The nightmare of an equipment claim scenario
Material Damage ( Camera Equipment )
Beware of an Insurance Provider that says there is no excess. No sensible insurance company is going to provide a service like this. What they are likely to do is "knock out" claims under a certain value so you cannot claim for them. One seen recently would not cover any items under £250! This in effect meant that if you had a loss or claim on one of those items there was no insurance in place or at the very least have such an item knocked off a claim where it is included with other more expensive items! Sometimes you need to look and see if the deal is really " to be good to be true". Try and be careful - if it is significantly cheaper than anyone else then you should ask yourself what isn't covered? If in doubt, ask for a copy of the Summary of Cover or even policy wording so you can check! It might take a little bit of time at the beginning of a policy but better to know from the start than to find out you had no insurance in place when you need to make a claim. Does the policy offer "new for old"? Does the policy provide for the hire of equipment if the worst happens?
When you purchase your shiny new equipment where did you buy it from? Get a receipt and scan the receipt onto your computer. That way, you will always have it as this is likely to be needed in the event of a claim. After all, you may need to prove you owned the equipment you are claiming for!
Keep a note of the make, model and serial number and price you paid. It is always worth dropping an email to your insurance provider and letting them have it too - especially if it is over a significant value like £1,000. Watch out! Some insurance policies insist on having these details if the item is over a certain value so you should make sure you do not fall foul of this rule or you could find you lose out if you need to make a claim.
Always insure your equipment for the replacement cost which may be more than the price that you paid for it! All Insurers will only pay up to the amount for which you have insured an item so if you know you purchased your new camera body with a "75% discount", DO NOT insure it for the price you paid for it but for the true replacement cost - you are unlikely to get the same "deal" from the retailer at the time that it needs to be replaced so be careful not to under insure yourself!
Always use the equipment according to the manufacturers guidelines - going outside of these is likely to get any claim declined.
Buying 2nd hand equipment
Have a look at the policy - is it "new for old"? If so, the fact you purchased it 2nd hand shouldn't matter PROVIDED you are insuring it for the price of replacement as new. You will need to check this with your individual Insurance Provider as some will not allow you to insure 2nd hand items as new - and some will even deduct an amount for the age of the item in the event of a claim.
If you buy a camera for £500 online for example, and your Insurance Provider allows you to insure the item as a "new replacement", DO NOT insure it for the price you paid but for the replacement cost - even if that is £2,000. Remember, you WILL have a receipt from the website that you will need to keep as proof you own it. In this scenario never insure the equipment for what you have paid for it - you would never get a new piece of equipment for the price you paid for a 2nd hand item! Similarly you would need to be very lucky to get another 2nd hand piece of equipment for around the same price at the time of your loss.
The worst has happened - I need to make a claim what do I do?
First things first, call your Insurer straight away and request a claim form. Most Insurance providers will email that across to you. Complete it as soon as you receive it. If the equipment has been damaged then you will need to provide an estimate for repair. If the repairer has confirmed that it is "beyond economical repair" then you will need to provide a replacement cost. Always use a repairer who is accredited for the repair work for your camera supplier. Try and avoid repairers who want to send the camera away - this just means you lose time on sorting out the claim but always use a repairer who is authorised and recommended by the manufacturer (Fixation in London offer a good service for both Canon and Nikon for example).
Using an online shop (like WEX) is usually acceptable to get a replacement quote. Some Insurance Providers offer a service of obtaining the replacement quotes for you to save you hassle and time but if your Insurance Provider does not then try and get 2 replacement quotes as it is likely they will want 2 quotes so that they can compare prices!
If you have had a theft, break in etc. then provide proof of the police report and any damage reports you have or any repairs undertaken should be forwarded to your Insurance Provider and if you have had items stolen whilst travelling by aeroplane the Insurer is likely also to request a copy of the report you made to the airline at the airport where you discovered the loss (the "Irregularity Report").
Remember - don't delay - even though you may have provision on your policy for hired in equipment to keep working - NO insurance provider will allow you this if you took 3 weeks to notify them of the claim and that you need to hire for a job immediately at the time you report the claim to them!
Try and send back ALL the required information in one go. If you provide the claim form, the repair / replacement estimate and the original purchase receipt, you will make it easier for the Insurance Provider to arrange the repair or replacement quickly. This will help get you shooting again quickly and make the process less painful. If you provide information piecemeal you can expect the claim to take longer to settle.
Some Insurers may want to appoint a loss adjuster and this will mean the claim will take more time. For example, if you have had a big loss through a break in the Insurance Company may want to send out the Loss Adjuster to look at the damage caused, inspect the premises to see if there are any improvements that could be made to try and stop a similar claim happening again. If you are ever unsure about something a Loss Adjuster is looking for then speak to your Insurance Provider - they can usually give you advice.
My claim is at the weekend and I need to keep working - what do I do?
If an incident happen happens when your Insurance Provider is closed you have an obligation to all that you can to minimise costs - it is part of common law that you keep costs to an absolute minimum.
If you need to keep working you should consider hiring equipment if it is
possible to do that at such short notice! If not an emergency call to a
colleague who may be able to loan you equipment may be needed! (Hireacamera.com
are usually good if you need something last minute and are always worth trying).
As soon as your Insurance Provider opens you should contact them and report the incident and advise them immediately if you have had to borrow or hire equipment. Some (but not all) insurance policies provide cover for the cost of hiring equipment and those that do will usually require you to obtain the Insurer's prior agreement to the cost before incurring the cost of hire. In circumstances where your Insurance Provider was closed when the incident happened, they should take a sensible approach and provided you have not hired recklessly and incurred un-necessary costs, they should consider allowing the hire cost within your claim.
Please be careful - all policies will have a limit on the amount of cover provided for hire charges - it is not finite so do not hire thinking that the full costs will be covered - even where costs are agreed there will usually be a maximum amount that the Insurer will pay. Please also be aware - if your claim is declined then the payment for hired in equipment will be declined as well so try and keep the costs down!
Do not keep the equipment longer than absolutely necessary - Insurers will only cover what you need not what you like. You should also be able to prove that you DID have work on the weekend - hiring a camera because you "might" get a job will not be covered under the policy.
When it comes to claiming for the costs of hiring equipment:
- Make sure you have the Insurers prior permission to incur hire charges before you hire if possible
- Be prepared for the Insurer to decline to pay for hire charges where you have un-necessarily delayed reporting the claim - if it took you 2 weeks to make the claim then don't expect them to authorise it as you didn't give them the opportunity to try and finalise it before you needed your equipment
- If your loss or damage happens at the weekend and you need the camera for the same weekend, then you should email your insurance company to give them a "heads up" and make sure you can prove that you are working and then call them as soon as they open.
Call us on 020 3633 2280 for more advice or if you have a specific question.