What camera insurance do professional photographers need?

Insureon Staff.
By Insureon Staff
December 3, 2019
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Professional photographers should carry commercial property insurance to protect their expensive equipment, along with a few other policies.
A professional photographer with cameras and equipment

Most professional photographers and videographers invest thousands of dollars in gear and equipment to launch a successful photography business. Theft or damage could significantly impact your bottom line and potentially stop you from taking on clients.

By having the right camera equipment insurance policies and following some simple tips for safeguarding your gear, you can ensure that unforeseen circumstances don’t put your business and income in jeopardy.

Insurance policies for professional photographers

Digital photography doesn’t require a darkroom, so plenty of professionals and freelancers now work out of their homes. However, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not protect professional equipment, so photographers and videographers generally carry some combination of the following policies:

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance is a must for photographers because it covers all assets related to your business, including your camera gear and photo processing computers and equipment. This policy will reimburse you for any property that was stolen or damaged by a person and some weather events. You might consider the following options when shopping for commercial property insurance:

Inland marine insurance: Inland marine insurance covers property in transit, so if someone steals equipment from your car during a photo shoot, you won’t have to pay for new gear out of your own pocket.

Replacement value vs. cash value: If your camera is a few years old, it’s likely not worth as much as you paid for it. A replacement value option on your commercial property insurance policy pays to replace your damaged or stolen camera with a brand-new equivalent. Cash value policies typically cost less but will reimburse you only for the lost equipment’s current value – not its original price.

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General liability insurance

Your business could be held liable if you damage someone’s property or if there is an injury at a photo shoot. General liability insurance protects you against property damage and third-party injuries. If you are thinking about renting studio or office space, most commercial landlords will require it as a condition of your lease.

Professional liability insurance

If you miss a photo shoot or lose a hard drive full of shots you owe a client, you can be sued for the damages. Professional liability insurance covers you under both scenarios and can be bundled with general liability insurance as a business owner’s policy. If you store sensitive or proprietary photos or videos on your computers, you might also consider cyber liability insurance to protect against a data breach.

Commercial auto insurance

Many photographers are frequently on the road, and your personal automobile insurance may not cover the damages if you have an accident while driving for work. Consider adding commercial auto insurance or hired and non-owned coverage to protect you when you’re traveling from job to job.

Tips for protecting your photography equipment

Since cameras are portable, expensive, and easy to sell online, they are a natural target for thieves.

Although camera insurance is key to protecting your business, taking a few simple precautions will reduce your chances of being a victim.

  • Install a security system at your home or studio.
  • Lock all doors and windows in your studio and car when you leave, and don’t tempt thieves by leaving pricey photography equipment in plain sight.
  • Keep track of keys, and limit the number of people who have access to your studio and equipment.
  • Install motion-sensitive lights around your studio – particularly in dark areas.

Be sure to take photographs of your professional camera equipment, record all serial numbers, and store the records in a safe place. You may not always be able to recover stolen items, but having identifying information about your gear will help in the search. This information will also be helpful if you file a claim with your commercial property insurance policy after theft or damage.

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