes China.


    About the Homeowners policy:

    This has been covered several times. A HO policy WILL NOT provide coverage for your equipment IF you use it for business purposes, even part-time. Anyone who even offers pictures for sale (on smugmug for example) is trying to make a salable product, therefore constitutes a business purpose.

    Yes, you CAN claim that you don't do that, and if NONE of your pics are for sale or potential pay, then a HO policy will provide some coverage. (Check policy for specific details)

    However, as stated, if any pics are even available for purchase, then that's considered for business purposes.

    This info is NOT speculation nor second hand info on my part...


    To the OP, I know you aren't considering a HO policy, but once again I posted the above to keep that untrue rumor at bay for other readers.
    Randy
  • BradfordBennBradfordBenn Constantly Amazed Registered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2010
    I don't know insurance either, but have you thought about renter's insurance? When I lived in an apartment that is what I used for this coverage. One might also be able to get an umbrella type policy for these, but I am by no means an expert.
    -=Bradford

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  • PhotoskipperPhotoskipper Major grins Registered Users Posts: 453 Major grins
    edited January 25, 2010
    I doubt there is any insurance specially cover camera in China.

    You may consider the general household and personal insurance or even the travel insurance if you are not using the camera for any "business activities"

    My brother worked there and the company put up the comprehensive insurance for personal and property for him. He lost a P&S camera and only top up 10% to get a newer model in a week.

    Travel insurance do cover the property lost during the trip. It may help to recover some money if you happen to loss it. Household insurance cover anything loss at home due to theft or fire. It means you have certain coverage thru out. You don't really need a specific insurance for camera as ameture. Do keep all the receipt and document, police report for proof.
    Photoskipper
    flickr.com/photos/photoskipper/
  • Art ScottArt Scott Have PASSPORT will TRAVEL WICHITA, KS USARegistered Users Posts: 8,959 Major grins
    edited January 25, 2010
    In all of the cases I have had....my cameras, fishing and hunting equiptment had to go on an INLAND MARINE insurance rider when i bought a home....the renters rider was not Inland Marine but I cannot remember what the heck it was and they were about $50-100 extra a year.......I would have no cluse as to what you'd even look for in China.
    "Genuine Fractals was, is and will always be the best solution for enlarging digital photos." ....Vincent Versace ... ... COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK ONLINE ... ... My Website

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,654 moderator
    edited January 26, 2010
    [quote=rwellsAbout the Homeowners policy:

    This has been covered several times. A HO policy WILL NOT provide coverage for your equipment IF you use it for business purposes, even part-time. Anyone who even offers pictures for sale (on smugmug for example) is trying to make a salable product, therefore constitutes a business purpose.[/quote]

    The other thing to watch out for is that if your policy is a rider to your homeowners policy, one claim on your camera gear could cause your insurance company to cancel your entire home policy, or at least put you into a higher-risk rating. Therefore, you should make sure your camera policy is NOT tied into your homeowners policy.

    Although, now I'm a bit nervous about the Smugmug connection now. Randy, what do you do? It might be time for me to switch to a pro policy.
  • aktseaktse Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,928 Major grins
    edited January 26, 2010
    Hobbyist in the US can purchase a personal article policy just for the camera gear from State Farm. Some agents will sell you one if you don't have a home owner's policy with them while others may require you to have one. The premiums are based on your status -- pro or non-pro. Basically, if have ever sold photos for money, you're considered a pro. Home owner insurance will not cover you.

    A "pro" policy usually covers gear and most importantly, liability and I believe the key words are ""Inland/Marine," separate rider" for these types of policies.

    Personally, I would move to a "pro" policy if I ever worked with models, work with clients, use off camera flash, shoot on location, invite people to shoot with me. ne_nau.gif It's very easy to have a model slip and fall, have lights fall on people, etc.

    dgrin search is your friend; this topic has been covered many times.

    These are a few insurance companies that seem to work well with pro photographers.
    Hill and Usher
    Marsh Affinity Group Services (PPA's insurance)
    Tom C Pickard.
    Prosurance (ASMP's insurance)
    Hartford

    Note: I'm not a insurance person. Talk to one for real info.
  • borrowlenses.comborrowlenses.com Major grins Registered Users Posts: 441 Major grins
    edited January 26, 2010
    It's best to call your insurance agent and specifically ask about your policy and what gear it covers and where. The inland marine policy is usually the best way to cover all your gear, but I think they can also just modify an existing policy as well.

    Again, call your insurance agent and ask them :)
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  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,654 moderator
    edited January 26, 2010
    Again, call your insurance agent and ask them :)

    Couldn't hurt to call. But unless you get it in writing, it's pretty much worthless. Me, I have an email into my insurance agent. mwink.gif
  • PhotometricPhotometric Calibrating for the light Registered Users Posts: 309 Major grins
    edited January 26, 2010
    On the PPA website, for the membership section, there is a FAQ regarding insurance at the bottom of the page.

    Here
    http://www.djdimages.com/

    "Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition."
    -- Abraham Lincoln
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,654 moderator
    edited January 27, 2010
    kdog wrote:
    Me, I have an email into my insurance agent. <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/mwink.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >
    So I heard back from my State Farm agent. To review, I have a separate non-professional policy for my camera gear with them. I told them I now sell prints on-line and asked if that violated my policy agreement. This is the response I got:

    "Covers cameras and related equipment when used professionally on a<o:p></o:p> part-time basis. We do have a professional cameras endorsement that can<o:p></o:p> be added to your policy if needed. Please advise free lance photography<o:p></o:p> is ineligible for coverage."

    Note that part-time professional use is OK, but "free lance" is not. I've got another email in to them asking for clarification. But, any takers on what the difference is between part-time professional and freelance? <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/headscratch.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >
  • rwellsrwells Let the shootin' begin... Registered Users Posts: 6,084 Major grins
    edited January 27, 2010
    kdog wrote:
    So I heard back from my State Farm agent. To review, I have a separate non-professional policy for my camera gear with them. I told them I now sell prints on-line and asked if that violated my policy agreement. This is the response I got:

    "Covers cameras and related equipment when used professionally on a<?xml:namespace prefix = o /><o:p></o:p> part-time basis. We do have a professional cameras endorsement that can<o:p></o:p> be added to your policy if needed. Please advise free lance photography<o:p></o:p> is ineligible for coverage."

    Note that part-time professional use is OK, but "free lance" is not. I've got another email in to them asking for clarification. But, any takers on what the difference is between part-time professional and freelance? <img src="https://us.v-cdn.net/6029383/emoji/headscratch.gif&quot; border="0" alt="" >

    Ask to see it in writing from the Underwriting department...

    That's where the rubber meets the road.

    Note: I would ask the agent to show me where it states that in your policy. That doesn't sound like policy language to me. The policy is what matters.
    Randy
  • fatsilasfatsilas Big grins Registered Users Posts: 15 Big grins
    edited January 27, 2010
    thanks
    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses, guess I'll have to do some investigating to see what kind of coverage I can get in China. I'll post what I find out, just in case anyone else wants to know.

    Thanks again, really appreciate it.

    erin
  • M38A1M38A1 Curious. Very curious. Registered Users Posts: 1,317 Major grins
    edited January 28, 2010
    I had a conversation with my State Farm agent today regarding camera/gear insurance. She said if there was any income generated from the use of the insured camera or gear, then there would be a coverage question should a loss occur if you went with a non-professional "personal article floater".

    So I asked a different way, and referenced I'm a total hobby shooter, yet someone might buy a print off the webhosting service I use, but that's strictly a function offered by the host. She again said if I generated any income, I needed the professional level policy.

    My next question was what is the difference between a hobby policy and a pro policy? With the pro policy, I can cover all my gear and accessories, and honestly, the cost difference is small.

    The hobby policy (no sales whatsoever) ran $1.34/100 of coverage and the pro ran $2.12/100 coverage. So on gear/accessories valued at $5,000, an annual hobby policy would be $67 and the pro policy $106.

    I think the pro policy would be preferred simply to alleviate any coverage questions.

    .
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,654 moderator
    edited January 28, 2010
    I heard back from my State Farm agent as well. After asking lots of questions, they finally decided that if I was selling prints on Smugmug, then I'd need the professional level insurance. I'm still waiting for them to get back with a quote. The PPA insurance is $2.40/$100 which is more than the State Farm numbers quoted above. Plus, you need to be a PPA member, which is a minimum of another $200/year. So State Farm might be a good deal. The only way to know for sure is to compare the actual policies. The devils are in the details of course. For example, according to one agent I talked to at Marsh Affinity, their non-PPA professional policies don't cover "mysterious disappearance". That happens for example if you say leave a camera bag at a shoot, realize your mistake, go back to get it, and it's gone. The PPA policy does cover that. But does State Farm? Who the hell knows. I told State Farm I wanted to see a sample policy, but have yet to hear back.
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited January 29, 2010
    Something else to look at when you read the policy and the quote .... is coverage for depreciated value or for full replacement? A VERY important distinction. Consider, for example, a 5DII. Replacement is circa $2,500. But, if you bought it 6 months ago, they (the insurance underwriter) might try to use a depreciated value of $1,000 to $1,500. What are you going to do for the balance to get a replacement camera.

    I looked at one such and it was for the depreciated value but the premiums didn't change over time. How does that work again? ne_nau.gif Needless to say, I didn't buy that deal.

    Also, most such riders don't cover the case where the camera get's a little too friendly with water. Or where the camera falls over the side of a boat and is now taking pictures of the fishies. For environmental photograpers (a term I use for those who shoot outdoors - which is most of us), these can and should be important considerations.
  • PhotoskipperPhotoskipper Major grins Registered Users Posts: 453 Major grins
    edited January 29, 2010
    Something else to look at when you read the policy and the quote .... is coverage for depreciated value or for full replacement? A VERY important distinction. Consider, for example, a 5DII. Replacement is circa $2,500. But, if you bought it 6 months ago, they (the insurance underwriter) might try to use a depreciated value of $1,000 to $1,500. What are you going to do for the balance to get a replacement camera.

    I looked at one such and it was for the depreciated value but the premiums didn't change over time. How does that work again? ne_nau.gif Needless to say, I didn't buy that deal.

    Also, most such riders don't cover the case where the camera get's a little too friendly with water. Or where the camera falls over the side of a boat and is now taking pictures of the fishies. For environmental photograpers (a term I use for those who shoot outdoors - which is most of us), these can and should be important considerations.

    In general, the insurance company only pay for the "replacement unit". It means what is the amount of dollar to buy the same item, with the same year use or conditions. They can even went all the way to the second hand shops to get the price and discount it before they pay you. Don't expect they pay you full amount. They will never give you sufficient to buy a new model.

    That is the reason I did "insure" my glasses and camera body. I only got the travel insurance to cover the "property damage or loss". The home insurance covers most of items at home. I believe that is sufficient to cover the "unlucky days"
    Photoskipper
    flickr.com/photos/photoskipper/
  • InsuredDisasterInsuredDisaster White Ghost Registered Users Posts: 1,132 Major grins
    edited February 2, 2010
    In general, the insurance company only pay for the "replacement unit". It means what is the amount of dollar to buy the same item, with the same year use or conditions. They can even went all the way to the second hand shops to get the price and discount it before they pay you. Don't expect they pay you full amount. They will never give you sufficient to buy a new model.

    That is the reason I did "insure" my glasses and camera body. I only got the travel insurance to cover the "property damage or loss". The home insurance covers most of items at home. I believe that is sufficient to cover the "unlucky days"


    I don't know if this is any help to you, but I'm a diver. I found out that I could get a dive policy that covers all my camera stuff to. I can't remember what it all cost off the top of my head. Anyway, the to biggest catch is that you must live in the USA. Well, my parents own a house and I use that as my address since I don't actually have a house overseas and I travel around a lot.

    I stepped on an SB-600 when shooting some skateboarders. I insured it for $250, and I got $150 back. They even said I could sell the busted old unit. The dedictible was $100.

    You might consiider taking up diving?
  • Art ScottArt Scott Have PASSPORT will TRAVEL WICHITA, KS USARegistered Users Posts: 8,959 Major grins
    edited February 2, 2010
    Most Insurance companies have a plethora of policies for equipment....some are, as Scott mentioned, a depreciative value on the equipment and some are for all risk replacement value.....You will pay a bit more for a full or all risk replacement value but for those of us that travel...it is well worth it.....especially if some litle irchin dumps his syrupy coca cola on to your brand new Top Model canon or Nikon ........I am currently doing a cpmparison of policies with Hill and Usher and Marsh from PPA........but like Scott, I am not interested in a depreciative calue policy.....only an all risk replacement policy.....and I am getting it to cover ALL my equipment not just cams and lenses.....the filters, studio lighting, umbrellas, brolleys and softboxes all stands....every item that makes this business roll...including all computers and software..........
    "Genuine Fractals was, is and will always be the best solution for enlarging digital photos." ....Vincent Versace ... ... COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK ONLINE ... ... My Website

  • PhotoskipperPhotoskipper Major grins Registered Users Posts: 453 Major grins
    edited February 2, 2010
    Just spent 3 days business trip in China and asked my colleagues there. They seems do not aware any of the insurance policy for camera in the country. Need to investigate more detail whether it is available there.
    Photoskipper
    flickr.com/photos/photoskipper/
  • michswissmichswiss Stuffed Animal Melbourne, AustraliaRegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 2,235 Major grins
    edited February 2, 2010
    fatsilas wrote:
    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses, guess I'll have to do some investigating to see what kind of coverage I can get in China. I'll post what I find out, just in case anyone else wants to know.

    Thanks again, really appreciate it.

    erin

    Erin,

    Part of who to call will also depend on where you are in China. I'm based in Shanghai and the options for renters insurance will be different from Guangzhou or Beijing, especially if you are looking for a "local" policy from a foreign-domiciled insurer.
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,654 moderator
    edited February 2, 2010
    Art Scott wrote:
    I am currently doing a cpmparison of policies with Hill and Usher and Marsh from PPA

    Let us know what you find out and what you finally decide. I'm waiting from more info from my State Farm agent on their pro policy as well, and we can compare notes. It seems exceedingly difficult to get the exact coverage info when you're shopping around. It seems like these insurance companies just want to you to buy their policies without looking at them carefully. "Just trust us", yeah right. rolleyes1.gif
  • codruscodrus Big grins Registered Users Posts: 71 Big grins
    edited February 2, 2010
    kdog wrote:
    I heard back from my State Farm agent as well. After asking lots of questions, they finally decided that if I was selling prints on Smugmug, then I'd need the professional level insurance.

    Just to clarify the situation -- you have a pro account on smugmug and mark up the prints so that you get a check from smugmug when they sell? Or did they maintain that simply having photos on smugmug with prints enabled constituted being a "pro"? (Such that the only people getting money are smugmug and the print house).

    --Ian
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,654 moderator
    edited February 3, 2010
    The former. They only thing they seemed to care about is that I'm making a profit on my pictures.
  • morganbrmorganbr SacramentoRegistered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    I work with a production company and we've been working with Athos (https://www.athosinsurance.com/) for a few years, and they're awesome. They've been insuring our gear rentals and I'm pretty positive they insure hobbyist photographers as well! Their agents have been super friendly every time I've interacted with them and I'm sure they could answer any questions you have!
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