Camera insurance is offered by several insurance providers. There are now companies that specialise in camera insurance, such as Glover & Howe. Most providers offer several different types of policy, depending on your level of photography and whether you earn money from your equipment. Typically, professional camera insurance will offer more levels of cover than the amateur policy. They will usually have a higher maximum total equipment value and cover for public liability, whereas an amateur policy will focus more on just the camera.
Type of equipment
You should make the insurer aware of all the photographic equipment you have, and many providers offer cover not just for cameras but also for camcorders and video cameras. There are specific policies for videographers of all levels as well as photographers, so the policy is tailored to exactly what you need.
New for old compared to market value cover
It is worthwhile finding out whether the type of cover, if your equipment needs to be replaced, is new for old or market value, as you might want cover which replaces your camera equipment with a new equivalent camera rather than the market value of your camera equipment.
For example, if you make a claim for photographic equipment that will cost £500 to replace, yet the market value is £200, then the market value policy would pay you £200 and the new for old cover would pay you £500. Most insurers follow the new for old policy. If your camera is no longer in production and has been replaced by a new model, you need to make sure that the insurance amount chosen covers the amount of the newer model so that you can be provided with the closest possible camera to yours.
Single item value limits
You will usually be asked to specify single items of equipment with a value above a specified limit, and it is important to declare all equipment that is valued above the specified limit. You may be covered up to an amount appropriate for the camera equipment you want to insure, but if single items are more than the single item limit and you do not make the insurer aware of them, then you may not be able to claim for the value above the single item limit.
Public liability insurance
Public liability insurance is usually optional on the pro policies. It means that you have a level of protection in place in case of damage to another person or property, which is proven to be caused by your negligence.
An example of this cover is if a piece of your equipment, for example a standalone light, fell on a member of the public and they claimed against your insurance. This would be a public liability claim. It is useful to have for protection against large court fees should damage be caused to a person or property through your negligence.
Receiving income from your camera equipment
Usually, if you make any money from your camera equipment you will be required to take out at least a semi professional insurance policy. If photography is your full time job then you will need to take out a professional policy.
When travelling abroad with your camera
Policies that offer cover whilst travelling usually have territorial limits as to where you can travel to and be covered. Sometimes EU and worldwide cover is an option that you can add to your policy. You can also take out separate travel insurance tailored to photographers needs if you need to.
As a rule, if you know where you will be travelling before you take out cover you should check to make sure you will be covered. Also, if you plan a trip after you have taken out a policy you should check before you leave to ensure that you are covered if you are planning to travel with your equipment. Most policies will have maximum single trip cover as well as a maximum number of days per year you can travel. So, if you are planning to be travelling with your equipment abroad, make sure you are not planning to exceed any of these limits.
Theft from unattended vehicles
This is often an optional cover as it can increase the cost of your policy quite significantly. So, if you have a policy that has unattended vehicle cover then be sure to find out what restrictions (if any) there are. Most companies state that the car must be locked and secured and have its alarms fully operational for the cover to stand. If you understand what is not covered under this section you can ensure that, for example, you do not leave your camera equipment on the front seat of an unattended vehicle if your policy states the equipment should not be visible inside (or from outside) the vehicle.
No claims bonus
Some providers allow you to build up (or indeed take with you) a no claims bonus, and this can be a way of reducing your premiums over a period of time. Some insurers will give you a good level of discount if your no claims bonus is for a number of years, and it is always worth checking to see how other premiums compare.
Some policies will have the same excess on all cover levels of your policy, others will have different levels of excess depending on the type of cover. Excess is higher the more risky the situation, so there will be higher excess if you claim for theft from a car rather than a house. It would be beneficial for you to find out what excess, if any, you have before taking out a policy so you know, in case of a claim, how much your excess would be.
For example, you could purchase an insurance policy for £100 that has no excess. If you then make a successful claim for £200 you will be paid £200. If you purchase the same policy for £80 which has a £100 excess and you make a successful claim for £200, you will receive £100 (£200 minus £100 excess). So your premium is £20 cheaper but you are £100 worse off for the claim (however, if you do not make a claim you will be £20 better off!)
Exclusions and what is not covered
Most policy wordings will tell you section by section what events are excluded from cover and what is not covered. It is important to find out what is not covered and exclusions, as you might find that the policy is less suited to your needs than you otherwise thought. You can also avoid certain eventualities by taking care not to fall into these exclusions. Common camera insurance exclusions include general wear and tear and mechanical failure.
Take time to notify your insurer of any changes in your circumstances once you have a policy, for example moving property and buying new equipment, as this could affect you premium. It is always important for your insurer to be aware of any relevant changes to your details.