Do You Have Insurance for Photography Equipment?

You have insurance to cover damage to, loss of, or theft of your photography equipment, or do you?  We have all heard the words of warning, look both ways before you cross the street, don’t talk to strangers, and read the fine print.  Maybe for photographers it should be read the fine print before you sell a print. Recently a friend of mine (who, for the purposes of this post we’ll call Bill), learned about insurance and the fine print found in policies in an unfortunate way. Bill had his home broken into and some of his expensive photography equipment stolen. Having someone violate your home is hard enough, but the loss of valuable items is like salt in a wound. Finding out that the insurance you purchased and thought protected your loss doesn’t have you covered, might take you to a different state of mind and not in a good way. Read the fine print.

Claim Denied

It turns out that Bill, like many of us, insured his valuables on his homeowner’s insurance policy. Being careful types, we as photographers often take the time and go to the expense to declare our gear and take out additional coverage (a rider or addendum to the insurance to cover the specific property) to protect us from loss. However, we really don’t know how good (or bad) our insurance is until we need a claim paid. We assume that as good, conscientious citizens, if we pay our premiums, our property is protected. After the theft, Bill got over the initial emotions (violation, fright, shock, anger, etc) of being a victim and made a claim with his insurance that he thought would reimburse him for his loss.

Surprises can be fun, such as when receiving a gift or having a good friend show up unexpectedly. Unfortunately, to my friend’s surprise, he found out that the claims adjuster did a quick web search and saw that Bill has advertised prints for sale. Because he sells a few prints a year, his gear is now considered “commercial” equipment and as such, not covered by his homeowner’s insurance policy which is intended to cover “personal” property. Bill countered with the claim adjuster, “But I’ve rarely sold a print”. To which the adjuster countered, “It doesn’t matter, even if you just attempt to sell a print, it becomes considered commercial or professional and is no longer covered”. Hmmm, so the $1 you earned from the stock agency that just sold one copy of your print, could now void your insurance. Sadly, I have heard of this scenario being played out more than once.

This is a painful, expensive lesson that is better learned before there is a loss. Please, if you sell or even advertise your prints for sale, check your policy and make sure your coverage is appropriate. I am sure your insurance company will be happy to convert your coverage to a commercial policy if needed, but it will likely be at a higher cost. There are alternatives available, check with your insurance agent as well as some professional groups or associations such as NANPA or PPA which offer insurance options for their members. Another thing to consider, and is a whole other topic, is the need for liability insurance to protect you in case someone trips over a light stand or power cord, etc. Some of the policies available from these organizations also offer liability insurance.

Your insurance agent can help,  but be your own advocate and read the actual policy for “coverages” and “exclusions”. Usually, the policy will state specifically what is and what isn’t covered. In addition to coverage amounts, deductibles and limits, you should find out if the policy will cover you should you travel out of the country.

Check the replacement value.  Will they pay you the original purchase price or the cost to replace it?  Is there a depreciation schedule? Is there a formula that is used to determine the benefits paid? I once hired a small firm to help with a move I was making. They showed up late and exhausted from two previous moves that day and it was clear that they didn’t care about the job or my furniture. Immediately, they dropped a piece and broke the corner off. I asked them about insurance and they said, yep, they were covered, 50 cents a pound. At that point I told them that they were finished and could leave. While I knew that they were insured when I hired them, I didn’t ask what the insurance specifically covered or how it paid. A 100 pound piece of furniture that cost $1500 would hardly be replaced for $50 based on their insurance!

These are just a few things to consider as you review your insurance and make sure that your policy actually has you covered based on your needs. This public service announcement was brought to you by the folks here at Photography Life in the hope that we can help prevent an unwelcome surprise.


  1. 1) ertan
    December 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Insurance and banking people… No wonder some of the most hated…

  2. 2) autofocusross
    December 10, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Insurance is getting much tougher of late. The use of ‘loss adjusters’ and the role they play has changed over the years. Originally, most, if not all claims were honoured, and the loss adjuster would suggest cheaper ways to compensate, such as, repairs rather than replacements, or the used value of stolen goods rather than the replacement value. It was a negotiation of sorts where both sides got as close to what they wanted as possible.

    These days, the tactics used by insurers is bordering on fraud. Terms and conditions can run to six pages of A4 in a font size of 6 or even 5 and no reasonable person can be expected to read, interpret, and understand such vast content, which, is, by design, intended to catch you if the day comes where you need to make a claim.

    My advice to Bill, in your example, would be to remonstrate with the insurance company, and tell them that he has two photography kits, one for holidays, family and leisure, the other for more serious ‘commercial’ work. Tell them also, that it is the former kit that has been stolen / lost / damaged.

    Of course, by now, Bill has communicated with the company several times, and they probably already know that the gear stolen was the same gear used to take the shots he was selling online. Too late for him but not for us.

    In the UK there is a piece of legislation called ‘unfair contract terms and conditions act’ or something close to that wording. It is intended to cover just this situation, where MAJOR issues relating to the contract (in this case, an insurance policy) are deemed to be unfair and unacceptable where these MAJOR elements are buried deep in the content of pages of tiny print.

    It is for this reason that here in the UK, when you take out any Insurance, there is a second sheet which covers Major terms and conditions, as well as the usual six pages of tiny print. This is to enable the insurance company to escape a court ruling that a contract had unfair terms and conditions hidden in the tiny print, since they were highlighted in the ‘Major Facts’ document also.

    Here, if you feel you have been unfairly treated, due to such hidden terms and contitions, you have two resolutions. First, take the company to the small claims court citing the hidden terms. Secondly, the Insurance industry here has a ‘watchdog’ or ombudsman, who is said to be impartial, and is there to decide cases like this, where a claim is refused, aparently, unfairly. My view is to take the case to the small claims court as the ombudsman, in reality, seems to support the insurance companies most of the time.

    As to the loss adjusters, they are trained to look at any claim in the minutest detail, and to find ANY excuse they think they can get away with, in order to avoid paying out any claims. This includes going through all of the fine print – and you can be sure there are very fertile grounds in those pages of small print to provide them with excuses in many cases.

    I have to say, their diligence in finding Bill’s photographs online and for sale, is a new low, even for them. I suspect they are on a bonus arrangement so there is lots of incentive to escape a valid policy payout on such pathetic grounds. If Bill were a wedding photographer, or a mobile portrait photographer, or worked for the press etc, one could understand it, but the fact that even ‘attempting’ to sell images, even if none were actually sold, in enough to void a policy, to me, signals the need to avoid that insurer and find another company with a little more integrity.

    Just my take.


    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 2.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Thank you Ross, sadly, the scenario in the post has occurred with 2 of my friends recently. Two different insurers.

  3. December 10, 2013 at 1:30 am

    ridiculous rip off is what that is. the insurance company certainly doesn’t do any homework when you are paying the premiums, but when you file a claim…

  4. 4) Matt
    December 10, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Easy fix. Call your broker and tell them that you want to add your photo equipment to your homeowners policy. For a relatively small fee, you can get a replacement value rider attached to your homeowners policy. This isn’t much different than those folks with expensive bicycles or other extraordinary items such as jewelry. I keep an itemized list along with receipts for documentation and update my broker if the value of my equipment changes over time.

    • 4.1) Herb
      December 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

      Ask your insurance person if the policy includes damage repair should you drop your camera and lens? It happened to me. A velcro attachment failed and my 5D3 hit the floor with my 24-70mm.
      I was in shock. Both items were new. I was okay because I had “valuable personal property coverage for my camera items. I had repairs done by Canon Professional Services. Suddenly I was into shipping and receiving and paperwork, but it was worth it. The repair bills were not small, but my insurance company(USAA) paid for the repairs. This same insurance will cover your wife’s jewelry as long as you list it and have receipts for purchase. Note that telling your wife that her diamond is covered by your “valuable personal property” insurance in case it falls out of the setting or gets stolen, may make her believe in this kind of insurance or rider. Main thing is an advanced listing of all items and either receipts or some kind of appraisal that the insurance company accepts. Bad things can and do happen while you are trying to get that great shot.


      • 4.1.1) Matt
        December 10, 2013 at 7:46 am

        Herb, Speaking for myself, my policy includes damage. I carry a $1,000 deductible and for about $20k in coverage, it costs me about $25 per month on top of my standard homeowners policy.


    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 4.2) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Thanks Matt, actually, and I may not have made it clear enough in the post, there was an additional rider on the homeowner’s policy and there was a schedule of covered items. The important thing here is the fact the the homeowner’s policy with the additional rider only covers “personal” property and not “commercial” property. It may be deemed commercial if you attempt to, or do sell prints. I know of multiple people who went thru this exact scenario to learn a hard lesson and for this reason I wrote the post. Most people that aren’t full time photographers or earn their living in the business don’t realize this.

      • 4.2.1) Christy
        December 12, 2013 at 7:55 am

        Thanks for the post, Tom! I knew about riders on personal insurance for stuff like photo equipment, jewelry or guns. I even had some knowledge of personal vs commercial as we had to insure our shop with a commercial policy ($$$) for a few years while my husband had a side job as a fishing guide (we stored all his guide equipment & boat in the shop so the whole building had to be covered under a commercial policy).
        But I did NOT realize that they could consider my hobby equipment commercial & refuse coverage. I’ve done 1 wedding and 2 photo sessions for aquaintances and received very minimal compensation but I do not consider myself a commercial photographer. My day job is way too demanding so I usually turn down requests. Thank you for making us aware of this issue – I will certainly check on my policy.
        And thanks to autofocusross – I think you made some good suggestions & will remember the personal set/commercial set tactic should I ever need it (hopefully not). I guess you could also tell the insurance company that you rented or borrowed more sophisticated equipment for the paid projects (I actually did for the wedding because I didn’t have a external flash).

  5. 5) Neil
    December 10, 2013 at 6:19 am

    It’s also worth pointing out in the US that a rider to the homeowner’s policy is required to insure non-commercial equipment (and other things like jewelry, coins, computers, furs). The base policy doesn’t cover many of the things people assume it does.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 5.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 7:28 am

      Exactly Neil, that is the critical point but again, if you use the equipment in a commercial venture (selling a print) then it most likely will not be covered. I am repeating myself so that all the readers understand that.

    • 5.2) Will
      December 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Or some things are covered but only in small amounts. For example, a homeowners policy may cover jewelry but only up to $1,200 which is really not enough.

  6. December 10, 2013 at 6:51 am

    I recently moved and had to make some adjustments to my household insurance. My cameras have been on this policy for 30 years as a separate rider. I made the mistake of telling the agent that I sold a few prints. He informed me that my equipment is no longer covered because I would need a business policy, which they do not sell. The company is USAA which has been good overall. I think this is ridiculous.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 6.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 7:30 am

      Russell, I am sorry to hear that you got caught in this. USAA is not unique in this and this is why I am alerting the readers – the ones that think they have a rider covering their equipment. Thanks for sharing your experience as it validates what I am saying.

  7. 7) jonesh529
    December 10, 2013 at 6:53 am

    I worked previously with a Credit Card company in the disputes department and one of the biggest issues we ran into is people would just sign documents without reading it and be stuck paying even though the purchase might have been wrong. We have to take the time to read the terms when we making a purchase. I had disputes similar to the moving example that was provided in the blog but the terms they agreed to cant be superseded. I am guilty of it too; we have to read the terms and/or fine print. Since working at this company it has taught me to read and understand what you I am purchasing. We can’t go by what the sales person tell you since they are mainly concerned about self.

    I have also worked in the health insurance field and people all the time would think that everything is covered when its not. We have to know what our policies cover and exclude. I think it’s good once a year to meet with your insurance agent to talk about what you have and to find out if you need a better policy or the one you currently have is good.

    A few months ago I had the same issue with trying to decide on purchasing extra insurance for my equipment and I was told that I was covered since right now I am an amateur and I am not selling my photos but when I do I will have to change my policy. I have the terms but I need to look at them again to see how they pay.

    I wouldn’t say they are rip-offs because once again they provide us with the terms before agreeing to them we need to read them. If they not what we want go find the correct one that fits our needs. If you were to try to take them to court the judge would state the same thing. We as consumers have to know what we are paying for.

    By the way, this write up was a good one. Now I am going to go back and look at my policy again to see how it’s covered.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 7.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Thanks jonesh529.

    • 7.2) Will
      December 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

      I completely agree jonesh529. I’m an account manager at an insurance agency and it amazes me how much people call and ask questions that are clearly shown in the policy. It is up to the insured to read the policy and if there are questions it’s time to call up the agent.

      • 7.2.1) MichaelG
        February 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

        “…… amazes me how much people call and ask questions that are clearly shown in the policy. It is up to the insured to read the policy and if there are questions it’s time to call up the agent.”

        Will, as a consumer I wish it were that simple. My experience is that the insurance policy is difficult if not impossible to understand. I suspect it is intentionally written that way. Most often the information one is looking for is buried somewhere in the policy in language meant only for its author to understand and probably designed to obfuscate the actual meaning.

        As for asking the insurance agent for an explanation, many times the agent is not 100% sure of the meaning and as you correctly point out…no verbal advice can supersede the written terms.
        And that presumes you are able to get through to a live human being on the phone to ask the question. It seems that trying to get through to customer service is also designed to frustrate and discourage. Navigating endless voice menus and ultimately having to start over again and again and again is maddening.

        Unfortunately there is a widespread lack of confidence in insurance companies today, largely derived from the health insurance sector but to an extent applicable across the board. There is a widely held perception that insurance companies will look for any possible way to deny a claim and even if the claim is valid they will delay and delay and delay by asking for more and more detail, claiming they did not receive the fax or letter that one sent, etc. etc.

        Being an account manager for an insurance company you are in a better position to know if this perception is or is not warranted. Even if this is not 100% warranted, the fact that the perception is held by so many indicates the insurance companies have a real customer relations problem which needs to be addressed.

        That’s just my experience and my opinion.

  8. 8) Shawn Young
    December 10, 2013 at 9:10 am

    This is a very worthwhile article by Mr. Redd, but I would like to take issue with one point. Mr. Redd writes in part:
    “Your insurance agent can help, but be your own advocate and read the actual policy for “coverages” and “exclusions”. Usually, the policy will state specifically what is and what isn’t covered. In addition to coverage amounts, deductible and limits, you should find out if the policy will cover you should you travel out of the country.”

    This notion of “be your own advocate” is great in theory, but I feel it’s beyond most mortals. I happen to hold a graduate degree in mathematics, so some university at some point thought I could follow the minutiae of logic fairly well, and build logical opinions of my own. I mention my credentials (which, along with $5 will get me a $5 cup of coffee at Fivebucks) not to praise myself but merely to add to my exasperation that I have no hope of really understanding insurance policies. Homeowners, life, prescription drug, car, etc. And I’ve done back-end actuarial work from time to time.

    There is too much fine print, and, as the author writes, the insurance companies are forever looking for ways to weasel out of paying. Be your own advocate? Good luck with that. If you can do that successfully, you’re far more effective than the vast number of ordinary-but-very-smart people I’ve met.

    I honestly believe that the large majority of insurance policies are products for fools. So many people pay but do not have either the ability (or the cash to pay a lawyer) to collect. Buy stock in insurance companies. (Full disclosure: I do.) Don’t buy the policies.

    • 8.1) MichaelG
      February 3, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Shawn- I posted my comment above before reading yours. All I can say is amen brother. I too have an advanced degree and feel as you do that I can read and understand most writing. But this seems inapplicable to insurance policies. BTW my degree is in law from what some consider the best law school in the country. (don’t jump at me….I chose to leave the practice of law very quickly and have been in recovery for many years now. :-) )

  9. 9) Jesse
    December 10, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Just three weeks ago much to my dismay I dropped my Nikon D600 and Nikor 16-35mm lens in a very deep pool of VERY muddy water a $3500 accident.. I tried everything to revive the beast with complete fail! Not knowing what to do or being able to afford a new camera until at least the spring I thought I’d call my insurance company to see what what I was covered for if anything, it turns out it was my lucky day! My insurance covered me for85% of full retail value of the camera and lens, minus the $1000 deductable of course. I’m still out about $1300 but thats a far cry from what it would have cost to replace. All I had to do was send pictures of the messy camera and the cheque was on its way, I got it in a week.

    I didn’t even know I had coverage for this with the exception of asking my insruance company a year ago if I was covered while on a vacation if my camera gear was stolen and they said yes so I never thought anything of it again. I work in the auto industry and deal with insurance companies ALL the time and I can’t say enough good things about Intact/Novex Insurance company. I highly recommend them if you;re living in Canada :)

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 9.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Jesse, glad you had a good ending. Out of curiosity, do you sell any prints online?

      • 9.1.1) Jesse
        December 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        No I don’t have a dedicated website that I sell prints off of. I do sell the odd print here or there however but it’s only when someone e-mails me for one. My insurance company did ask me if I sold any prints and being a dumb a** I said yes not knowing that it would effect the outcome of the claim and they said seeing as I sold prints that they would only be able to cover 50% of the loss. After talking to them for a bit I explained that I’m not a professional and just sold the odd one here and there and they raised it to 85% of the loss. I wish I never said I sold anythign to begin with because it would have been 100% but I didn’t know, I’ll know for next time god for bid there is one.. ;)

        • Profile photo of Tom Redd Tom Redd
          December 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

          I am glad that you didn’t lose the whole claim. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  10. December 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    VERY helpful article. This has been one of those in-the-back-of-my-mind-I’ll-get-to-it things that I haven’t yet gotten to!!! I’d understood that my equipment was covered on our homeowner’s policy, but always had a vague sense of unease about it. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts you’re right and that if push came to shove the “commercial photography” clause would be trotted out with flags waving and trumpets blaring. Thank you for the clarification and heads up.

  11. 11) Sharana Mueller
    December 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

    This subject is something I have not given much attention. I found the article very, very helpful. THANKS!
    I appreciate everyone’s comments and experiences. I learned a lot from others’ comments, and sorry for the bad experiences. However, it is great to share and learn from others!

  12. December 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Thank you Lois and Sharana, we just want to make sure people are informed.

  13. December 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    There are definitely some good insurance companies out there that are built specifically for photography and other independent creative fields. The company I’m with asks me to provide a schedule of my equipment and the replacement cost. If ANYTHING happens to the equipment I simply tell them and I get a check for the replacement cost that is in my equipment schedule for that item. Of course in that event it has premium cost implications, but there isn’t any hassle involved. The coverage also specifically includes rental equipment, studio space (if needed), and liability insurance among other things that working photographers are involved with. So definitely look around for insurance providers who specialize in photography as they will have their policies setup to be much more tailored to that type of coverage.

  14. 14) NOVAMike
    December 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I too am a USAA policy holder with the bulk of my equipment on a Valuable Property Policy. After reading this thread, it occurred to me that, because I have my photos posted on my website at Shutterfly, and the public could buy one of them through Shutterfly, that USAA might define it as a commercial website and me as a pro (anyone looking at the quality of my work would find that laughable, but that’s for another discussion).

    I called USAA and their judgement is that I’m still an amateur, since any purchases would be from Shutterfly and I wouldn’t collect any money at all. They’re sending me written confirmation of that opinion.

    Hope that helps someone.


  15. 15) Motto
    December 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Lots of good advice here, read it and take heed. The time to talk with your agent is before not after a loss.
    This summer I hiked to a very remote water fall in the RMNP. Long story made short, I did not realize I was suffering from heat exhaustion. I became dizzy, disoriented and fell down. When I regained my composure
    I caught a glimpse of my camera bag performing a stellar swan dive over a roaring 100ft drop. My Nikon D800, 24-70mm lens, tripod and filters were staring back at me from the bottom of a 4ft deep pool.
    I was very fortunate in that I had a valuable property policy with USAA. All my gear was listed by serial #, purchase date and price paid. Within 8 days I received a $12,000.oo check and I was able to replaced all of my gear.
    If you are a serious photographer, amateur or professional, you probably have a serious investment in equipment.
    A home owners policy is not proper or adequate coverage.
    For once in my life I had done my homework and my sad story had a good ending.
    Peace, Motto

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 15.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks Motto – glad the fall didn’t set you back physically or financially.

  16. 16) Sarah
    December 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I asked my insurance agent what their definition of “professional” was and he said even if a friend asks you over to their home to take a few photos of their kids (even if you did it for free), they considered you a professional and that would require a “business” policy. Kind of a rip-off if you ask me.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 16.1) Tom Redd
      December 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Sarah all I can say to that is WOW! That really seems to be a stretch. There is nothing commercial about that – no advertising a service, no fees, no contract. That would be the equivalent of my parents telling me to bring the camera and take photos at a birthday party. I can’t think that, that definition would hold up if challenged. I would hope that your agent is wrong on that one.

  17. 17) George Xatzakos
    December 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Can u please clarify a few details about the insurance? Do you have the option to insure your items against theft from a location shooting? I’m asking because in Greece,where I live, you only get the option to insure them in studio. If things get stolen on location you get no coverage.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 17.1) Tom Redd
      December 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      George, it sounds like things might be different in Greece, so you need to check locally. To answer your question as it pertains to here in the States, the insurance (if it covers commercial use) would typically insure you at the location. But again, you need to check the specific policy.

      • Profile photo of Robert 17.1.1) Robert
        December 18, 2013 at 5:21 am

        I just learned this (thankfully not the hard way): a very respected US insurance company will not provide coverage for international location shoots. If you travel outside the US, be sure to insist that your agent check with the underwriters. I was told by my agent that I was completely covered, and it was only after I was out of the country that I received the email from the agent stating “As it turns out, we are not able to provide coverage for international travel. I’m sorry, I thought we were.”

        This was a State Farm business policy with an additional Inland Marine asset policy for my equipment.

        Thankfully, nothing happened to my $30k worth of gear on this trip.

  18. 18) Senthil
    December 12, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Good heads up… I have been wondering about it. I have personal property coverage with all my camera gear listed individually. I have even thought of getting a commercial insurance. But have heard from some that if you have commercial insurance then it covers loss that happens only on commercial shoots; so technically if you were lose/break your equipment while doing “personal” shoot, they wouldn’t cover. You are doomed if you do, you are doomed if you don’t kindda situation. Not sure whether it means that one has to get a personal property policy as well as a commercial policy from the same agent/insurer to have everything covered for sure.

    Having said that, I once dropped Nikon D4, D800, 600mm and 70-200mm incurring about $1500 damages, which my policy covered without much questions.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 18.1) Tom Redd
      December 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Senthil, glad you had a good outcome from an unfortunate occurrence. Not all insurance companies are bad, it is just good that we be aware in advance of situations that might come back to haunt us. Thanks for your comments.

  19. 19) Ms. Jen
    December 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    When I bought my Nikon D800 plus some lenses and was doing some traveling, I asked my insurer if it could be covered under my renter’ policy and was told only up to $1,000 for all electronic equipment.

    I then did a fairly extensive search of who would cover in all situations (travel, theft, disaster, etc) both my camera equipment and my computer. I ended up with PPA’s insurance and I read the fine print to make sure that it covers all that I need.

    I have kept copies of all my receipts and serial numbers, as well as giving copies of all to my best friend to hold with a copy of my policy, so that if I am out and about she can help me quickly make a report if necessary.

    In the past, I had my apartment broken into so I now make it hard for a burglar to find my stuffs through a variety of methods. I do similar when traveling and am a big fan of Pacsafe bags.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 19.1) Tom Redd
      December 12, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Thanks Ms. Jen. I am curious if any of our readers have filed a claim with any association/group insurance plan such as thru PPA, and if so, how was the claim handled?

      • 19.1.1) Ms. Jen
        December 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm

        Hi Tom,

        That is a good question, of which I don’t personally know the answer as I have not had to file a claim yet.

        Has any of the readers here filed a claim on the PPA equipment insurance?

  20. 20) BigD
    December 13, 2013 at 12:06 am

    So, this happened to “a friend of yours”, eh? Funny how it’s always a nameless friend. I’ve heard this story many times over the years involving different professions.

    If “Bill” had his gear stolen and he wants to help people by sharing his story then why is it being told buy a third party with “Bill” hiding his identity? What does “Bill” have to lose by telling his story? He’s already lost his gear and his claim was denied, right? The insurance company can’t take any legal action against him for telling the truth.

    “Bill” isn’t real is he?

    And what is your expertise in the field, Tom? You just go around giving people legal advice about their insurance? I’ll admit you you know how to strike a nerve with a scare-tactic “article”. I bet it gets a lot of people reposting it and the website gets a lot of clicks.

    Good job on driving traffic to the site, but I call BS on the story.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 20.1) Tom Redd
      December 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm


      Of course I don’t wish to use someone’s real name. One might imagine that not everyone appreciates or wants their name published – even those that post comments. Besides, would listing the person’s name make a difference to the point of the story? It is hard to see how…

      I offered no legal advice, but raised an important issue that could potentially affect many of our readers. I merely suggested they take a few cautionary steps to reduce their financial exposure. While you may not appreciate the concern, as you can see from the comments, others were glad to be notified of this concern.

      Expressing genuine concerns regarding equipment insurance can hardly be labeled as a “scare tactic.” And with respect to driving traffic to our site, regular readers indicate that the diversity of topics we cover is precisely why Photography Life is one of their favorite sites.

      As for the story being false? Nope, it’s all real.

  21. 21) SeanL
    January 30, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Just wanted to throw in my $0.02. This issue has been on my mind for a while and recently I was able to get around to calling my insurance agent. I have a Personal Articles policy through State Farm and while I was told on the phone that unless you’re a “commercial” photographer there’s nothing to worry about. I don’t consider myself that type of photographer, but it still didn’t sit right with me so I checked the text in my policy. Sure enough, it basically says that the camera equipment being covered cannot be used to make money with. I sell a few prints here and there with the gear being covered so called my agent back. She made some phone calls and what I feared was true: if you sell anything with the cameras being insured you are not covered. She said that in case something happened and you needed to make a claim, to just tell the insurance company that you were out taking photos for fun. However, I’m pretty confident that would not fly with an adjustor given the fine print in the personal articles policy.

    So in conclusion? Guess I’m going shopping for insurance! :(

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 21.1) Tom Redd
      January 30, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Sean, I have heard a similar story from my agent who insists it isn’t a concern. Sadly, what is in writing is what the company will stand by most likely.

  22. 22) Gary
    July 16, 2015 at 4:00 am

    I make pictures and sell and license my work, and I have separate professional photographic insurance to cover all my expensive gear. But we were refused ordinary household insurance – at any fee – by Admiral, because the camera gear existed on the premises, even though we were not asking them to cover it.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 22.1) Tom Redd
      July 16, 2015 at 7:05 am

      Gary, wow! That is a different spin that I have usually heard. Good luck, my friend.

      • 22.1.1) Gary
        July 16, 2015 at 7:27 am

        Yes me too, not a problem I had had before: it arose because I have merged households with my partner as she was renewing her policy. Tesco got our business, in the event (I have no other connection with them). She said, “I explicitly raised with the guy the issue of your camera gear when he asked the “business stock” question, and he said if it’s covered by another policy, they don’t need to take it into consideration.” – which is what I had previously experienced. I thought people would be interested to know about it though.

  23. 23) Adam
    July 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I have been shooting wedding videos for about 8 years now. Having insurance has really lifted a weight off my shoulders. I would highly recommend looking into the following sites as they have great information about this subject.

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