Photography Insurance is (not?) Worth It. Here’s Why

By Jason Row / January 26, 2019

When you have a moment, open up your camera bag and take a look. Then estimate the value of that’s bag’s contents. It’s a scary amount, isn’t it? Now think a little further, is all your equipment in that one bag?

I bet it’s not. Add in the values of all the photographic equipment you have in drawers and lockers. Now imagine losing that gear to theft, fire or any other catastrophe. It’s going to take some serious money to replace. 

The answer, of course, is to have insurance. Or so the insurance companies will tell you. But is it? Insurance companies price your valuables based on a risk assessment.

The higher the risk, the higher your premium will be. So when considering taking out insurance for your camera equipment, you should carry out your own risk assessment, to determine what level of insurance, if any, you need.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of camera insurance. 

This should really be insured. Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Why You Should Take Insurance

If your camera gear is your bread and butter, then insurance is an absolute. Loss of your gear will mean a loss of your earnings and a potentially catastrophic situation. Not only that, you will need to have some sort of commercial liability cover. For non-professionals, insurance can still be a very important consideration.

If your photography is predominantly outdoors then you will always be at risk. Not only from theft but from dropping your camera or other unforeseen circumstances.

Even at indoors your equipment is at some level of risk. At home, you may be burgled or be the victim of a house fire. In public places, there are always risks. Even something as simple as someone knocking your camera off of a table could cause you serious expense. 

The real point of having insurance is to be able to recover from an unexpected event, in particular, the expense of covering that replacement quickly. 

Burglary is a risk to anyone. Photo by Rye Jessen on Unsplash

Why You Should Not Take Insurance

Camera insurance, however, may not be for everyone. Firstly if your equipment is not highly expensive and you have reasonable means to cover a replacement then the premiums may end up costing more than the value of the equipment. 

If you live in a low crime area and do mainly indoor photography, then again, it’s probably not a necessity. Alternatively, if you live in a high crime area and do outdoor photography, you may find that the premiums are simply too high. It all comes down to assessing your own risks and balancing it with your financial ability to replace equipment 

If you live in a high crime area, insurance is definitely worth it. Photo by Victor Grabarczyk on Unsplash

Assessing Your Own Risks

The following is a list of some of the considerations you should make when deciding on the need for insurance. 

      • Do you travel a lot with your camera? 
      • Do you live in a high crime area?
      • Do you use a drone for photography?
      • Is your income derived from photography?
      • Is the replacement cost of your equipment beyond immediate financial means?
      • Do you leave equipment unattended in your vehicle (even out of sight)? 
      • Do you live in an area prone to natural disasters?

If your answer was yes to any one of the above then insurance should be a consideration. However, not all insurance is the same. In selecting a suitable insurance policy the devil is truly in the detail. You need to make sure you really do read the small print. 

Drones are high value, high-risk items. You may need specific insurance. Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash

Not All Insurance Is The Same.

There is a pretty good chance that you have a household insurance policy. There is a good chance that that policy covers photographic equipment.

However, if you delve deep into the small print you might find some nasty surprises. Often the value of the photographic equipment is severely limited, meaning you might end up paying a significant excess. You might find that the policy only covers you for damage and theft from your own property. 

The key is to have dedicated photographic equipment insurance, but even then you need to read closely at that small print. Some policies might not cover you for travel or if your equipment is stolen from a car. Others (read many) may not cover your drone or other ancillary equipment. It can be a minefield. 

Another option you can consider is to simply save the money you would pay for insurance and set it aside for the eventuality of a rainy day.

Insurance, like purchasing photographic equipment needs to well researched and the need for it assessed. Hopefully, some of the pointers above will help you decide which if any is most suitable for you.

Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on photographic insurance. 

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About the author

Jason Row

Jason has been writing for Light Stalking for over six years now and has 35 years of experience as a professional photographer. He now concentrates on producing travel stock photography and video from around the world. You can find his portfolio here. His work has been featured in numerous publications, both online and in print, as well as for major companies such as Virgin, Etihad, Tripadvisor and Booking.com. Jason has also produced a number of video tutorials for Light Stalking and Photzy. Born in London he now lives in the beautiful city of Odessa, Ukraine.

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