Insurance for Photographer is not optional!
I recently came across a video where a photographer was driving to a shoot and she was robbed right in traffic by a criminal that knew where the camera was and how to get it quickly.
Ben Barghabany was driving in San Francisco and about to get on the highway when the criminal took the camera bag. It was quick and expensive. This was only recorded because the guy behind them was driving a Tesla that records trips.
As a real estate photographer, they used the Nikon Z6, Nikon 14-30mm, Mavic Air 2, and other stuff to make a living. This was not just the lost of gear for them but ultimately a lost of a business if people did not help them. As I understand it, they learned the hard way that insurance is not what people think it is for photographers.
Below is the video of the robbery.
My Story of Camera gear theft!
I was in Birmingham, Alabama and a homeless man asked me for some food outside the Greyhound station. I looked for some food to give him and his friends grabbed a full Thinktank Airport Commuter rolling bag with a heavy tripod. They ran into a dark area late at night and in the process got a Nikon D7200, Nikon D7100, two Sony mirrorless, 5 lens, a tripod and a bunch of other things.
The police did not care, they just wanted to have me call in a few days for a report. I never even got a call from them again. I was really surprised how little they cared…especially for the south!
Then, I got a rude awakening. USAA had changed their terms and conditions on homeowners insurance. They told me that I should have read the new terms (Who does that?) and because of the changes, my gear was not covered. I was just out of thousands of dollars for gear.
It was a very expensive lesson that I learned and it took me months to recover. Today, I have better gear and it is properly insured.
Photographers need insurance!
I started to talk with friends in the insurance business. What I found out was concerning. Most companies do not offer photographers policies. There is a few of the bigger ones that do. If you do use a homeowners policy, make sure you have itemized your gear with receipts or you will be screwed.
However, there is several companies out there that specialize in photography insurance. Professional Photographers of America offers a very limited policy to its member. To be honest, I have heard nothing but troubles with anyone needing to file a claim. I also know The Hardford Group offers it at well. All I know is they offer it. Hiscox will insurance anything but I know nothing about them as well.
A friend in the photography space suggested looking at Full Frame insurance, a company that photographers are their business! They offer event protection (mainly for wedding photographers) and an annual policy that has gear protection as an add on!
As you can see, the cost of coverage starts at $129 per year and goes up dramatically from there for different things. As far as the gear protection, it starts at $55 per year covering $1,000 per item with a limit of $5,000 and goes up to $15,000 per item with a limit of $75,000 for $349.
The down side of using Full Frame is that you can only pay for it yearly. While for many professional photographers, paying $500 is not that big of a deal but for some guy beginning, that is a cost of a new lens! I wish I could break it up into bi-annual payments. It also is important to remember that sizable payments will be coming up every year.
I have never had to file a claim with them so I can’t tell you much about that besides there is a $250 deductible. If I would have been able to use homeowners, I would have had one of $1,000. As a young photographer, I would have much rather one that is $250.