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Camera travel insurance
Find the best travel insurance for your camera and equipment while travelling overseas
Cameras are one of the world’s most popular travellers’ items. Thanks to smartphones and compact digital cameras, most people are now some kind of photographer, and overseas trips are one of the best times to take snaps.
Depending on your needs, the value of your equipment and how much you depend on photography, the right camera travel insurance is either a useful security blanket or an essential investment. Before deciding on a policy you will need to be aware of its limitations. The right policy will have high enough limits and payouts to cover the cost of your gear and a set of exclusions that won’t deny you cover.
This article will explore how cameras are covered by travel insurance and the maximum that will be paid by different providers.
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How does camera travel insurance work?
The most common form of travel camera insurance is a standard travel insurance policy. This usually includes a certain level of cover for damage, theft and other loss of belongings. One of the most important things to consider is limits. These are the maximum amounts that will be paid in the event of a claim. Expect both per item limits and total possessions cover limits.
- Cameras, laptops and video recording devices usually have special limits of $2,000 to $3,000, while other items, including camera accessories, typically have per item limits under $1,000. Many policies offer extended cover options to increase these limits.
- Accessories like tripods, detachable lenses, external flashes and similar are considered to be “other items” and usually have significantly lower limits.
- Depending on the policy, external hard drives, spare batteries, spare memory and similar may be considered “electronics” and will have the same limits as cameras and laptops, or may be considered “other items” and have reduced limits.
- Many policies will allow you to purchase extended cover options to increase the limits for particular devices, or overall. This can be invaluable for those who travel with a lot of photography or recording equipment.
- In some cases insurers may choose to repair or replace your lost belongings at current market value. Limits still apply in this case.
When is my camera not covered?
Expect exclusions. These are conditions where your insurance policy will not pay out. Some of the standard exclusions you might find are:
- No payout if your belongings were not properly secured. The definition of this will be included in the relevant product disclosure statement (PDS). Generally it refers to possessions needing to be in locked cars or rooms, out of plain sight, or properly under your care.
- If you are using your camera in a professional capacity when an incident occurs, you will generally need to be covered for professional use. Many standard travel insurance policies will not cover cameras while they are being used professionally.
- Certain policies may require cameras to travel in your checked baggage, not carry-on, if you want to be covered against accidental damage in transit.
- You are typically not covered if you were doing anything illegal at the time of an incident, were disobeying warnings or signs, or were undertaking a specific activity for which you were not covered.
- Be aware of the fine print. Some policies may only cover cameras in transit and not while in use, while others offer more comprehensive security.
Should I get specialised cover if I am a professional photographer?
If you are a professional photographer or videographer then you may need a more specialised camera travel insurance policy, and should consider a few extra things.
- You may need to seek out a specialised camera insurance policy with an option for travel, rather than a travel insurance policy with an option for cameras.
- If you are travelling for a photoshoot, or otherwise planning on working for money away from home, you should consider a policy which explicitly covers professional equipment use.
- Loss of income may be a valuable inclusion for your policy. Typically this means you are covered for a certain amount of lost income if your camera or other equipment is damaged while overseas, rendering you unable to work when you get back to New Zealand.
- Remember to think about vital accessories like tripods, camera cases and memory cards, as well as your cameras, when determining your required level of cover.
- Consider the value of your gear, both on an individual item basis and in total. Both of these values will need to be considered when determining whether or not the limits of a policy are adequate for your needs.
- Be theft-aware, and know your policy’s exclusions. For example, you may wish to travel with your camera on your person, but your policy might only cover it while it travels in checked baggage.
- Check how your insurance policy differentiates between valuables like cameras and laptops, electronics and other items. This may affect your level of cover.
- Keep cameras and other valuables in a locked hotel safe rather than out in the open. They are often only covered when placed in a safe.
Camera travel insurance for tourists
When deciding on a camera travel insurance policy to suit your needs as a tourist, consider the value of your equipment, the level of cover and whether you want insurance for other valuables, like laptops and jewellery. Some of the other important factors to consider are:
- The widely varying limits present in more basic and more comprehensive insurance policies. Personal possessions cover will typically charge a lot depending on which option you select.
- Whether a policy has adequate cover if you are travelling domestically. Maximum limits are typically considerably lower for domestic travel insurance compared to international travel insurance.
- The conditions and exclusions of your insurance policy. It often pays to be aware of these and to keep your valuables locked in hotel safes when your room is unattended, out of sight when locked in cars and otherwise within the bounds of what is covered by your policy.
- Travel insurance with camera cover, rather than camera insurance with travel cover, may be more likely to suit your needs. Consider purchasing extended or additional cover options if you find that the limits are too low.
Can you get specialised travel camera insurance?
Yes. There are a number of brands which offer specialised camera insurance with additional options for travelling. These are predominantly aimed at professional photographers and videographers rather than enthusiasts, and may include:
- Options for income protection
- Professional liability
- Higher limits
- More tailored repair and replacement options
- Dedicated cover for accessories and related equipment
Travel and professional usage cover is more likely to be included as a standard, rather than an extra. Specialised camera insurance policies with built-in travel options will typically be more expensive than standard travel insurance, but may be much more suited to your needs as a professional photographer or videographer, or someone with a variety of high-value camera equipment and accessories.
Can I protect my camera with home and contents insurance?
Alternatively, you may wish to consider the merits of a bundled portable contents option with an existing home insurance policy. If you only want to cover a specific item like your camera and already have a home and contents policy, then specifying your camera for additional portable cover may be a cost-effective option. However, be aware that this will also include its own exclusions and conditions, might not be suitable for extensive travel and may not offer enough cover for professional equipment and camera accessories.
* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com/nz has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms ‘Best’ and ‘Top’ are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
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