How to Not Insure Your Photography Gear
A lesson learned the hard way…
Insure Your Photography Gear – In general, I’m a fairly cautious person. I’ve always had health and car insurance, I’ve bought travel insurance while abroad, and a few years ago when I actually started acquiring some valuables while adulting, I made sure to get renter’s insurance. In reading through my renter’s insurance policy, I was covered for accidents that destroyed my personal property and I was surprised to found out this included accidents when I was away from my home. Since I travel with very expensive camera equipment, I made sure to clarify my policy on three separate occasions. In talking to my carrier, my photography gear was all covered world-wide against accidents, damage, and theft. I had even used the term “shit happens insurance” while on the phone with the agents who laughed at the term, but reaffirmed that was in fact the case and I would be covered if “shit happens.” That was reassuring.
We had hiked in 8.7 miles with full packs to camp at Conundrum Hot Springs for the night. As the sun was getting lower and we were soaking in the water, we decided we wanted to commemorate the trip with a group picture. Bring the “photographer” in the group, I got out of the warm water, dried off, took my camera out of my pack, set it up on the tripod, spread out the legs, set the timer, and hit the shutter. I took about 3 steps back in the pool when some other people started uttering, “ooooooohhhhh.” I turned around just in time to watch my entire tripod fall in to the water like a tree that had just been chopped down.
So that sucked. Initially I felt as if I was punched in the stomach, but after only a few seconds, I realized there was also a silver lining – I knew I had insurance and that I’d probably just end up with some out-of-pocket deductible. I could live with that for what was clearly my own stupidity.
However, after returning home and spending a combined 20 hours on the phone with my insurance agencies, I found out that’s not the case. Essentially what I was told is that since there was no malicious intent on someone else’s part to destroy my property, I was not in fact covered. Had someone roundhouse kicked my camera on the tripod in to the hot springs, I would have been covered. Had someone kicked me square in the nuts and ran away with my camera bag as I lie in agony on the ground, I would have been reimbursed. But me acting on the knowledge that I had “shit happens” insurance, I was honest about what happened and I was denied coverage.
I was furious with my insurance agency, but at the same time, I succumbed to an admission of stupidity. I should not have just accepted the word of some call-center agent on the phone about my coverage. I should have really, really read my fine print. And most of all, I should have just given in and purchased straight-up photography insurance. In this sort of situation, any upfront cost pf photography-specific insurance would have been negligible compared to having to replace a full-frame body and a stupid-expensive lens.
Lesson learned… buy legit photography gear insurance!