Phoenix Photography, or any other studio for that matter, would have a really hard time staying in business if we didn’t have our business insurance/coverage needs all sorted out.
Repairs and replacement costs can rack up really fast. Every photographer should know what to do in case anything gets damaged or stolen.
What’s the Difference Between Warranties, Protection Plans, and Insurance?
Because photo equipment is expensive, it’s best to extend your coverage as long as possible wherever you shop from.
A warranty is a promise from the manufacturer that the item isn’t defective and won’t completely die on you after you start using it. A typical warranty for new equipment is one year, then some manufacturers will let you extend it for up to 3 years it at the time of purchase. Used equipment usually has a warranty of 3-6 months and likely no option to extend it. Equipment under warranty will be replaced if it stops working during the covered time-frame. However, warranties don’t cover general wear and tear, theft, loss, or damage.
Protection plans, also known as damage plans, on the other hand do cover if you break your equipment. If I buy a $2,000 body and $500 lens and they break because you drop it, you get a replacement under Best Buy’s damage plan – for example. I go for their 3-year plans because accidents happen, and the cost of extending a protection plan usually works out better than paying for repairs or worse, having to buy new equipment. If my camera gets stolen, a protection plan doesn’t cover that. Thats where insurance comes into play.
Insurance is a little more complicated. Unlike protection plans and warranties, you have to file a claim and then your insurance company has to do some leg work before they pay you for your total loss of items due to theft etc. You pay a premium based on how much coverage you need, what it covers (just theft, or damage and theft), and how long you will be covered for. In the event of loss, theft, or damage, you have to file a claim and have it investigated. Accidentally damaged equipment might require mailing it to an adjuster while you usually need to submit a police report for stolen or vandalized equipment.
If your claim gets approved, you’ll get a check to buy new gear based on how much your coverage was and the deductible.
Business Insurance for Photography Equipment and Studios
It’s a good idea for photographers to have overall business insurance coverage. Protecting or insuring every piece of equipment individually can get daunting and expensive depending on how much you own. Business insurance will cover all of your equipment without having to take out a singular policy on everything.
An “all risk” rider is a good blanket to have tacked onto your homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance if you store your gear where you live. If you use self-storage space, check that your business policy covers gear stored there or see if the storage facility offers insurance.
Business insurers offer property insurance that will cover all of your gear and supplies, and you can also pay extra to get inland marine coverage for shooting on location if you do this a lot.
Getting liability coverage in your policy also can’t hurt. A client might sue you for everything from your shots not helping them get sales or gigs, to even just plain not liking how they came out in the photos you took. Then there’s also always the chance they could get hurt in your space and thus wind up taking you to court. Always have clients sign a waiver if you shoot in your business or home.
Having insurance will give you peace of mind that you won’t be in the hole if your equipment or a client takes a fall. I personally have all types of insurance and warranties available on everything, you can never be too safe.