When Insurance Is No Insurance
Many folks ask me what do I do for camera and gear insurance when I am on the road. In theory I have it covered by a very credible company. Though this theory has never been put to the test. (It has on the other hand cost me a lot in premiums.)
I joined the National Press Photographers Association or NPPA for just this reason – insurance. NPPA works with Hays Affinity to provide insurance for it’s members photographic equipment. It is not cheap, but it does cover your gear when you travel, that is if, and this is a big IF, you tell them in advance about every trip you take. That has been a mill stone around my neck that seems impossible to live up to. At least for this ADD photographer. There is no easy number to call and say, “Hey Mr Hays agent, I leave tomorrow for Outer Nowhereistan and will be back on the following Thursday. Is my gear covered?” Instead, you have to log into their website and download the “Overseas Travel Addendum” fill it out and fax it or send it to an agent and hope for the best. Not very user friendly and not that easy to plan and get done prior to a trip. Plus, as with any insurance company you always need a current list of your gear on file with them and they will need to adjust your premiums to reflect that new gear.
Don’t do what I did.
Here is a lesson learned the hard way. I have not had anything lost or stolen for years. Oh, sure, I miss place my keys at home or I leave my wallet in my pants and then can’t find it the next day. I would venture to say that most folks can relate to this. But, the inevitable happens. Earlier this last year I bought with good hard earned money a Fujifilm X100, the much celebrated and much sought after retro digital range finder. A great camera. This past trip to the USA I used it to shoot some family photos of some friends while visiting them in the US. Somewhere between the photo shoot and packing to leave, the Camera has disappeared. Yes, that is right, my sweet, sexy little X100 has vanished. They only thing left is the charger and a cool lens hood. But, I am covered for theft, right? Nope. I would have been had I added the little guy to my insured list of gear. Unfortunately, it is the only item of gear not on the list. The only one! I am sick. But it is a lesson learned and will not happen again. Would it have been covered? Not sure, as I did not inform them of my travel plans.
The moral to the story is get your gear covered and keep your list updated. When was the last time you updated your gear list? GO DO IT NOW!
Update: I have found my camera. I had put it in the glove box of my sister-in-laws car. Apparently, so it wouldn’t get stolen or so I wouldn’t loose it when we went into a restaurant for dinner. It was a forgetful and embarrassing thing to have happen. Yet, I have decided to post this story anyway. The lessons still remain and the questions still need to be asked:
- Are you insured?
- Is your gear list up to date?
- What is your insurer’s policies on travel?
Get busy, you have a lot of work to do!