Expensive cameras and camcorders are becoming more popular due to the likes of YouTube and Instagram, but have you thought about what you’d do if your precious device were to stop working, or worse, fall into the hands of a thief?
Our guide will take you through what you need to consider when taking out an insurance policy to cover your camera or additional equipment, and what other factors may affect whether your device is adequately protected.
In This Guide:
- What is camera insurance and what does it cover?
- What kinds of things aren’t covered by camera insurance?
- Do I need camera insurance?
- Will my home insurance cover my camera?
- Should I insure my camera as part of a multiple gadget insurance policy?
- What if I use my camera for commercial purposes?
- Will my camera be covered when I travel?
What is camera insurance and what does it cover?
Camera insurance protects your camera, camcorder, or action camera in the event that it becomes unusable for some reason. These policies can also include cover for dSLR and SLR cameras, and may protect them against:
- Mechanical or electrical breakdown (outside of the manufacturer’s warranty period)
- Accidental damage (including liquid damage, smashed screens, and cracked lenses)
Policies can also include cover for any equipment or accessories you have for your camera, such as tripods or lenses - but often you'll need to get a dedicate camera equipment insurance add-on to make sure that all of these things are covered.
In the event that your camera stops working and it cannot be repaired, then some policies will provide you with a replacement - check your policy wording to see if new for old cover is included.
Most manufacturers provide insurance in addition to their standard warranty, but third party insurance is available and can be very competitively priced if you search around.
What kinds of things aren’t covered by camera insurance?
Most insurance policies for cameras will exclude the following:
- General wear and tear that is expected as the product ages
- Cosmetic damage that has no effect on the performance of the camera (e.g. scratches or dents)
- Intentional damage that wasn’t caused by a third party (i.e. damage that was caused by you)
- Damage caused by not following the manufacturers instructions (including using unapproved accessories or unauthorised repairs)
- Defective products that are the manufacturer’s fault - including product recalls
- Devices that are being used for commercial purposes - business equipment cover or business insurance should be taken out to cover this
Insurers also tend to only cover devices that are under a certain age, so it’s best to purchase insurance as soon as you get your new camera.
As always, be sure to check the wording of your particular policy to be sure of what exactly is, and isn’t covered, by your camera insurance policy.
Do I need camera insurance?
Camera insurance isn’t always essential, however it can be a really good idea for some people. You should consider purchasing insurance if:
- The device you’ve bought is expensive and you won’t be able to readily replace it if something were to happen
- You think your camera is at risk of being damaged. For example, if you use your camera for outdoor photoshoots or you use an action camera for extreme sports
- You think that your device is at risk of being stolen, or you may lose your device
- You would need an immediate replacement in the event that your camera becomes non-functional, some insurers offer 24-hour replacements on damaged cameras
Your manufacturer’s warranty will cover electrical or mechanical breakdown during the warranty period, but you’ll be on your own if your product is stolen, you lose it, or you accidentally damage it.
So when deciding on whether to opt for camera insurance, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of having an insurance policy for your camera, and then look at some insurance quotes to get an idea of how much it will cost you to see if it’s worth the investment.
Will my home insurance cover my camera?
Possibly. Some home insurance policies do have limited device cover (sometimes referred to as gadget insurance). You'll need to check the wording of your existing policy to see whether it offers an adequate amount of cover for your camera. Also, many home insurance policies won't include accidental damage cover.
If you have to make a claim on your home insurance policy, the excess that you have to pay may be considerably more than the excess you'd pay on a gadget-specific policy . Furthermore, claiming for your camera on your home insurance policy could end up driving up your home insurance premium as you would likely lose your no-claims bonus.
Should I insure my camera as part of a multiple gadget insurance policy?
You can insure your camera as a bundle with your other electronic devices (e.g. smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.). If you include several devices in a multi-gadget policy, some insurers will offer you a special discount. You’ll get a claims allowance per gadget, and policies can cover each individual device from theft, mechanical failure, and accidental damage.
It’s worth getting some quotes just to see how much it could cost you, but be sure to check the exclusions for each policy so you don’t get caught out.
What if I use my camera for commercial purposes?
Professional photographers should look into business insurance or business equipment cover. A standard camera insurance policy will generally not cover commercial use so it's best to find a business specific policy.
Professional indemnity insurance protects you in the event that an unhappy customer tries to make a claim against you or your business, whereas public liability insurance will protect you in the event that a member of the public is injured or has their property damaged as a result of your photographic equipment.
If you take your expensive DSLR camera into dangerous areas for work (if you're a wildlife photographer for example), you'll probably need cover beyond what a basic business equipment insurance policy might include.
Will my camera be covered when I travel?
Most policies will provide the same level of cover for your device when you’re travelling. Of course, you need to check your policy documents to see what kind of cover is provided by your insurance policy.
There tends to be a limit on the number of days that you’ll be covered when you’re not in the UK, and you’ll need to take the same safety measures with your device as when you’re at home: such as keeping it locked in your hotel room (preferably in a safe).
If your policy will provide you with a replacement camera, you will need to bear in mind that most insurers will only send replacement cameras to UK addresses.
Also, your travel insurance policy may potentially include some form of cover for your gadgets, and this could include your camera.