My Camera was Stolen

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That’s the title of my most common dream:  My camera was stolen.  If you’re not someone who can remember their dreams this paragraph can just be skipped.  I remember dreams in vivid detail.  Sometimes when I dream I’m certain that the events of that dream actually happened.  To the point that I start talking about something that only happened in a dream.  So when I have these My camera was stolen or I dropped my camera in the ocean or my personal favorite I fell off a bench trying to take a picture and smashed my camera into 16,000 pieces dreams it drives me to check my insurance policy.  Insurance, you say?  Yes.  Insurance.  

If you’re a professional photographer and you make loads of money from your work you likely have a commercial insurance policy that would cover the cost of a replacement camera.  But what if you’re not a professional photographer but you’re photo gear is valuable?  You still need the insurance, but it can be covered as part of your Homeowners (or Renters or CoOp) Insurance.  

So, where to start?  Call your insurance agent who currently covers your Homeowner’s Insurance and let them know the value of your camera gear (make sure to include SD Cards, Lenses, External Flash).  You’ll want to ask about an “enhancements” or “riders” that can be added onto your existing coverage.

What is an enhancment or a rider?  You basically provide the value of your gear, some photos of your equipment and sometimes you’re asked for an appraisal or original receipt to prove value.  This rider acts in addition to your Home Owners coverage and usually extends the coverage beyond typical Home Owners coverage.  

What questions do you need to ask?  

1. Ask about your deductible.  Many people have a high deductible on their home insurance of $1,000 or more.  Let’s assume that your Digital SLR and lenses are valued at $1,600.00  This basically means that you’d be paying $1,000 off the top and the insurance company would pay the $600.00.  Some companies will allow you to set a different deductible for your rider.  Ask about that.  

2. Ask about what this covers you for EXACTLY and give EXAMPLES.  Let’s say that your house burns down (which I hope it never ever does) your camera is covered.  Let’s say that you were in your backyard and the sprinkler system turns on.  Are you covered then?  Ask.  More coverage may cost you more but you’ll be thankful for it if the worst happens.  What about on vacation?  In another country?  Like South Africa?  

3. Ask what happens if your equipment is stolen or damaged.  

4. MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION ALERT: Is your equipment covered at Replacement cost or Actual Cash Value?  Let’s say that my camera is five years old and it’s valued at $1,500.  But to by a comparable camera today it would cost you $2,200.  You want the replacement cost – it will entail an extra form if you ever do fill out a claim but it would be worth it given how this equipment can depreciate.  

Okay now I know what you’re thinking.  Is it worth it and is it expensive?  In my opinion it’s worth it and it’s not so expensive.  The rider on my personal equipment is about $35.00 a year with a $200 deductible.  If my worst nightmare ever did come true I’d be getting my replacement camera in three business days.

Do you have insurance on your photography equipment?

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