Insuring My Gear
Thursday morning, I met with my State Farm insurance agent. My homeowners insurance was up for renewal and I wanted to make sure I had adequate coverage. I had a couple of concerns with our policy. It wasn’t anything State Farm had done, but as I stared at some of the purchases I’ve made over the past couple of years, I became concerned that some of it wouldn’t be covered.
Before I continue, I want to insert a disclaimer. I am not a representative of State Farm and do not receive any compensation from them in any way. Also, I have never filed a claim, so I am unsure of how they are at that end of the business. Still, I am happy with my agent who I met for the first time in the three years we’ve had coverage from State Farm. Anyway, I cannot promise that my experience with coverage is the same with everyone else, so check with your own insurance agent before making any changes.
When we got to the office, we went over the general coverage and then he looked up a quote for our auto policy (sadly, my auto insurance company was a lot cheaper). Then, we got to my biggest concerns of our policy. First, I was concerned about the property in our shed outside. He assured me that anything on our property was covered. Second, I had purchased a telescope and some gear for it. He said that it too was covered. Finally, we made it to my photography gear.
I had read a few times on the internet that camera gear was not covered by standard insurance policies. However, my agent told me that my camera and gear is covered (and that includes theft if it is stolen while I am out and about, which is definitely a plus since wherever I go, my camera is almost always with me). The question he asked me was if I was a professional. I told him that I wasn’t but that I did hope to go that route. His advice was something like this:
If I have a higher deductible, which I do at $1000, then losing my camera gear would be a large chunk of money if I were relying on that gear for income. He recommended that once I do start doing professional photography, I create a new policy large enough to cover all of my gear and have $0 deductible. He told me he had a client with a large amount of jewelry, worth twice my home’s value (which I know in this economy isn’t saying much), with no deductible and the annual premium was only about $160.
That is definitely an option for me once I become a professional, I just can’t justify the cost at this time. I talked to my wife about it and what we decided was that the better option would be to lower our deductible to $500 for now. That would only add about $25 a year. Then, when I started getting income from photography, I would get a special policy for my gear and we would raise our deductible back up to $1000.
What is the moral of my story? Call your insurance agent and ask questions! Don’t assume you have coverage but also don’t assume you don’t. Think about the risks you are taking by having your gear out with you. In my case, $1000 would equate to about half the cost of my gear and would be hard to justify spending. However, if something did happen, we could spend the $500 to replace it.
In the future, once I start gaining income from my photography, I will then explore my options for insuring my gear as well as my business, but that is a while away yet, Until then, I’ll just keep practicing until my clients start to pay me.