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Everything you need to know about insuring your camera

Insurance 101

Getting your camera and photography equipment insured can be confusing. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it and what to look out for.

If you own a high-end digital camera like an action or DSLR camera then you’ll know what it feels like to almost drop it or temporarily misplace it – especially if you haven’t insured it.

These little hand-held gadgets are expensive and worth covering with the right insurance, especially if you use them to earn an income. Here’s everything you need to know about how to do it and what to look out for.

You can insure your camera under home contents or as a standalone item

If you have home contents insurance, you can easily pop your camera and any other photographic equipment you might own under this policy. It will cost less than standalone item insurance and if you have to claim for more than one item, you will only have to pay one excess.

Keep in mind that every type of cover differs, so just make sure you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not.

At Naked, we automatically cover your camera for up to R5,000, both home and away. Cameras that are worth more than R5,000 need to be specified on the app to be covered for their full replacement value.

The image shows the naked insurance app interface across three smartphone screens. The first screen lists categories like electronics and jewellery for insurance coverage, with their values. The middle screen is set up to add a new item, with fields for the item's name and value. The third screen displays insured items, such as a camera and a guitar, with options to manage or add more items. This design highlights the app's user-friendly features for managing insurance coverage.

If you don’t have home contents cover, and don’t want it, then you can insure your camera and any other photography equipment as standalone items.

Standalone cover generally offers the same coverage as a home contents policy. Just think of it as buying one policy per item. So if you own two cameras, you’d need to insure them separately. This also means that you’d pay two separate excesses in the event that both were stolen at the same time. But if you have one bag filled with a camera and photography equipment that you use on a regular basis, you can insure it as one item, and then subsequently pay one excess if you ever have to claim.

Insure your camera for its replacement value

Always insure your camera and equipment for their replacement value – what it would cost to replace them new today. The reason for this is that if you claim, the insurer will replace your equipment with new, out-of-the-box equipment which might cost more today than it did when you originally bought your camera.

But sometimes there’s the issue of your specific camera or equipment no longer being manufactured. If this is the case, find the next model up and insure it for that value. If your camera or any equipment is ever stolen, lost or irreparable, your insurer will replace the affected item(s) with the next model up.

If you have a camera bag that you use to keep your camera and equipment in, you have the option of insuring the bag and its contents as one item. But remember to insure it for the replacement value of the bag plus everything inside.

Choose an excess you can afford to pay at a moment’s notice

When buying insurance you choose an excess. This is the amount of money that you will contribute to every claim. For example, you have a R1,000 excess and your R30,000 camera is stolen, your insurer will pay R29,000 and you’ll contribute R1,000.

The higher your excess the lower your insurance premium will be and vice versa.

The easiest way to calculate the best excess is to determine the maximum amount you can comfortably afford to pay out of your pocket if and when you need to claim. This means you’ll avoid getting into trouble when it comes to claiming while minimising the amount you have to pay for insurance.

What is usually covered

Theft and accidental loss

Expensive gadgets like cameras are at risk of being taken by sticky fingers. Your insurance will usually cover you for this loss and help you get back to snapping in no time.

The same goes for loss. Genuine mistakes happen and insurance companies understand that. If you accidentally misplace your camera, your insurer will generally cover that loss.

Accidental damage

If your camera strap decides to give in and sends your camera lens crashing to the ground, your insurance generally has you covered.

Cover for travel

What’s a holiday without some snaps? If you’re planning on travelling abroad or locally with your camera, your insurer should cover it for the same risks it faces when you’re not travelling. But to be 100% sure, ask your insurer what their policy is around travel.

At Naked, your camera will retain its coverage for six months when you take it overseas with you.

Cover for friends using your camera

For most policies, (including Naked) as long as you, the owner, are aware of your friend borrowing your camera, it will still be fully covered. But it is definitely worthwhile checking with your insurer. And it wouldn’t hurt to remind your friend that they must also take reasonable care in looking after your camera and equipment.

Things that are not generally covered

Cover for professional photographers

If you use your camera professionally, i.e., you get paid to take pictures, insuring it under your home contents might not cover it sufficiently. If it is stolen or damaged in a fire or storm, it’s generally covered up to a limit unless you have specified it. But if it is stolen or damaged while you are using it to make money, in or away from home, it generally will not be covered at all, so check with the insurer so you understand exactly what they cover.

With Naked’s home contents policy – specified or not specified – we won’t cover any equipment that is being used on a paid job.

We do, however, cover camera and photography equipment for professional use when you insure it as a ‘single item’. We’ll cover your camera and gear for theft, accidental damage or loss in and away from home and even if you go overseas (for up to six months).

If your camera is used to generate income and you need protection against the loss of that income should it be lost or stolen, your contents or single item policy would usually not cover that and you would need to look at a specific business insurance policy.

Wear and tear

As with most gadgets, they get old and used with time. If the deterioration of your camera causes something to break, your insurance generally doesn’t cover it.

Manufacturing fault or failure

Insurance generally covers unexpected damages that can happen to your camera, but it doesn’t cover damages that arise from defective parts or workmanship. Those types of damages are usually covered by warranties.

Any theft, loss or damage that occurs before the policy is bought

Claiming for an accident or loss that happened before you bought cover for your camera won’t be covered.

Cover for lost files

Generally lost data is not covered by your insurer.

This may differ from insurer to insurer so it’s best to check with them before assuming what’s covered and what’s not.

There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you could’ve protected your things by insuring them in a couple of minutes. Your future self will thank you when and if something bad happens to your camera.

If our Single Item cover looks appealing to you, get your camera and gear covered in a few clicks.

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