stm510826bceb77c20130129[1]Lately there has been a lot of advertising for gadget and camera insurance. Is it necessary? Do you really have the need to insure your camera or videoequipment?

In my personal opinion I would have to say a lot would depend upon how much you value your equipment. What is the actual value of your camera and equipment and how do you use your equipment? Personal finances may also come into play, in making the decision to purchase insurance.

If your equipment that which can be replaced for a few hundred dollars, you may consider foregoing insurance. Of course something you must judge is the value of your equipment versus the cost of replacing your equipment. Remember the market value on your equipment drops exponentially from the day you purchase it. Replacing it however may be more difficult than you think. Let me give you an example.

About twenty years ago I was a professional wedding photographer. I had been using the same cameras for close to twenty years. They were a matched set of 2 1/4 inch medium format cameras. Very high quality. The camera bodies alone sold used for over $2000. A brand new one was impossible to get, as that model was no longer made. The lenses, which of course were interchangeable, cost, again used, over $1000 each. Not to mention ancillary equipment such as filters, macro lenses and bellows, and electronic flash units. When I shot a wedding, I generally carried somewhere between $8-$10,000 dollars worth of equipment with me.

One night while I was away from home I was burglarized. They pretty well wiped me out. They stole almost everything of value. What didn’t get stolen was then destroyed in the ensuing fire. The police said they set fire to cover their tracks. Being so violated was bad enough. Worse yet they stole my identity. Which subsequently not only emptied my bank account, but also ruined my credit. I was put out of business in one evening. I was unable to replace my equipment with no money or credit. I couldn’t shoot a wedding any longer, and of course I had to cancel several weddings I had had scheduled for some time. Without credit, you can’t even rent equipment.

If I had at least had insurance on my equipment, I could have replaced my lost equipment. Maybe not the full value, and maybe not even the same kind of cameras, but I could still have shot the weddings I had to cancel. At least I would still have been in business and able to make money. The insurance policies available at the time probably would not have covered my situation. However, today there is insurance. It did help a Videographer friend of mine, who had someone drive over his camera bag containing one of his video cameras at a wedding he was shooting once. I wish I had learned a lesson from him a few years earlier.

So you see, it isn’t a necessity to have gadget and camera insurance. But if you want to cut you losses on stolen or damaged equipment. Especially if you do it professionally, it is probably advisable to purchase insurance. If you are only a hobby photographer, and don’t have an arm and a leg invested in equipment, that you use regularly, or if you can afford to replace your camera for not so much money, You may feel it isn’t necessary. You have to make the decision.

I’m retired now, and I haven’t shot a wedding since the day my cameras were stolen. I’ve long since bought new cameras, but they are nowhere near the quality of camera my pro models were, and now I shoot digital. There is always the chance someone will again break in and steal my camera. And no, I don’t have insurance. But I can replace my camera with the newest model of the one I now own for $199 dollars. a far cry form close to ten grands worth. And, I’m no longer in business. If I were I would definitely obtain insurance. I didn’t see it then, but now I see the value.