Shop Talk: Equipment Insurance
Last month I was robbed along with two colleagues of mine while we were sleeping. No one was hurt – we slept through the whole thing. But… they made off with about $10,000 in photography equipment and laptops. Luckily I was insured. After going through this experience I wanted to take the time to write about equipment insurance, which even if you have renters insurance or home owners insurance is worth getting because often times these policies will not cover you while you are traveling. Plus, they often have higher deductibles.
Here are a few options for companies that specialize in photography equipment:
1) Tom C. Pickard and Co. which offers specialty insurance for photographers and film makers.
2) CG&B Group from Canada which offers equipment insurance for photographers, film makers, audio engineers, ect.
3) Hill and Ushers or Package Choice which is based out of Arizona.
4) Marsh An insurance policy special for members of PPA.
5) APA National American Photographic Artists’ insurance.
6) Hays Affinity which is affiliated with NPPA
Another option besides using one of these companies is by contacting your local insurance representative and seeing if they can tailor something to your needs.
Here is the streamlined way to apply for insurance through MARSH, which I use personally.
STEP ONE: It is really quite simple to apply, but first you must become a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America), which is an organization that represents mostly portrait photographers, event photographers, and the like. Here is the link: http://www.ppa.com/
Sign up, pay, and register. Once you get a confirmation email you will get a PPA member number. This is important – you must have it to apply for the insurance and you must put it on the application forms.
STEP TWO: download these files: Application Form or this Application Form for residents of FL, IA, KY, NJ, OR and UT and fill out the forms. Make sure you have all of your serial numbers and the correct replacement costs for each item in detail. If you need to make a claim later you will have to prove this (more about this later). Your premium will be based on how you complete this form.
STEP THREE: Sign and date, make copies for your files, and mail the application to the address on the forms. Your insurance should begin the date you put on your form, although I have called before in the past and given them credit card information just to be sure (but I am paranoid).
FILING A CLAIM: Filing a claim with Marsh is quite simple. After you apply they will give you a client number, which will help expedite the process. Just call them up and an adjuster will be in contact with you within a couple days. I recommend staying on top of the adjuster though to make sure you get your money back ASAP. They will ask you for some basic things, a copy of a police report, or some proof of damage, and an example of a replacement cost (a screen shot from B&H or Apple will do just fine). Then they will have a copy of a form, which you must sign with a notary (this is the only hard part – which if you are always traveling can be an issue).
Important information: Marsh Questions 1-800-588-7518 or PLSDSTeam@seabury.com
More PPA member insurance benefits, which include accidental dismemberment or death, and health: https://www.personal-plans.com/ppa/welcome.do
TIP: Make sure to add your computer programs, like Photoshop (and serial numbers), and not just the replacement cost of your computer, to the equipment schedule and please be sure to read all of the fine print before you sign up.
Equipment insurance is something you hope to never use, but that’s true of all kinds of insurance. Your deductible will look cheap in the face of $10,000 worth of missing equipment.