Camera Insurance?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by EASmithV, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Well, It's finally dawned on me how much I've invested in gear (Thanks, GAS).

    The thought occurred to me how much i'd be screwed if one of my bags were stolen, and I'm beginning to think I should get some kind of insurance for my stuff...

    Do any of you have Camera insurance? How expensive is it, and what does it cover? How do they value your equipment?

    I'm afraid that a regular Joe insurance guy would never see the value in some very expensive film equipment because it's not "digital", and thus never properly compensated you if it were taken...
     
  2. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    As a retired insurance guy, here is my opinion. Buy a personal or commercial inland marine policy to cover specific pieces of equipment. These can also occur as a floter policy and even as endorsements on some homeowners policies. Your insurance agent will know. Generally you will be buying a policy to replace with like kind and quality, which will look much like used equipment prices. Hmm, you equipment is already used, right? New isn't available. It should be very easy to determine what your gear is worth. It has relatively little to do with what you paid for it and more to do with what a piece of gear in similar condition would sell for in the open market. Generally with an inland marine policy you are getting "all risk" coverage world wide. As an endorsement or extention of coverage on your homeowners policy you are getting coveraeg against specific perils of loss, subject to the conditions on you policy. You can read that last part as less comprehensive coverage. My advice, figure out a realistic price for your gear, go atlk to your insurance agent and get you stuff insured. Cost? You might expect a premium of around $15-$20/$1000/year. That would probably be a good ball part number. There will probably be a minimum premium and if you don't have any other insurance with the company, thay probably won't want to sell you this policy. For your values a good starting point might be recently completed sales on ebay. The insurance guy isn't going to try to do you wrong you and he will expect the same from you. Get realistic values and have a conversation with an agent about insuring it. Bill Barber
     
  3. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    "commerical inland marine policy" -- I know very little about insurance, so am curious to know what is particular about a "marine" policy that offers worldwide coverage? Sounds better than a rider on my homeowner's policy. Who a company like State Farm or USAA do marine policies, do you think?
     
  4. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    My household insurance covers me for kit worth up to £1,000 when I take it out of the house. I rely on that and being careful.
     
  5. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    get a floater policy added to your renter's/homeowners policy. Very low deductable (I had state farm at one time $100). You set the values, provide serial numbers. Take photos of all your gear and keep them someplace safe other than your dwelling.
     
  6. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Inland Marine is an insurance term which has nothing really to do with a boat, a lake, etc. I'm a retired State Farm agent. Laws and regulations vary from state to state. You will probably want the most comprehensive coverage available . . . which would be offered by an inland marine policy in which you have scheduled specific pieces of equipment. Typically when you just endorse to your homeowners, the deductibles will be pretty high and coverage will be more limited. If you drop your camera and break it it would probably be covered on the inland marine policy. As an endorsement on your homeowners the loss would probably not be covered. The difference between the two approaches is the inland marine doesn't have what I might call a "dummy exclusion." So if you do something stupid like sending it through the washing machine or run over it with your car, it is probably still covered, as long as you actions were not intentinal . . . you know like throwing a camera against the wall because you didn't like an image.
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I know very little about insurance, but all I can tell you is when an old friend of mine had all of his Canon FD cameras and lenses stolen a couple of years ago and claimed from his insurance company, they only paid him a fraction of it's true value because it was "film equipment and obsolete", since I was insured with the same company I cancelled my policy, and if any of my gear is stolen I will replace it myself.
    Insurance companys especially employ people to think of fifty good reasons why they aren't going to pay you out .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2012
  8. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I'm no expert but some policies, including riders on homeowners insurance, allow you to set the value of the items up front. So you pay a premium based on those values and that's what you're covered for. Very useful when used values do not provide a valid comparison.

    But keep in mind it can get tricky to insure a collection of items that is frequently changing.
     
  9. jdavie62

    jdavie62 Member

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    I'd suggest using a specialist policy thats geared up for your equipment, try protect your bubble which are specialist gadget insurers
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i agree 100% with bill b.
    i have a commercial insurance account with an inland marine floater.
    it isn't cheap but worth every penny. the floater allows the cameras to be insured
    when they aren't in your home, office, studio ( wherever ).
    you can establish the camera equipment's worth with your receipt, or by completed auctions on ebay.
     
  11. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Here's an alternative....self insure. Take some small amount of money out of every pay check and set it aside. Put it in a special savings account or buy us savings bonds. Do something with the money that will prevent you from spending it. After a while you'll have saved well enough to cover any loss...take care of your gear and you'll come out way ahead.

    Speaking fromexperience, a rider on your homeownerspolicy is inexpensive andnearly useless.
     
  12. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    the policy I had with state farm covered my gear anywhere whether it was lost, stolen, damaged. $100 deductible.
     
  13. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Something tells me that Benjiboy is not exactly stupid.

    Face it folks, insurance companies, especially the 'mass market' ones like State Farm or others similar to it are going to give you a surprise if enter a claim for items that are: 1) used 2) not bought often 3) have little market value.

    MY PROBLEM: even if they did pay $25 for each and every used Spotmatic body that I own my dilemma is that with many, many cameras and lenses I spent yeoman's hours doing repairs and those hours of work are not going to manifest with any settlement. Yes, again, I think that Benjiboy is more focused upon the 'real' world and not the theoretical one.

    Decades ago when Travelers Cheques were in vogue American Express was very efficient with refunding lost Cheques. NOW...I have heard horror stories with refunds being denied. They can AFFORD to reneg on this because it is not a major part of their business any more. The point that I am making is this: learn to differentiate between theory and practice. I sounds nice to 'know' that you are insured but I want to see the real claim and see what results.

    I have about 800 cameras and about 1000 lenses. NO WAY am I going to get an average of about $20 times 1000 = $20,000 for my items if a flood 'happens' or a theft 'happens'. My stuff is in about four locations, so I am 'insured' against all of it being taken at one time. Insurance premiums have a habit of encouraging insurance companies to commit the crime of 'puffery'. Those companies are not in the business of telling the dire truth any more than is legally necessary.

    Oh yes, let me tell you about the 6000 classical music 33 rpm LPs that co-exist with the cameras. Those should also get a handsome reward if stolen! -David Lyga
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2012
  14. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Can I come to your estates sale?:tongue:

    The best is to speak honestly with your insurance agent about the actual value of the items and if they are worth insuring - I know some of mine cameras are not worth the minimum premium they are asking. Where you get in trouble is when you assume that you spent $1000 of a camera that the insurance will pay you $1000 for a replacement - a replacement for that exact one is probably $300-400. Where you really get in trouble is when you over-insure an item (say it is worth $1000 when it is worth $50 at the time of the insurance policy purchase) since the insurance company calls fraud, denies the claim and does not return any premiums - plus you are forever in the database as a cheat and no other insurance will take you on (happened to a co-worker).

    Also, when I worked at the camera store, people would come in with a claim for a Nikon D200 and be looking for a quote for a D60 - the insurance company said the D60 had more megapixels and thus would be a more realistic replacement than a D300 - they don't understand one is an amateur and one is a semi-professional.
     
  15. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Yes, over-insuring is analogous to gambling and is both illegal and claims will not be paid.

    But why is it so hard to find straight talk about 'replacement value' insurance. Go to the average State Farm or other home owners policy agent and you will get blank stares. For example, are heirlooms insurable? I am certain that Lloyds of London would have a carrier that would insure, but why do you have to go to that esoteric level? Why does the claim always have to be 'what you could get for that' and not 'what you would have to pay in order to replace that'?

    This camera hoarding is a sickness and I admit that I am sick. These were bought, however, at extremely good prices and I rarely buy anything that I cannot sell immediately for virtually the same price. So this illness is tainted with logic. I cannot get these cameras or lenses out of my blood. - David Lyga
     
  16. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    So, there is no Camera-Specific insurance firm that aren't a bunch of morons with regards to knowledge about gear?
     
  17. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I don't think that the problem is specific to cameras. It strikes me that even car insurance - which is exceedingly common - works the same way. if you wreck your car, you never really get enough money to buy a new one....if you get anything, you get "what it was worth" according to the insurance company. Since the insurance company says "What it was worth", the value they fix need not have any relation to actual market value. What we consumers have to realize is that the insurance company doesn't like to loose money (and they almost never do).

    I'll also notice that here in California, it is fairly common for an insurance company to cancel a homeowner's policy for any claim....which also makes it not such a good idea to add you r gear as a rider on the homeowner's policy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2012
  18. BradS

    BradS Member

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    David, you could also look at it as investing in hard assets as a hedge against inflation....:smile:
     
  19. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    For business and personal I have found out that Insurance is a necessary evil, and totally worth having.
    As well as a good accountant/bookkeeper and Lawyer.

    I have had three major insurance claims in my career and each time my insurance agent / agents were first class and
    provided me complete satisfaction.
     
  20. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    BradS: Actually I have not lost money...until you factor a bank hit by a hurricane last year and flooded three large safe deposit boxes I had there!!!

    Life itself is a gamble but it is true in that many think that they are insured. The moment of rekoning comes when the claim is filed. Replacement value policies are quite rare. - David Lyga