Would you be lost without your camera? For the things your case can’t protect, insurance can.
If you’ve got a camera, chances are that it’s your pride and joy. So it only makes sense to protect it properly. You can take out speciality camera insurance or contents insurance can protect your camera inside and outside of the home, as well as a bunch of other things like your laptop and mobile phone.
Protect your camera and a bunch of other things!
How do I insure my camera?
You’ll typically have two options when it comes to ensuring your camera and equipment:
- Contents insurance. If you’ve got an expensive camera hanging around your neck you might be wondering if your home insurance policy will cover you. The good news is that it will not only cover your camera, but it will also cover a bunch of other things in your home. If you’ve got a really expensive camera and you take it out of your home often, all you have to do is add portable contents insurance to your existing policy.
- Specialist camera insurance. There are some insurers who specialise in covering cameras and other photography equipment, which are usually aimed at professional photographers and hardcore enthusiasts. These policies usually provide a higher level of cover but will usually cost more.
What does camera insurance cover?
When your camera is appropriately insured, your insurance should pay to replace it when:
- Someone steals it
- It gets damaged unintentionally
The key is making sure it is appropriately insured. The following sections explain how you can get full cover for your camera by customising your contents insurance.
1. Contents Insurance
This covers all the stuff in your home and that includes your camera gear! This type of policy will only cover your camera while it’s in your home.
Additionally, some insurers will place a limit on how much you can claim on certain types of items (this is called a sub-limit). For example, even if you have $30,000 worth of contents cover, you may be capped at $2,000 for camera stuff. If someone steals $5,000 worth of camera equipment, the most you’ll get back is $2,000. Not all contents policies have a camera sub-limit, so make sure to shop around.
2. Valuable Contents Insurance
If your camera and equipment are worth more than the sub-limit on your general contents insurance policy, you can still have it insured for the full value but you’ll need to do an upgrade. By adding valuable contents insurance to your policy, you specify exactly which item or items you want to insure and for how much. The insurer will adjust your premiums based on this information. This only protects your gear while it’s in the home.
3. Portable Contents Insurance
Portable contents insurance ensures that you’re covered when you take the camera out of your home. You can buy this as an add-on to your contents insurance policy. It should cover you if your camera and equipment are stolen or unintentionally damaged when they are inside or outside of the home. Some portable contents policies will even cover you when you are travelling outside of Australia.
Even with a high-benefit limit you may still run into sub-limits where your insurer will only pay a certain amount for any single item. For example, you could take out a $10,000 policy to cover $10,000 worth of camera equipment but your policy could state that it will only cover up to $2,000 for any single item. That means your expensive $3,000 lens wouldn’t fully be covered.
In a case like this, you could add your lens and anything else worth more than $2,000 as a specified portable item and get cover for the full amount. This might raise your premiums slightly.
Can I get camera insurance if I already have contents insurance?
Yes. You can add valuable contents insurance to your policy to increase your cover for when the camera is in the home, or portable contents insurance to protect you when you are outdoors.
Otherwise, you can purchase a standalone policy for your gear from a speciality insurer. One benefit of going this route is that speciality camera insurers are usually camera experts and may be better positioned to organise tricky repairs. They also usually offer business insurance specifically tailored to professional photographers.
How to get your camera insured
Here are the steps you need to take if you want to get your camera and equipment insured:
- Figure out how much everything is worth. Dig out all your old receipts and work out how much all your equipment is worth. Write down the value of each individual item as well as the total value of everything.
- Review any existing contents insurance. If you currently have contents insurance, look at your policy documents and see if there are any sub-limits on how much you can claim for camera equipment. Also see how much your policy will pay for any one individual item.
- Decide what additional cover you need. If your contents insurance doesn’t provide enough cover, you need to decide if you want to add extensions to your existing policy or to go with a speciality camera insurer instead.
- Shop around. Insurers can vary widely in how they treat cameras. For instance, some contents insurance policies don’t have sub-limits for cameras at all, while others will limit your camera claims to $2,000. Of course, this will also have an effect on the price you pay for the policy, so be sure to judge the price based on how well the policy meets your needs.
- List your camera and equipment on the policy. When you insure high-value items, you usually have to list them all out separately on your policy along with their value. You may even have to provide receipts to prove how much they are worth.
Why do I need camera insurance?
There are plenty of reasons why you would need insurance for your camera. Here are a few:
- Cameras are expensive. Some DSLRs can cost as much as $3,000 and that’s before you add in your lenses, which can cost upwards of $2,000 each. The total value can easily reach levels that are higher than a general contents insurance policy will pay towards cameras and related equipment.
- Cameras are attractive to thieves. Their high value and relatively small footprint make cameras among the most popular items for thieves. Without insurance, you could be out big bucks if someone makes off with your gear.
- Cameras are often used outside. General contents insurance won’t cover your camera when it is outside the home, so you’ll definitely need camera insurance if you want to be covered where you use the camera most.
Camera insurance traps to avoid
It’s easy to think your camera and equipment are fully covered, when they are really not. Here are some traps you should avoid when taking out a camera insurance policy:
- Having sub-limits that are too low. Even if you have $30,000 worth of cover with your contents policy, your limit on camera equipment could be much lower. Check your policy to make sure your camera sub-limit is enough to cover all your equipment. If not, consider valuable contents insurance.
- Not being covered outside the home. Most contents policies don’t automatically cover your equipment outside the home. So if someone steals your camera out of your car or you drop it during a photoshoot, you’ll be out of luck. If you often take your camera out, you should definitely add portable contents insurance to your policy or buy a specialist camera policy that includes it.
- Not having enough cover when travelling. Most portable contents policies will protect your camera when you take it out of the country, but sometimes they will set a lower limit than what your policy would cover if you were at home. If you’re travelling, make sure your benefit limits are enough to cover your camera completely.
- Not being able to choose your repairer. Some insurers have their own network of repairers they like to use and they won’t let you choose who repairs your camera if it’s broken. If you have a repair shop you trust, then you’ll want to find a policy that lets you choose your own repairer.
Tips for insuring a camera
Here are some more tips to help you get the most out of your camera insurance:
- Get cover right away. There’s no point waiting to get cover when you’re carrying around thousands of dollars of sensitive equipment. Every day you wait is another day where something could go wrong and your camera could get damaged or stolen.
- Understand your options. If you already have contents insurance it may be worth sticking with that and then adjusting it a bit to cover your camera. If you don’t already have contents insurance, then a speciality insurance policy may be the way to go.
- Read the fine print. All insurers treat camera insurance a little differently so you want to make sure the policy you choose will cover you for every situation you need it to. Does it cover you when you are travelling? Can you choose your repairer? Does you policy have sub-limits on camera equipment?
- Keep your receipts. When you are insuring high-value items, insurers usually want to see proof of ownership. The best way to do this is by presenting receipts. If you don’t have receipts you may be able to use photos of you with your camera and/or equipment.
Camera insurance for travellers
Most portable contents insurance policies will cover you completely when you are travelling in Australia or New Zealand. Other policies will protect you when you are travelling outside of those two countries but with limitations.
For example, your policy might limit your total overseas claim for all items to $10,000 whereas in Australia, you’d be covered for $10,000 per item.
Others might cover you for the full amount while travelling, but only for trips up to a certain length like 30 days.
If your portable contents insurance or camera insurance policy doesn’t provide enough cover for your overseas trip, you may want to take out travel insurance for the duration of your trip. Most travel insurance policies include cover for personal belongings like cameras.
Should I insure my camera through the camera store?
Some retail shops will offer a form of protection called extended care. This is essentially just an extension of the warranty, where you’ll be covered if your camera malfunctions outside of your warranty period but within the extended care period.
A good camera should come with a long warranty anyway, so in many cases, extended care is unnecessary, especially since it doesn’t protect you if someone steals your camera or you accidentally damage it.
Frequently asked questions about camera insurance