Is there such a thing as semi-pro insurance for photographers?
June 14, 2007 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I suspect the answer is "No", but I thought I would ask anyway: Is there such a thing as a semi-pro level of insurance for digital cameras?

I currently have about $3000 worth of digital camera equipment (dSLR, lenses, etc.) that I use for my photography hobby. The items are insured at-cost right now as a rider on our renter's insurance policy, which will cover loss, theft, etc.

That's all well and good, but my issue is this: I'd like to be able to sell prints of my photos, but the rider specifically excludes coverage on equipment for "business use". Business use, as I understand it, is defined as earning even 1 cent with the equipment. I know there are Inland-Marine policies and other business policies to cover camera equipment and professional photographers, but I don't really need all that they offer. Plus, they can be expensive. I never do paid photo shoots, nor do I intend to in the future. I don't intend to make this a full-time job or even a part-time job, and I don't want to sell that many prints.

I've scoured the web and the big photography forums, but I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Is there some sort of photographers insurance that will cover the cost of the equipment if I were to earn up to a certain amount of money per year by selling prints, say under $500?
posted by geeky to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Call your agent. You probably just need to change the rider. For $13/yr, up to $25k of equipment is covered, on premises and off, by a "business equipment" rider on the renters policy.

If you want to get a policy through a professional org, $144 gets you an Aspiring Photographer membership in Professional Photographers of America, with access to their insurance pool. Here's their coverage recommendations.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:42 AM on June 14, 2007

Have you asked your current insurance company? If there's one thing insurance companies love to do, it's to insure things. $3,000 in the insurance world isn't a whole heck of a lot, and any individual policy you found out there would have a lot of overhead. If there's any way to keep it as a rider, I would.

But how much is your current rider, and how much does it cover? Does it cover accidents regardless of fault? Theft on vacation? Do you want it to? What is the deductible for the rider? Is this risk you might be willing to shoulder yourself? Total up five years of payments and add the deductible. How does that to compare to $3,000—or to the maybe $2,000 (depending on which body you have) it will be worth in five years.
posted by deadfather at 10:43 AM on June 14, 2007

25k of equipment

...of my equipment, that is. Obviously your quote could be different.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:43 AM on June 14, 2007

I'm also in need of some camera gear insurance. The Aspiring Photographer membership in Professional Photographers of America plan looks pretty solid, but it's limited to 2 years before doubling in price to the regular membership.

It seems like membership itself includes the insurance this right?
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:38 PM on June 14, 2007

To give you an idea, my renter's insurance (and homeowners insurance would too) gives me 1000 dollars in business coverage straight up with no extra costs. In my case, it would apply to a work laptop at home and similar. I know that my agent tried upselling me a bit to cover more.

Just ask any given insurance agent, and they will insure it, and it probably falls under your homeowners insurance.
posted by cschneid at 12:45 PM on June 14, 2007

Safeware has been very highly recommended to me by my techie friends. Most people use them to insure laptops, but you can contact them for a quote on insuring other equipment. They seem to have no restrictions on for-profit equipment usage.
posted by allterrainbrain at 1:14 AM on June 15, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions!

Calling my insurance agent has been a last resort because I've been really hoping to avoid paying the full business insurance price, since like I said I don't intend to make a lot of money from this. The PPA membership sounds interesting, I will definitely check that and Safeware out. I know $3000 isn't a lot of money in terms of insurables, but I do intend to buy another $1500 lens soon upping the value to $4500, and I definitely do not have $4500 laying around to replace my gear!

If I find something I'm happy with, I'll be sure to come back and update.
posted by geeky at 7:44 AM on June 15, 2007

Response by poster: A small update: I got in touch with my insurance agent, who told me that in her opinion, selling a few prints did not constitute business use. Keeping in mind that she does not actually work directly for my insurance company (Travelers), I tried emailing Travelers (to get an answer in writing) but was told I would have to call for policy specific questions. So for now, I'm going to sell a few prints based on my insurance agents word.
posted by geeky at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2007

Response by poster: Update to my update: I now have my camera equipment listed on a separate, stand alone policy with State Farm. It's not a full inland marine policy with liability coverage, just a personal articles policy to cover replacement cost of the equipment should I happen to, say, drop my camera in the river that I'm photographing. Also, it includes a "professional camera" endorsement, clearing me to sell prints with the understanding that I do not do work for hire, only sell prints of photos I have taken of my own free will (what they consider minimal business use).

This is exactly the kind of coverage I was looking for, and for the right price as well. The rate I was quoted was $2.16 for every $100 of insured value. An added bonus is that it's not related in any way to my homeowners' insurance, which is through a separate company. This way I don't have to worry about making a claim to replace my camera and getting dropped from my homeowners policy.

So to answer my own question, YES, such a thing does exist :)
posted by geeky at 11:15 AM on May 16, 2008

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