Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your own professional photography business, there are a few things you need to know about camera rental and insurance – mainly that finding and having the right insurance is almost as important as getting the perfect shot.
If you have questions, you’ve come to the right place – below, we provide a helpful overview of everything you need to know about professional camera rental and insurance. Let’s get started.
What is Camera Rental Insurance?
Think of camera rental insurance the same way you would any of your other insurance policies. This type of insurance is designed to cover costs associated with any accidental damage, theft, or other types of losses you may face when using your equipment on a shoot.
While the available coverages may vary based on your insurance carrier, your camera will generally be covered in the event of the following:
- Accidental damage
- Loss due to natural disasters, including power surges
Breakdowns are also typically covered if your camera equipment has already exceeded its warranty period. If you have questions about what’s covered in your insurance policy, it’s best to contact your insurance carrier for clarification. There may be variations that affect your insurance claim, such as where the loss occurred and who holds fault – i.e., you or a third-party vendor, etc.
Types of Insurance You May Need as a Professional Photographer
Like car insurance policies, there may be different types of insurance policies you need to cover different things. As such, there are generally five types of insurance you may need as a professional photographer, depending on the equipment you’re using. These include:
- Rented Cameras
- Camera Drones
- Inland Marine Insurance
- Commercial Property Insurance
- Pre-owned/Secondhand Insurance
Here’s a breakdown of each of these:
When it comes to renting camera equipment, you may want to invest in insurance for the items that you’re renting. In most cases, this is usually either the camera itself or a camera lens.
Insurance for rented cameras and/or lenses usually offers two options. In most cases, the equipment you’re renting is already covered by an existing policy. All you need to do is verify the level of protection offered.
The second option is to invest in your own short-term insurance. Whereas the company you’re renting the equipment from probably has a standard rate, the rate of your short-term insurance will vary depending on the location in which you’re using the camera, as well as their own policy rates.
Regardless of which avenue you take, you should always speak with the insurance carrier to determine what their rates are and what they cover in the event you lose the rented camera or lens or if it’s damaged in any way.
Drone photography has grown in popularity over the past few years, so if you’re planning on using this equipment, you must invest in proper coverage for it.
Because it is so unique and new, you’ll usually have to pay a premium fee when it comes to insuring it. After all, a drone is technically considered an unmanned aircraft, so it needs extensive coverage.
Furthermore, not every insurance carrier may feel comfortable insuring a piece of equipment like this, so you may have to shop around.
Inland Marine Insurance
If you travel a lot for your photography business, then you’ll want to invest in inland marine insurance. This type of insurance makes sure you’ve covered if your camera and/or equipment is lost or damaged while traveling.
Commercial Property Insurance
Before allowing a photographer on property, many venues actually require proof of commercial property insurance for all vendors. Commercial property insurance covers you while working at a specific address. So, if your camera is damaged, stolen, or vandalized at a specific address, this coverage will kick in.
In today’s market, it may be easier to buy a pre-owned camera instead of brand-new. If you opt for this option, you should make sure it’s insured. You can obtain insurance that will reimburse you if your camera is stolen or damaged. This is called replacement value. You can also opt for reimbursement at cash or market value. This means you’ll receive money based on the camera’s current value, not what it was originally sold for.
There is no right or wrong option, so feel free to move forward with the one that suits you best.
How Much is Camera Insurance?
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash
When it comes to determining how much insurance will cost, the answer is that it depends. It depends on the type of camera equipment you’re renting, where you’re renting it from, and if you opt for your own insurance. Insurance companies all offer different rates, so it’s hard to put a number on exactly what camera insurance will cost.
However, you can get a better idea of the type of rates you may run into by analyzing exactly what your needs are upfront. For example, if you don’t travel for your business, then you don’t need to invest in inland marine insurance.
Furthermore, if you don’t have a drone and no plans to get one, then you don’t have to invest in that type of insurance coverage right now, even if you change your mind later on. If you do decide to get a drone and only use it sparingly, you might want to invest in short-term coverage because accidents can still happen.
By analyzing what your current needs are, you can make sure you’re only signing up for the insurance you need, instead of taking on everything that could add extra expenses to your photography business.
Do Photography Companies Offer Insurance?
If you’re using the equipment from another photography association, then you will usually already have coverage through them, as many include it as part of their membership fees.
An example of this is the ASMP (or American Society of Media Photographers) as well as the PPA (Professional Photographers of America). The PPA, for example, offers members up to $15,000 coverage.
Can You Use Homeowners Insurance?
If you have homeowners insurance, you may be wondering if you can use that to cover your camera equipment. And the answer is yes, but there is a caveat.
Homeowners insurance is best suited for those who are engaging in photography as a hobby. For example, you enjoy dabbling in it for yourself and your loved ones, but you aren’t making a profit off it.
Once you start using your camera for business, you’ll want to invest in the insurance options mentioned above. This is because homeowners insurance doesn’t offer as much coverage. For example, they may cover damages caused by theft, but not a breakdown. Using homeowners insurance doesn’t offer as much flexibility. Plus, if you have an LLC attached to your photography business, you actually have to have your own business insurance. Personal insurance will no longer be applicable.
How Much is My Camera Worth?
When it comes to getting insurance for your camera, you should consider how much it is worth. To do this, you should keep receipts from all your purchases, as well as your warranty paperwork. Most insurance carriers will take receipts that are a few years old, but if you don’t have this or it’s been a long time, you should look up the current market value of your camera.
Just like buying a car and driving it off the lot, the value of your camera will depreciate as time goes on. So, it’s recommended that you invest in camera insurance as soon as you buy or rent your camera.
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