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Some thoughts on insuring camera gear
Old 10-10-2018   #1
bmattock
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Some thoughts on insuring camera gear

With some recent threads on damaged / lost / stolen equipment, and with recent news about catastrophic damage due to natural disasters like floods and hurricanes and so on, I thought it might be worth mentioning insurance.

I am not an insurance agent, I have no ax to grind, and this is only for people in the USA; insurance may work very differently in other countries.

First, it is always worthwhile to speak with your insurance agent from time to time to review your coverage. You may wish to increase coverage, since times changes and people tend to accumulate items of value over time. You may wish to modify deductibles or add riders to cover especially valuable items or certain types of risk that your policy may not currently cover.

Most homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage caused by natural events like weather. That's a separate policy and although it isn't usually terribly expensive, most people don't have it and discover this to their chagrin only after suffering a loss.

Many policies also do not cover flooding due to sewer backups. The insurance companies will off the coverage and it's not expensive typically, but in many cases if you do not ask for it, they won't try to sell it to you, and again, if the sewer backs up and floods the basement and damages your property, you may not be covered.

Sometimes there are limits on the amount of coverage for a certain type of item, like jewelry, firearms, electronics, or other high-cost small items, which can include camera gear. You could have a large policy with a high dollar value but still find that there is a cap on any given type of claim, so check wth your agent. You can always get coverage for more, but you have to ask for it (and pay for it of course).

Many people do not realize that their homeowners or renters policy may cover them when they are away from home, even against things like theft or loss/damage of photographic equipment. There can be deductibles that make it not worth making a claim, but you should talk to your agent and review your policy and ask questions about things like that to find out.

Finally, there are two distinctly different types of policy, Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost. A lot of people have no idea what the two are or why it's important to know which one they have.

Actual Cash Value is a type of policy that replaces lost or damaged or stolen covered items on a depreciated scaled based on age. Replacement Cost will pay to actually replace like with like - meaning if you lose a camera you get the money to replace that with a camera of comparable capability, regardless of what the older camera may have been worth at the time due to things like shutter count, depreciation, etc.

Most people would say they would want Replacement Cost if all things were equal, but of course Replacement Cost insurance costs more. The question for you and your agent is whether or not that coverage is available to you and how much more it costs, and if you're willing to pay that or just assume the risk of loss yourself.

Here's a good link that explains it:

https://www.eqgroup.com/acv_explained/

All of the above is for people who are NOT running a photographic business either out of their home or from a different location. That's a whole 'nother ball of wax, and yes, you definitely need specialized insurance for that. Even for things like liability if you get sued by a client or if a model trips and falls on a cable or something, not just the loss of equipment.

Hope that is helpful. My wife and I review our policy annually. It's really worth doing, you never know what you might discover and decide to make a change. Like a recent inheritance of a valuable piece of jewelry; we discovered that by itself it blew past the modest cap we had on our homeowner's policy for jewelry. However, after thinking it over we decided not to increase the cap because we decided the risk was preferable to us to the increased cost of raising the cap - but you may make a different decision, and our decision may change the next time we review our policy. That's why it is important to know and not to just hope everything turns out OK.
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Old 10-10-2018   #2
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I added a personal articles insurance to our home owners insurance. I limited the coverage to M8, M9, SWC and some lenses. Ask for a replacement value coverage.
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Old 10-10-2018   #3
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And of course many insurers will try to weasel out of claims, or of course simply deny that you were ever insured. When I went to renew my Allstate insurance after the first year (no claims) they said, "No, we can't renew it, and you never were actually insured." When I asked for my money back they refused.

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Old 10-10-2018   #4
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I used to have insurance with State Farm. My Canon F1N with a Canon 300mm lens fell into the Gulf of Mexico after a strong wave hit my tripod. They first tried to get the camera and lens repaired, but then they sent me a good amount of money to buy a replacement F1N and 300mm lens.
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Old 10-10-2018   #5
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Old 10-10-2018   #6
Peter Wijninga
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As an expatriate, I have given up on 'camera insurance' many moons ago. It's not worth the hassle.
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Old 10-10-2018   #7
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My experience with an insurance company when making a claim was like getting robbed a second time. Also was accused of fraud and other criminal activity.

BTW the Police are not like on TV: they pretty much were indifferent. Had difficulties in just getting a police report. Had to spoon feed the police clues and evidence. Had to point to tracks in the snow that led to my neighbor's apartment which was also broken into. NYPD at their worst. After my gal dialed 911, I actually beat the police to my apartment, which took about an hour due to a snowstorm.

I pretty much for about a year was a P.I. doing mucho leg work. Took about 6 months to get a check from the insurance company. I learned that much that was stolen was not covered, and the stuff that was insured was depreciated in a manner that made me think, "Why do I have insurance?"

It was about a year later that they caught two brothers and a cousin who were responsible for over 25 break-ins in Williamsburg Brooklyn. There was no restitution or justice because everything got plea-dealed. These guys already had records and were losers. On one case the one loser got probation and drug rehab.

Moral of the story: rent an apartment that has a steel door and a deadbolt that has no fire escape and is third floor or higher. Also rent in a newer building that has more advanced fire code. Many older rentals are dangerous fire traps. Don't rely on the insurance company or the police to protect you. Realize pretty much you are on your own.

Cal
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Old 10-10-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
My experience with an insurance company when making a claim was like getting robbed a second time. Also was accused of fraud and other criminal activity.
I am sorry for your experience, but you are actually making the case here.

Quote:
BTW the Police are not like on TV: they pretty much were indifferent. Had difficulties in just getting a police report. Had to spoon feed the police clues and evidence. Had to point to tracks in the snow that led to my neighbor's apartment which was also broken into. NYPD at their worst. After my gal dialed 911, I actually beat the police to my apartment, which took about an hour due to a snowstorm.
As an aside, I worked in law enforcement for many years before changing careers. Property crimes where the perpetrator is no longer present (known as a 'cold burglary') are a low priority for rapid police response. The dispatchers usually advise you to do what you can to preserve the evidence and wait patiently. Sorry, but people getting shot or run over, etc, do take priority over burglaries where the burglar has departed. I know it sucks, but resources are limited.

Quote:
I pretty much for about a year was a P.I. doing mucho leg work. Took about 6 months to get a check from the insurance company. I learned that much that was stolen was not covered, and the stuff that was insured was depreciated in a manner that made me think, "Why do I have insurance?"
And this is the reason I would urge everyone to sit down with their agent on an annual basis and review their coverage and ask questions about what kind of replacement value they have. "If my camera gets stolen, what do you pay for and how much?" is a very valid question to ask before something happens.

Quote:
It was about a year later that they caught two brothers and a cousin who were responsible for over 25 break-ins in Williamsburg Brooklyn. There was no restitution or justice because everything got plea-dealed. These guys already had records and were losers. On one case the one loser got probation and drug rehab.

Moral of the story: rent an apartment that has a steel door and a deadbolt that has no fire escape and is third floor or higher. Also rent in a newer building that has more advanced fire code. Many older rentals are dangerous fire traps. Don't rely on the insurance company or the police to protect you. Realize pretty much you are on your own.

Cal
We are all pretty much on our own, and it behooves us to consider that when making decisions. Protective measures are good. Having insurance is good. Evaluating risks and making decisions based on those risks is good. I like your idea about doors and deadbolts and so on. Recognizing that property crimes are a low priority for police is simply being realistic. And reviewing your insurance to find out what exactly is covered and to what extent is also a good thing, IMHO.

Very sorry for what you went through, I mean no disrespect.
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Old 10-10-2018   #9
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Originally Posted by bmattock View Post
I am sorry for your experience, but you are actually making the case here.

As an aside, I worked in law enforcement for many years before changing careers. Property crimes where the perpetrator is no longer present (known as a 'cold burglary') are a low priority for rapid police response. The dispatchers usually advise you to do what you can to preserve the evidence and wait patiently. Sorry, but people getting shot or run over, etc, do take priority over burglaries where the burglar has departed. I know it sucks, but resources are limited.

And this is the reason I would urge everyone to sit down with their agent on an annual basis and review their coverage and ask questions about what kind of replacement value they have. "If my camera gets stolen, what do you pay for and how much?" is a very valid question to ask before something happens.

We are all pretty much on our own, and it behooves us to consider that when making decisions. Protective measures are good. Having insurance is good. Evaluating risks and making decisions based on those risks is good. I like your idea about doors and deadbolts and so on. Recognizing that property crimes are a low priority for police is simply being realistic. And reviewing your insurance to find out what exactly is covered and to what extent is also a good thing, IMHO.

Very sorry for what you went through, I mean no disrespect.
B,

You speak the truth. I for one would not want to be a law enforcer because it is somewhat a thankless job and dangerous. I mean no disrespect to those that serve the public and risk their lives. I'm sorry if my bad experience offend any who deserve much respect.

Your pointing out that your insurance should be reviewed annually is wise. Had I done that I would of not been surprised that so many belongings would not be covered.

Luckily my cameras were hidden away. My neighbor happen to be a wealthy single guy that was a graphic artist. He had mucho extensive high tech toys, and pretty much they emptied his entire apartment. He was probably out $30K-$40K.

My loft pretty much got an incidental quick pass. My high dollar guitar collection was somewhat hidden, as well as my camera gear.

Pretty much insurance is limited coverage, and there are many thoughtful things one can do to enhance security and safety that cost little. Even if you have insurance expect a loss. Keeping this in mind I for one do everything I can to prevent a loss, limit liability, and reduce risk.

I even do this on the street where I try to have my hands free just in case I need to defend myself. I'm surprised more bad things don't happen in NYC due to all the distracted people who are not aware of their surroundings reading an iPad while walking, and texting on their phones.

Something people should know is that basic renters insurance does not cover many of the small high dollar items that are small and of high value like jewelry, watches, and cameras. Records and receipts are also important.

Where I live now is likely the worst neighborhood in Madhattan (East Harlem), but I live on an upper floor, no fire escape, and the building was finished being constructed in 2008. I still pay for renter's insurance, but this is really just to cover an emergency situation that is unlikely to happen. I figure being burglarized again unlikely, and also a fire a low probability.

I think back to the row houses I have lived in in Brooklyn and in Queens to be vulnerable to fire and breakins, especially the over 100 year old house that had not been updated in decades.

Cal
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Old 10-10-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
B,

You speak the truth. I for one would not want to be a law enforcer because it is somewhat a thankless job and dangerous. I mean no disrespect to those that serve the public and risk their lives. I'm sorry if my bad experience offend any who deserve much respect.
I certainly wasn't offended, and I quite understand your point of view, especially at the time that it happened.

Quote:

Luckily my cameras were hidden away. My neighbor happen to be a wealthy single guy that was a graphic artist. He had mucho extensive high tech toys, and pretty much they emptied his entire apartment. He was probably out $30K-$40K.
My apartment in Denver was burglarized once when I was divorced and living alone. The burglar literally just walked up the fire escape and punched out a window square and opened the window. It was one of those converted mansions, and my apartment was what was once an attic.

Quote:
My loft pretty much got an incidental quick pass. My high dollar guitar collection was somewhat hidden, as well as my camera gear.
I didn't have a lot of cameras then, just one, but they got it. They also got a lot of firearms that had been passed down to me from my father, grandfather, etc. Gone forever, I still feel the sting of that loss. I was insured and it was covered, but it really hurt. Money didn't bring them back.

What they did not get was what you experienced - things that were not in plain view. My wristwatches for example, and a few pistols that were not in the gun rack.

Quote:
Pretty much insurance is limited coverage, and there are many thoughtful things one can do to enhance security and safety that cost little. Even if you have insurance expect a loss. Keeping this in mind I for one do everything I can to prevent a loss, limit liability, and reduce risk.
Agreed.

Quote:
I even do this on the street where I try to have my hands free just in case I need to defend myself. I'm surprised more bad things don't happen in NYC due to all the distracted people who are not aware of their surroundings reading an IPAD while walking, and texting on their phones.
I am old now, but I am still a former Marine, former law enforcement, and I teach and am an adult student at a karate dojo several nights a week as a way to be able to defend myself as well as to stay in some kind of basic physical condition and fight my diabetes. I still would not say I could or even would defend myself against attack - it's for 'last resort' issues which I hope to never face. If I can avoid an attack by handing over valuables or running away, I'll always choose that first. Martial arts is for when they say "Get in the car, you're coming with me," or "I'm going to kill you even if you give me your stuff."

Quote:
Something people should know is that basic renters insurance does not cover many of the small high dollar items that are small and of high value like jewelry, watches, and cameras. Records and receipts are also important.
You are absolutely correct, and I should have mentioned it. Receipts are best, but lists of items and serial numbers given to your agent BEFORE something happens is also good, as well as any photos of your property. As it happened, I was lucky enough to have a couple photos of a party I had had at my apartment and you could see some of my possessions in them. That was a lucky break for me.

Quote:
Where I live now is likely the worst neighborhood in Madhattan (East Harlem), but I live on an upper floor, no fire escape, and the building was finished being constructed in 2008. I still pay for renter's insurance, but this is really just to cover an emergency situation that is unlikely to happen. I figure being burgerlized again unlikely, and also a fire a low probability.

I think back to the row houses I have lived in in Brooklyn and in Queens to be vulnerable to fire and breakins, especially the over 100 year old house that had not been updated in decades.

Cal
I live in a very modest house in a quiet neighborhood in SE Michigan now, where there is a very low crime rate and everyone watches out for each other; I'm very fortunate. But one must still practice awareness of one's surroundings and vigilance.

- Bill
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Old 10-10-2018   #11
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I have a personal articles policy with one of the biggest US insurers. I've had it for years, got it when I bought a lot of new Canon film equipment in the 1990s. Later on I bought a couple of Leica M6 bodies and a few lenses, calling the agent to have them added to the policy each time I bought a new piece. I would also call to update the policy and ask for the removal of other items as I got rid of them. After several years, a new agent took over my policies. In talking to her one day about another policy, I told her I had not received an updated list of articles insured in some time. When I was sent the list, I discovered the previous agent had failed to add any of the Leica equipment to the policy several years before. None of the Leica equipment was, in fact, insured. But I was still paying for insurance of some equipment the previous agent had been notified about my no longer owning.

I was lucky I had not needed to file any claims during this time.
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Old 10-10-2018   #12
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Bill,

First thank you for your service.

I'm 60 1/2, and as I age I too am feeling vulnerable. Both my mom and dad had Diabetes, so I fight this dual propensity by remaining fit and thin. Lately I have gotten into Baby Linhof's: heavy cameras. For one thing they are being sold cheap, and I joke that with every Linhof purchased comes a free gym membership.

Although 5'9", average height, you would call me a small man because I have the build of perhaps an athletic 15 year old. I don't look my age, and perhaps I look 15-20 years younger which is pretty remarkable.

What scares me the most is the stories I hear about where trophy killings happen as part of gang initiations. Also racial attacks where basically you could be fighting for your life.

I would like to share with you a time in the early 70's when that Rolling Stone song "Heartbreaker" was a hit. They tell a story of an incident of when the police of New York City chase a boy through a park, and in a case of mistaken identity put a bullet through his heart.

I remember this song profoundly because it almost happened to me. I lived in Nassau County suburbs in a town called Valley Stream that bordered Queens. I was walking by myself late at night along the Queens border when a NYPD patrol car skid to a stop almost running me down. The cops jumped out with their guns drawn and trained on me.

Perhaps I was 14-15 years old. One cop made it clear that if I moved at all they would shoot. The other cop moved to where I could not view him. I was directed to listen carefully, reminded not to move, and told only to move when directed.

When asked for my I.D. I announced my wallet was in my left pocket, and when directed I showed them my I.D. What was odd is that these cops left as suddenly as they surprised me. No explaination, but I knew they were scared.

Asians during that time were rare. Even NYC's Chinatown was only 20K people, and in the suburbs of Long Island I stood out as a novelty. I was so novel that I knew of another Chinese guy by name who lived in Rosedale, Queens. My only explaination that made sense is that this other Chinese guy either killed a cop, shot a cop, or Kung-Fu'ed a cop.

These cops were that scared.

The Rolling Stone song is reported to be based on a true story where a kid was shot by an undercover cop in Queens. The boy was with his father, and they thought they were being robbed.

A second time NYPD had their guns trained on me was during a robbery. This was in the mid seventies before there were SWAT Teams, and the cops had revolvers. I happen to be working the cash register at a McDonalds in Rosedale, Queens when 4 men came in with guns to rob the place. Things got ugly; and I heard Hector, one of the Managers, getting pistol whipped because he would not open the safe.

One of the perps ran out, another manager followed him, and then I heard a gunshot. No one was hit. It was very surreal because the customers were not effected. They just wanted their hamburgers. To the customers it was just another day in Queens it seemed.

So when the cops arrived they yelled freeze, but everyone but me jumped to the floor. All the guns seemed trained on me because the guy who was beating Hector was standing right behind me when the cops stormed in. Luckily his hands held a box of cash, the safe contents, and the pistol lay on top and was not in his hand.

Had he held the gun in his hand, I likely would have either been a hostage, or been ventilated by friendly fire.

They caught two of the 4 perps. One officer held the now cuffed pistol whipper captive, when Hector jumped the counter, threw the perp who beat him to the floor, and started kicking him repeatedly in the head. Meanwhile the cop and I just watched. Finally the cop responsible for the perp said, "That's enough," but he said it so politely that it almost was like saying, "O.K. just one more and make it a good one."

So the third time I could of gotten shot I was around 18. I went into a bakery by my house on Central Avenue in Valley Stream. I saw this girl behind the counter, and she said she was just robbed. She directed me to go look for the guy with the hat.

I followed her command not knowing that this robber had a gun. It was later in talking to the police that I found out. I saw a guy with a hat, followed him to his car, and took down the license plate. This was not the guy. The cops would explain to me that it likely was some average Joe who lost his job, had kids, and needed some money to buy his kids Christmas presents.

So another time where I was in the wrong place at the wrong time also happened when I was just 18. Somehow a riot broke out in a suburban park and I somehow happened to be there.

It was an odd 4th of July because it was a cloudless blue sky and the weather was not humid. Kids my age went to Salsbury Park next to the Nassau County Colleseum to wait for the fireworks when it got dark. Young kids bought coolers and picnicked throwing Fresby's.

I went to the bathroom which was in the back of a bandshell near dusk. When I walked in a drunk threw a bottle into the bandshell and the acoustics amplified the pop of it breaking. After I pee'd some other drunks had rounded up garbage bags of bottles and were breaking them. At this point it sounded like matts of fire crackers going off.

Going back towards my friends I did not take notice of the Nassau Police forming a picket as I walked towards them in full riot gear. When they marched the line towards me I watch this girl and boy holding hands also walking towards me. They were in a state of bliss displaying their love with the world, and that is when I heard this awful distinct sound of a night stick resonating off of the boy's skull.

He collapsed to the ground, and the girl knelt over him not knowing what happened. Then I heard that awful sound again. The girl's head laid on her boyfriend's chest. The cop looked up and seem surprised that I witnessed him clubbing innocent people. I stood there frozen and defiant looking him right in the face.

He pointed with his night stick and commanded me, "Walk." I knew that when I turned my back to him I would likely get struck down, so I mentioned that my friends with the car are behind him. Again he said, "Walk," and pointing his night stick.

Pretty much all he had to do was take a step and swing, but I figure by speaking to him somehow made me a human, and he could not hit me. I escaped harm, but I ended up hitchhiking my way home.

The thing with these life threatening situations is hopefully one makes all the right decisions. People freeze, instincts kick in. Fight or flee that night in the case of mistaken identity with those two cops could of been another tragic killing. The cops were not the only people scared that night.

Pretty much I don't understand how I got to be this old. I have seen more than my fair share of violance.

Sorry for the rant.

Cal
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Old 10-10-2018   #13
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A gun safe is very inexpensive to buy and if anchored in the floor ( quite easy) it's very secure. I have two large safes and don't worry about loss of cameras or guns.
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Old 10-10-2018   #14
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A gun safe is very inexpensive to buy and if anchored in the floor ( quite easy) it's very secure. I have two large safes and don't worry about loss of cameras or guns.
Yes, it is a very good thing to have. Back in the day when I was burgled and lost many of my firearms, I was recovering from a recent divorce, my car had just be repossessed, and I was living in a $400 a month one bedroom apartment in the Capitol Hill area of Denver. I could afford renters insurance was glad I had it. I could not afford gun safes at that time.
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Old 10-11-2018   #15
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A gun safe is very inexpensive to buy and if anchored in the floor ( quite easy) it's very secure. I have two large safes and don't worry about loss of cameras or guns.
X-R,

Big gun safes also offer some protection from fire. Renting and moving safes as a gentrifier who lives with impermanance safes are not practical, but I would love that level of security.

My problem is that I also have a vintage guitar and bass collection, and also a vintage amp collection. These "hard assets" are too large for a gun safe.

Cal
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Old 10-11-2018   #16
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I hate insurance companies with such a violent passion that I would simply rather not own anything that I cannot afford to lose at any time.

I value my possessions, but I don't care about what they cost.
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Old 10-11-2018   #17
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Yes, it is a very good thing to have. Back in the day when I was burgled and lost many of my firearms, I was recovering from a recent divorce, my car had just be repossessed, and I was living in a $400 a month one bedroom apartment in the Capitol Hill area of Denver. I could afford renters insurance was glad I had it. I could not afford gun safes at that time.
Bill,

I have lived also under marginal conditions. I think due to our experiences of having been burgularized we just do as much as we can to prevent bad things from happening. Pretty much this is all we can do.

I now cringe on the lack of safety and security I have lived with in the past. We never really ever recover from our losses, insurance or not.

Some of my treasures I expect as I age will become liabilities. Perhaps time to sell for cash, gold, or some form of portable hard asset.

Nice to know that hopefully those hard times are behind us.

Cal
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Old 10-11-2018   #18
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The utility of insurance is a risk assessment problem.

The impact of a potential loss is compared to the expense for insurance. Homes and vehicles are insured because the financial impact of a loss is much, much greater than the utility of the money we pay for premiums.

"...a poor man should buy insurance, but a rich man should not unless his assessment of expected loss is much greater than the insurance company’s. Indeed, if your present fortune is much greater than any likely loss, then your utility for money is nearly as linear as the insurance company’s, in the region where it matters; and you may as well be your own insurance company."

Probability Theory: The Logic of Science by. E. T. Jaynes, p 401

We are all self-insured to some extent.

Photography gear insurance has value for some and would be wasteful for others.

How much would it actually change your life if you had to repurchase the cameras and lenses you use? The greater the impact, the more insurance becomes valuable.
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Old 10-11-2018   #19
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. . . How much would it actually change your life if you had to repurchase the cameras and lenses you use? . . . .
Dear Willie,

And, of course, would you actually repurchase all (or indeed any) of them?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-11-2018   #20
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Good thread - thanks to OP for starting it.

I stopped insuring my gear and myself when I stopped shooting for reward. My problem is I have accumulated gear to the point that, if I had a full loss, I could not replace it. But I keep thinking that, since it's not all in the same location all the time, that my exposure to loss is less than the whole, and manageable. And also that I wouldn't really need to replace all of it anyway.
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Old 10-11-2018   #21
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For me, insurance agents are in the same class as lawyers and other professional liars. I will tell you from past experience that those creeps will find a way to deny a claim in a New Yawk second, and as I said, they are the pros when it comes to lying with a straight face. They make aluminum siding people look like saints.

Just self insure. Why roll the dice in order to lose? Unless you actually lose your stuff somehow, you are paying a monthly or yearly bill for nothing, and if you have life insurance, you are betting that you are going to die and the insurance company is betting you are going to live. Even if you have a legitimate claim, you have no chance of getting a payoff from your insurer if they just decide to deny a claim. Suing them (and now you need a lawyer!!!) is a bad bet. Those corporations can fight you until you actually do drop dead.

But, people do peculiar things with their finances based upon their fears. That's always a bad premise to operate from, and a lot of these corporations have gotten very wealthy by playing on those fears.
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Old 10-11-2018   #22
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Always had insurance as long as I have been a professional photographer, last claim I made was for a 1d series body and 70-200 falling out of the boot of my car insurance company paid up no bother.
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Old 10-11-2018   #23
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I've never had any real issues with insurance companies about filed claims. My issues have been with agents who were incompetent. That's happened a couple of times with two different companies.
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Old 10-12-2018   #24
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Willie,

And, of course, would you actually repurchase all (or indeed any) of them?

Cheers,

R.
Sure.

I would not be happy about spending the money, but it would not cause hardship or sacrifice.

Claim proceeds are affected by depreciation and a deductible. Unless you pay higher premiums for replacement value and, or a low deductible – you will spend out-of-pocket funds anyway. Sometimes uninsured losses are tax deductible. These significantly affect the risk assessment.

I have about $2,000 worth of sunglasses and prescription glasses. If these were lost I would have a $5,000 deductible. So, I'm self-insured for glasses. The $5,000 deductible significantly reduces the premium. Between 2000 and 2016 our new home had its roof, gutters, siding, etc destroyed by two different hailstorms. Those repairs cost nearly $60,000. I paid $10,000 in deductibles. There was no depreciation since both roofs were essentially new. I broke even on the trade off between premiums costs ($1,000 deductible vs $5,000) and increased out of pocket expense due to the high deductible.

I do have replacement policy rider for my wife's jewelry. Jewelry losses rates are statistically high; there's more risk.

From 1998-2014 I owned a 1971 911S, I had it insured for replacement value because it was mechanically restored and happened to appreciate in value. But our daily cars have a large deductible and depreciation applies.

It may be hard to believe, but our insurance agent was the one who advised me to not over-spend on insurance. Only after I was trained in probability theory did I realize his ad-hoc advice was mathematically sound. Then, by coincidence I learned that many insurance companies computer premium costs (asses risk) using probability theory.
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Old 10-12-2018   #25
kxl
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My home insurance covers covers the replacement cost of my camera gear (and other personal equipment) up to $15k for non-professional use, minus a deductible It does cover damage or loss whether at home or while traveling. Of course I could increase that coverage if I were willing to pay the premium increase.
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Old 10-12-2018   #26
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Just an aside; years ago I borrowed some moon rock samples from NASA and they came round to check the house, security, safe etc, etc. So I wrote to the insurance people to tell them and ask for a discount due to the high state of security and...

Well, go on, guess how long after I'd returned the rock they replied and what the answer was.

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Old 10-12-2018   #27
Roger Hicks
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Sure.

I would not be happy about spending the money, but it would not cause hardship or sacrifice.

Claim proceeds are affected by depreciation and a deductible. Unless you pay higher premiums for replacement value and, or a low deductible – you will spend out-of-pocket funds anyway. Sometimes uninsured losses are tax deductible. These significantly affect the risk assessment.

I have about $2,000 worth of sunglasses and prescription glasses. If these were lost I would have a $5,000 deductible. So, I'm self-insured for glasses. The $5,000 deductible significantly reduces the premium. Between 2000 and 2016 our new home had its roof, gutters, siding, etc destroyed by two different hailstorms. Those repairs cost nearly $60,000. I paid $10,000 in deductibles. There was no depreciation since both roofs were essentially new. I broke even on the trade off between premiums costs ($1,000 deductible vs $5,000) and increased out of pocket expense due to the high deductible.

I do have replacement policy rider for my wife's jewelry. Jewelry losses rates are statistically high; there's more risk.

From 1998-2014 I owned a 1971 911S, I had it insured for replacement value because it was mechanically restored and happened to appreciate in value. But our daily cars have a large deductible and depreciation applies.

It may be hard to believe, but our insurance agent was the one who advised me to not over-spend on insurance. Only after I was trained in probability theory did I realize his ad-hoc advice was mathematically sound. Then, by coincidence I learned that many insurance companies computer premium costs (asses risk) using probability theory.
Dear Willie,

All completely irrelevant. We're talking about camera insurance, not sunglasses, roofs, jewellery or Porsches.

I have more cameras than I need, I most certainly wouldn't need (or even necessarily want) to replace all of them, even in the unlikely event that I lost the lot.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-12-2018   #28
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With regard to the comments on specialized photographic equipment insurance and self-insurance, I definitely agree that it's a risk/reward calculation, and the results can be different for each person depending on things like their net worth and tolerance to risk, desire to replace in case of loss, and so on.

However, most of us are either home owners and have homeowners insurance (required by the holder of our mortgages if the home is not owned outright) or renters insurance, increasingly required by landlords of apartments and houses.

If you already have insurance of this sort, I still maintain that it is worth your time to examine your policy annually. Make sure you understand what the limits of your coverage, deductibles, type of replacement coverage, and any caps on the types of valuables you want covered.

One can eschew insurance all they wish, but in today's society is it practically impossible to operate without various forms of coverage. Rather than simply declaring all insurance companies and agents as crooks and ignoring the potential of insured loss with less-than-useful coverage, one might consider embracing the horror and at least finding out where they stand.

I for one am not overly fond of shelling out money each month to insure my home, my car, and perhaps especially my health and life. However, these things are mandated in various ways and there's precious little I can do about it.

I could ignore it all because "I hate insurance companies," and then when my possessions are damaged and I discover myself inadequately covered, I could rant and shout at the world about the unfairness of it all, or I could sit down with my agent, ignore his devil's horns and forked tail, and make sure all my questions are answered with regard to WHAT is covered, for HOW MUCH, what my DEDUCTIBLE is, and in what manner I would be reimbursed if I suffered a loss.

We have to deal with the devil. So you can say he's the devil and ignore him and then get the pitchfork you know is coming, or you can make the best possible deal prior to getting the pointy end of fate's stick. Your call.
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Old 10-12-2018   #29
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. . . I for one am not overly fond of shelling out money each month to insure my home, my car, and perhaps especially my health . . .
Underline: In most countries this is covered by compulsory taxes/ National Insurance/ Social Security.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-12-2018   #30
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Underline: In most countries this is covered by compulsory taxes/ National Insurance/ Social Security.

Cheers,

R.
Trying to avoid the political ramifications of such a discussion here, Roger, but I do take your point. I did say earlier on that I was mostly referring to the USA, as that is the experience I have to draw upon.
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Old 10-12-2018   #31
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With regard to the comments on specialized photographic equipment insurance and self-insurance, I definitely agree that it's a risk/reward calculation, and the results can be different for each person depending on things like their net worth and tolerance to risk, desire to replace in case of loss, and so on.

However, most of us are either home owners and have homeowners insurance (required by the holder of our mortgages if the home is not owned outright) or renters insurance, increasingly required by landlords of apartments and houses.

If you already have insurance of this sort, I still maintain that it is worth your time to examine your policy annually. Make sure you understand what the limits of your coverage, deductibles, type of replacement coverage, and any caps on the types of valuables you want covered.

One can eschew insurance all they wish, but in today's society is it practically impossible to operate without various forms of coverage. Rather than simply declaring all insurance companies and agents as crooks and ignoring the potential of insured loss with less-than-useful coverage, one might consider embracing the horror and at least finding out where they stand.

I for one am not overly fond of shelling out money each month to insure my home, my car, and perhaps especially my health and life. However, these things are mandated in various ways and there's precious little I can do about it.

I could ignore it all because "I hate insurance companies," and then when my possessions are damaged and I discover myself inadequately covered, I could rant and shout at the world about the unfairness of it all, or I could sit down with my agent, ignore his devil's horns and forked tail, and make sure all my questions are answered with regard to WHAT is covered, for HOW MUCH, what my DEDUCTIBLE is, and in what manner I would be reimbursed if I suffered a loss.

We have to deal with the devil. So you can say he's the devil and ignore him and then get the pitchfork you know is coming, or you can make the best possible deal prior to getting the pointy end of fate's stick. Your call.
Bill,

I'm glad you brought out this clarity, and at my near retirement age where de-accumulation has already started, and a further cull down of possessions this post makes me consider many things that otherwise I might not have thought about.

I also considered something Roger mentioned: that in my case any insurance claim would likely not be replacing what I had, likely would be less gear in quantity, and gear selection would relate to a more modern selection and cost basis. Pretty much no going back for me to what I once had.

The funny thing is that the experience of having owned and used so much gear made me understand how little remorse I would have if something bad did happen. This understanding pretty much helps me move forward, and I'm greatful for that. Kinda adds closure so no loss would be felt. It also very much helps me move into retirement where I feel like an 18 year old again wondering about the decades to come.

Cal
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Old 10-12-2018   #32
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Bill,

I'm glad you brought out this clarity, and at my near retirement age where de-accumulation has already started, and a further cull down of possessions this post makes me consider many things that otherwise I might not have thought about.

I also considered something Roger mentioned: that in my case any insurance claim would likely not be replacing what I had, likely would be less gear in quantity, and gear selection would relate to a more modern selection and cost basis. Pretty much no going back for me to what I once had.

The funny thing is that the experience of having owned and used so much gear made me understand how little remorse I would have if something bad did happen. This understanding pretty much helps me move forward, and I'm greatful for that. Kinda adds closure so no loss would be felt. It also very much helps me move into retirement where I feel like an 18 year old again wondering about the decades to come.

Cal
I recently bought a smaller home and relocated, although I am still working full time and probably will have to do so until I am no longer employable for whatever reason - retirement is beyond my grasp, but I'm OK. In any case, yes, downsizing has been happening, and I think it's entirely legitimate to include that in one's calculus when deciding what to insure and for how much. My goal here is to ask people to at least think about it and make decisions based on their actual needs rather than simply ignoring it and hoping for a good outcome.

Like many things, insurance offers better rewards, whether in terms of lower costs to insure or better outcomes in the case of a loss, to those who give some thought to what they are doing and why. There's no right answers, everyone is different, but there are informed decisions, which can help avoid an insurance catastrophe on top of a natural disaster or theft, etc, catastrophe.
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Old 10-12-2018   #33
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I recently bought a smaller home and relocated, although I am still working full time and probably will have to do so until I am no longer employable for whatever reason - retirement is beyond my grasp, but I'm OK. In any case, yes, downsizing has been happening, and I think it's entirely legitimate to include that in one's calculus when deciding what to insure and for how much. My goal here is to ask people to at least think about it and make decisions based on their actual needs rather than simply ignoring it and hoping for a good outcome.

Like many things, insurance offers better rewards, whether in terms of lower costs to insure or better outcomes in the case of a loss, to those who give some thought to what they are doing and why. There's no right answers, everyone is different, but there are informed decisions, which can help avoid an insurance catastrophe on top of a natural disaster or theft, etc, catastrophe.
Bill,

Over the decades we accumulate possessions, and now I'm de-accumulating. I have some high dollar possessions I consider treasure because like a bar of gold they are "hard assets" of enduring value.

I grew up poor, so my hoarding is a mark of poverty, but deep down I know I don't need a lot to be happy.

I say I never knew anyone who had a complicated life that was happy, and I'm a happy guy who just wants a simple life that is unburdened.

Moving forward I think I will likely sell many of these trophies just to not have them as liabilities and to be less burdened. Really interesting to realize the comfort once provided, the sentimentality, and the security one valued now seems different and changed.

So to stay on topic, do I really need so many cameras, and what is really-really important.

In line with Roger's logic I would really limit my cameras to only two: one digital and the other film. Really all I would need.

In the end, my thinking has changed, and I think I know where I'm heading.

Cal
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Old 10-12-2018   #34
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In line with Roger's logic I would really limit my cameras to only two: one digital and the other film. Really all I would need.

In the end, my thinking has changed, and I think I know where I'm heading.
I thought you just bought a new camera last week.
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Old 10-12-2018   #35
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I thought you just bought a new camera last week.
PTP,

I bought a 1956 Tower 45/46, a LTM camera that has a lever film advance and a M3 style door. This particular camera was also marketed as a Nicca 5L. The Tower version was sold by Sears.

I bought this camera for no money, and it is in remarkable condition. The camera is kinda rare, and there is no doubt that I likely could "day-trade" this camera or even profit.

Lastly it is about half the price of a III G, so think of the money I saved. LOL.

Cal
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Old 10-12-2018   #36
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. . . in my case any insurance claim would likely not be replacing what I had, likely would be less gear in quantity, and gear selection would relate to a more modern selection and cost basis. Pretty much no going back for me to what I once had.

The funny thing is that the experience of having owned and used so much gear made me understand how little remorse I would have if something bad did happen. This understanding pretty much helps me move forward, and I'm greatful for that. Kinda adds closure so no loss would be felt. It also very much helps me move into retirement where I feel like an 18 year old again wondering about the decades to come.

Cal
Dear Cal,

YES! Hold on to that thought!

Or maybe you'd be going back to what you once had just to take pictures, without collecting cameras.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-12-2018   #37
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Dear Cal,

YES! Hold on to that thought!

Or maybe you'd be going back to what you once had just to take pictures, without collecting cameras.

Cheers,

R.
In my case, less a collection, more an accumulation of items which held or still hold my interest. A harmless pasttime at worst. Certainly doesn't get in the way of my committing photography from time to time.
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Old 10-12-2018   #38
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Get a Tenterfield dog. Nothing, man or beast will ever get inside to flog your gear.
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Old 10-12-2018   #39
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I have shared this link a number of times before, but it's a really good one:

http://www.missminimalist.com/2010/05/nothing-to-steal/

I'm not yet at her level, but my camera collection is more Zenit than Zeiss; more about emotional appeal (to me, anyhow) than chasing after The Best stuff.

Every so often, I sift through my possessions looking for items which might have decent resale value but which I'm not enjoying, or in some cases, barely even remember buying. I once went on a multi-year selling frenzy and it was like owning a magic sofa: Every time I reached under the cushions, I found more $100 bills!
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Old 10-13-2018   #40
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Get a Tenterfield dog. Nothing, man or beast will ever get inside to flog your gear.
Does it keep out floods, fire, and tornadoes?
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