* My Profile My Galleries My Networks

Equipment Insurance, need suggestions

Hi all,

I’m looking for a new insurance agency to insure my camera equipment at home in the states and abroad. The policy needs to cover theft, accidents (like if I drop a lens), natural disasters, and damage that can occur in countries with civil strife or war, meaning, if my equipment gets blown up, I’d like for the policy to cover it.

I’ve been insured with American Photographic Artists (APA, formerly known as Advertising Photographers of America) for the past year and am not too happy with their services. First off, I was guaranteed by the insurance agent that my equipment would be covered in Afghanistan; it was not. But the real kicker came when my apartment was broken into in Austin while I was out of town and they would not cover the equipment that was stolen, either. It had turned out that the same agent who initially took my application, had also taken his sweet time processing my file, and my policy was put into place exactly one day after the burglary. Not OK.

Perhaps NPPA or a more journalist-geared organization might provide this type of insurance?? Would love some suggestions, Thanks!

by [a former member] at 2010-08-09 22:56:05 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hi Erin, Sorry to hear about your insurance problems, and I hope you find a good solution. I can’t help directly as I am in the UK, but I can sound a cautionary tale for those operating uninsured: never assume that you will be able to manage without insurance – it is the things you do not think of that can ruin you.

Last year I was working late in my office prior to taking a vacation with my family the following morning. I turned off all my systems, double checked everything and locked up at midnight. The following morning as I was loading the car I got a call from the guys in the IT business next to mine – they have spare keys to my office and had had to let themselves in because they could tell there was a problem: the in-line water filter system in my darkroom had failed (we think about half an hour after I had left), and mains pressure water had been escaping for about 8 hours. Fortunately the damage I sustained was relatively light because of the way everything was set up (although that was happy coincidence), and my own claim was for about $3000. However, the damage to the building and the business below mine (a joinery workshop) was significant. Total claim about $150,000. This was claimed against my public liability insurance. Had I not been covered I would have lost my house, my business, the lot.

The moral is, insurance really is for those things that you don’t imagine happening. My insurers were excellent. Once I had done a basic cleanup they said there was nothing further I could do at that point so to go off on vacation as planned, albeit a day late, and they would take care of things, which they did. And when it came time to renew they did not hit me with punitive premiums because although it was a big claim it was also clearly legitimate.

Erin, I will contact my broker here and see if they have a sister company or such that they can recommend that operates in the US, and let you know.

by Michael Cockerham | 10 Aug 2010 09:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hi again Erin,

Further to my last post, my brokers do not have any tie ins with companies in the US, but they have suggested you look at the options available through http://www.ppa.com Hope that is some help.

by Michael Cockerham | 10 Aug 2010 12:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hi Michael,

Thanks for this story and for the information. I was insured with PPA for a while. Although I think they are good, they don’t insure equipment in war zones, and their membership fee for professionals escalates to about $400 a year after the first year, and that is not including the premium. But I will keep searching. Thanks!

by [former member] | 10 Aug 2010 17:08 | Austin, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Erin,

If you ended up finding something good, would you please post it? I also in search for a good insurance worlwide (including SE Asia countries). Thanks! Hope is all well.

by [former member] | 11 Aug 2010 03:08 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
try Tom Pickard in Hermosa Beach, Ca. He offers an umbrella policy, similar to that which you can obtain trhough ASMP, at a lower cost.

by Richard Lord | 11 Aug 2010 08:08 | Nairobi and Kisumu, Kenya | | Report spam→
hello guys!
do you know about any insurance that works also for italians photographers? i spent a lot of time in the usually insurance companies but i was not able to find anything…
thanks in advance as always


by Alessandro Rampazzo | 11 Aug 2010 10:08 | padova, Italy | | Report spam→
I use Hays through NPPA. Theft and drop+break, about $750 covers ~$15,000 of equipment. Worldwide coverage is included for coverage up to $25,000, and beyond that are additional travel charges. Never had to make a claim, or amend my travel gear for anyplace on the State Dept Travel Warning List. My deductibles are $500 drop/break and $1,000 theft.

I once read a good review, I think on sportsshooter, that the Hays plan “covers stupidity” and that a photog had left his camera bag on top of a taxi and took off, and got his full claim.

Arantxa, I think you need a US address, but I was able to work it all out from PP.

by [former member] | 11 Aug 2010 10:08 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
yeah, check out PPA. they are mostly a wedding photog organization, but they partner with a group called Marsh that has good rates for replacement cost and $100 deductibles. you have to join PPA to be eligable with MARSH. I have not yet made a claim, and that is the real test of course. They do not cover “acts of war” but due to a federal law they have to cover “act of terrorism” and since the US government considers the Taliban a terrorist organization, I would think you would be covered. most likely though, if your camera gets blowed up, so will you, and you dont have to worry about it.
If your camera gets stolen, or you fall in a river in afghanistan, you will be covered (so they say)
thing about insurance companies, most seem to be pretty crooked.
I have been paying PPA for 5 or 6 years. for $1300 of gear, it costs me about $55o a year (including ppa membership dues)

by [former member] | 11 Aug 2010 11:08 (ed. Aug 11 2010) | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
I am about to sign with Tom Pickard. I have no idea how good they are as far as claims go but their rates are more reasonable then all the others I have looked at. Here is their website http://www.tcpinsurance.com/photographer.html

by Rustin Gudim | 12 Aug 2010 08:08 | Colorado, United States | | Report spam→
I use Tom Picard. I’ve never made a claim so I can’t say how good they are in that sense. But I don’t think they cover war-zones… and there might even be something in there about places with US State Department travel warnings… which I think even Canada has such a warning. Something to look into further.

by Narayan Mahon | 12 Aug 2010 13:08 | Madison, Wisconsin, United States | | Report spam→
Yeah if I remember correctly, they don’t cover war zones, earthquakes or volcanoes. Not sure about US State Dept warnings. I have to call them in a few days. I will find out and post the answer to that here.

by Rustin Gudim | 12 Aug 2010 15:08 | Colorado, United States | | Report spam→
NANPA has a very good policy through Rand and Chubb. You have to join NANPA for $100 a year, but even with that added cost it still has the best cost, coverage, and lowest deductibles of any of the others I researched. It has very good coverage but you need to check to see if it covers natural disasters, civil strife and war.

by Doug Klostermann | 12 Aug 2010 16:08 (ed. Aug 13 2010) | Cambridge, MA, United States | | Report spam→

State Farm. Seriously, while I have never had to make a claim I have equipment loss, theft, & damage, $2mil GL coverage, $10,000 in misc equipment (for rentals) so far no problem with foreign coverage (but I have not been to Afghanistan) $500/yr. Plus I deal directly with my agent, not an 800 number.

If by chance you already insur house/car with State Farm you’ll even get a better deal.

by Cameron McIntyre | 14 Aug 2010 16:08 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
I’ll second the State Farm. Read the fine print because it’s pretty standard for ANY type of insurance to not cover “acts of war”

by Jason Muelver | 14 Aug 2010 21:08 | Tallinn, Estonia | | Report spam→
Erin, the agent that did not make the placement of your insurance on a timely basis may be liable for that failure. Most agents have professional liability insurance. If you can show that they were negligent in not effectuating the policy then they should be liable — in effect providing you with insurance.

by [former member] | 15 Aug 2010 10:08 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Never, never insure with State Farm. They are crooks. Try to make a claim, you’ll see.

by [former member] | 15 Aug 2010 11:08 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
Thanks all for these responses. I am looking into NPPA currently, who insures with Hayes Affinity. The only woman behind the desk there, Renee Green, however, is not too personal when it comes to direct contact, ie: you leave a a couple of voicemails and she replies with an email. When I inquired whether or not NPPA covered acts of terror, the only response I got was an “I don’t know, it depends on the claim adjusters.” I think I remember being hesitant about insuring with them last time for this very reason. Not to bad mouth Ms. Green who I am sure is a nice person, but part of what draws me to specific agencies is if they are personal and friendly, and willing to put customer satisfaction as a priority (maybe I am asking too much of an insurance company? :)

However, I did have a claim with PPA / Marsh before, and the agents there are very friendly and helpful. My camera was stolen at Visa in Perpignan (because I, like a naive, young photographer set it down and walked off). The police report was in French and they were nice enough to accept it and pay for all losses. So I might try PPA again. I will call them this week and see if they cover “acts of terror”… will update as soon as I find out.

by [former member] | 15 Aug 2010 20:08 | Austin, United States | | Report spam→

Get notified when someone replies to this thread:
Feed-icon-10x10 via RSS
Icon_email via email
You can unsubscribe later.

More about sponsorship→


Michael Cockerham, Documentalistic Bystander Michael Cockerham
Documentalistic Bystander
(Image Matters)
Cologne , Germany
Richard Lord, Photographer Richard Lord
(Worldwide Corporate and NGO Ph)
Nairobi And Kisumu , Kenya
Alessandro Rampazzo, Freelance Photojournalist Alessandro Rampazzo
Freelance Photojournalist
Sao Paulo , Brazil
Rustin Gudim, Photographer Rustin Gudim
Colorado , United States
Narayan Mahon, Photographer Narayan Mahon
Madison, Wisconsin , United States
Doug Klostermann, Photographer and Writer Doug Klostermann
Photographer and Writer
(humanitarian photographer)
Cambridge, Ma , United States
Cameron McIntyre, Photographer Cameron McIntyre
Los Angeles , United States
Jason Muelver, Photographer Jason Muelver
Chicago , United States ( ORD )


Top↑ | RSS/XML | Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | support@lightstalkers.org / ©2004-2015 November Eleven