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03-22-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
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Insurance

The misinterpretation of another's post title in this section ("Whats the overall average lens rating value of your bag") prompts this post.

Most people carry a variety of lenses when traveling, and without realizing it, you could be putting several thousands of dollars (or whatever currency you use) at risk. When contemplating a recent trip overseas, I called up my home owner's insurance company to confirm my equipment would be covered and at replacement cost. I didn't settle for the person's word on it either, making them send me written proof I was covered. Insistence was required, because they kept trying to get me accept their word on it, and I learned early on that a verbal promise isn't worth the paper it's written on. Ask about all perils too, because you may be covered against theft, but not an accident, like dropping your bag off a ship railing. Also make sure you are covered against failures on your fault - such as walking off and leaving your bag sitting on a table in a restaurant. Don't forget the words "replacement cost" either, as I couldn't replace any of my lenses today for what I paid for them when I bought them.

Things turned out well for me, but don't take for granted that your home owners, renters, or vehicle insurance will cover you, especially if you have changed companies. Trip insurance is another thing to check on, since some have high deductibles and exclude electronic devices. I even had to ask for clarification of that term: electronic devices, since our cameras could certainly fall under that category. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not pay it out, and if you don't have proof of covering in writing, you will be screwed.

03-22-2013, 09:26 AM   #2
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Excellent advice! I accidentally left a Nikon P&S in a rental car in Puerto Rico last year. It cost over $300 new, and I never considered checking on insurance before the trip. I had my K-5 and a couple of lenses with me as well, but I kept a death grip on that bag at all times! Lol.
03-22-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
they kept trying to get me accept their word on it, and I learned early on that a verbal promise isn't worth the paper it's written on.
I don't disagree with you here, but isn't their promise to cover your stuff documented in the written policy originally issued? Mine is. If not then, didn't they send a written amendment covering any supplemental coverage you ordered? If they didn't then that's just bad business practice.

M
03-22-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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Good subject Tom -

While I don't travel, I've asked my insurance agent about similar items in the past. Each time I inquired, they wanted to sell me a rider on my homeowners insurance since the value of the items in question were fairly significant. So even if you aren't looking at this for travel, it's a good idea to check if your gear is even insured when at home.

03-22-2013, 10:06 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
I don't disagree with you here, but isn't their promise to cover your stuff documented in the written policy originally issued? Mine is. If not then, didn't they send a written amendment covering any supplemental coverage you ordered? If they didn't then that's just bad business practice.

M
A good example is when I quoted the term electronic devices. My policy has a limitation on this, so I wanted to find out what exactly the term meant. The policy had a glossary of terms, but electronic devices wasn't included. An email to the company resulted in a list that included desktop computers, laptop computers, gaming consoles and smart phones. As I said, it would be very easy to look at a modern DSLR and consider it an electronic device and I wanted to make sure that wasn't the case.
03-22-2013, 10:22 AM   #6
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The topic of insurance has been covered many many times. It is highly variable as a function of policy type and jurisdiction, however there are a few things to consider.

In many cases you can either have a specific rider on your policy, which costs between 1-2% of the insured value, but for which you can claim loss without deductible for every item listed, but for which you have no insurance for items not listed, the other is you can usually have coverage under your general home owner's insurance (or rental contents insurance if you are renting) for which you get replacement cost, but have a deductible.

Which is better? Good question.

Aside from the loss of some classic lenses, I believe that I would be better off with my home owners policy, here's why. Home owners policies are for replacement with new current model, riders are for an insured value you set.

I have 7 cameras, 3 film and 4 digital. All the digitalis were pentax's flagship bodies at their time, as is my filmPZ1. Under replacement value, I would have a deductible to pay, but even if it was $500, the replacement value would be in the order of the cost of 5 K5Ds and 3 K30Ds.

If in we're to insure them even for original purchase price I would never get this much, and if in insured them for replacement value in real honest terms under a rider, I would be paying a lot for less insurance than my present policy covers.

Then, look at lenses, what is the current equivalent model for the tamron 200-500/5.6.? Even using a bigma, or 170-500F6.3 is 3-5 times what I picked up my lens for. Do that across the board and again, I am covered much better than if I list any "fair market value for my lenses" and I have the added administration hassle of keeping replacement cost current year by year.

The down side is I am not covered for my own stupidity. If I drop something it's my fault and I pay. Considering the cost of a rider, for fair replacement value on my 7 bodies and 55 lenses, I can afford to break one lens a year,

Also, when travelling, do not forget that you have additional insurance, either with your credit card or car rental agreement. You pay somewhere for this in the cost of the car rental , or credit card fees. Use it!
03-22-2013, 10:50 AM   #7
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My insurance company recently sent a letter of amendment to their coverage. It capped the reimbursement of camera gear if stolen from a vehicle. Seems this is becoming a loss leader for the insurance industry so they want to lessen their expenses.

Jack
03-22-2013, 11:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
My insurance company recently sent a letter of amendment to their coverage. It capped the reimbursement of camera gear if stolen from a vehicle. Seems this is becoming a loss leader for the insurance industry so they want to lessen their expenses.

Jack
send them one back advising them the one they sent you is breach of contract. they can change this when it comes time to renew, but not after you paid for coverage.

03-22-2013, 12:01 PM   #9
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Keep in mind as well when you are travelling a lot, and with several bodies, outside your country, check with customs in your own country. A lot of insurances don't pay if something happens then, for instance more bodies with you then permitted, as in a lot of countries you can travel with just one or two bodies max a person. That's a rule of customs! And your insurance can't pay you then, it gives you a lot of paper work, but often needed when travelling with more bodies then permitted, if you do it correct&follow the rules of customs, an insurance can pay you if something happens then.

Hope it's a bit clear.
03-22-2013, 01:46 PM   #10
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I was surprised when my insurance replaced my K5 when it was spayed with sugary fizzy drink. We didn't realize untill the enxt day by which time the sugar had screwed the electronics.
03-22-2013, 01:51 PM   #11
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Also strongly weigh the following.

Use that camera and/or computer for business? Because if someone does more than two professional/paid (even donated) jobs per year; or if those jobs exceed 1k in total per year... Then one in most cases must get business (types) of insurance and not consumer. Under most states laws - if one would file a claim for consumer and then be using those items for business as prescribed earlier - then one would be committing felony level insurance fraud.

Ironically even most licensed agents aren't even aware of this, but the underwriters certainly are.
03-22-2013, 02:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
professional/paid
Also remember to get public liability cover as well, it's a prerequisite of many jobs these days.
03-23-2013, 06:20 PM   #13
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There are several factors you need to be aware of. First off, your policy whether a homeowners', condo or renters/tenants' insurance policy covers personal property. Be aware that claims for lost or damaged personal property are subject to the policy deductible. This could range anywhere from $100 on a tenants' insurance policy to as much as $1,000 or $2,500 on a homeowners' policy. You need to look at the policy declaration page for the amount of the deductible. The lowering of the deductible will increase the policy premium and the reverse, increasing the deductible, will lower the policy premium

The proper way to insurance expensive personal property whether it be an engagement ring, fine arts, antiques or cameras and lenses is either having them listed as specific items on the policy or with a separate inland marine (otherwise known as a floater) policy. You list all of the equipment to be insured, and in the event that a claim is made, the policy deductible is waived. Keep this in mind, if your camera and related equipment is stolen from your car, the claim would be covered not by the auto insurance policy but by the homeowners', condo or tenants insurance policy.

It is always best to document all of your equipment. Make sure you have the correct name, serial number and date of purchase for each item you want insured. Keep copies of the bill of sale, invoice and payment stub along with the inventory. When and if a claim is filed, you want to be able to provide proof to the insurance company that you did own the camera or lens in question. This would also apply to all of your personal property, take pictures with that Pentax camera and keep them in a safe place such as a safe deposit box at the bank.

All of this applies to individuals who are amateurs only. If you sell any photos as a result of your "hobby" then the insurance company could consider you a "pro" and the homeowners', condo or tenants insurance policy would not cover the claim. You should have a business policy that covers both liability and equipment..

While you can rely on your agent for advice, it is your responsibility to read your policy and if you have any questions, then contact your agent. Also, keep in mind that if you are in the habit of filing a claim for every little piece of equipment that you manage to loose, it will effect you policy premium on renewal. Save the claim for the big ticket items, the camera or that 70 -200 mm f.28 telephone.

Jay
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