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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Insurance - you get what you pay for...I have been insured with Photoguard for quite a few years now. As an amateur they were good value for ...
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Old 14-07-2010, 10:03   #1 (permalink)
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Insurance - you get what you pay for

I have been insured with Photoguard for quite a few years now. As an amateur they were good value for money and while at the back of my mind I knew that any claim would probably take a while to process I wasn't dependent on the kit so it didn't really worry me.

Since starting to do professional work I have wondered from time to time whether or not I should 'change up' to one of the other more expensive companies that have been regularly recommended on this site. But the key phrase there is 'more expensive' and given that I'm not bringing in a huge amount of money I have been putting the subject off.

A few weeks ago I had the misfortune to drop my EOS 1Ds Mk II while out on a shoot. It bounced off a low wall and then onto the pavement. Unfortunately it was one of the plastic parts that took the main force rather than the metal body so the damage was beyond cosmetic. This was on a Saturday so, as you can probably imagine, I was on the phone on the Monday to the insurance company. The paperwork was completed, scanned, and emailed through to them that day. I was then informed that it could take up to 10 days to process the claim.

As it happens the claim was processed within the week (I got an acknowledgement on the Thursday) but I was then advised that it had been passed to an assessor and that I would be contacted within the next 15 days.

Again I was fortunate and I got a response in just over a week this time to say that the camera needed to be collected to be assessed. As I was going away on holiday for a week I rang the repair company who very efficiently collected the camera by courier that afternoon.

I rang the repair company today, it now being 7 working days that they have had the camera, to see how things were progressing. I was advised that a repair estimate had been submitted back to the insurance company yesterday and was awaiting approval to proceed. Once that was received it could take up to 2-3 weeks to effect the repair.

I rang the insurance company who confirmed that they had received the quote and would review it and get back to me within 10 days.

I'm not criticising Photoguard as I am in no doubt I am getting the level of service I am paying for. And were I still an amateur alone it would not be a problem for me. However as a newly established part-time professional I am lot more dependent on my kit than I used to be. I have now been without my main body for almost 4 weeks and even looking at things optimistically it will be at least another 2-4 weeks before I get it back again. I have a client shoot coming up this weekend which will have to be done with my trusty 40D backup which is less than ideal - but fortunately it is something where I can get away with that and not have to hire in a replacement.

If Photoguard had been busy, based on their stated turnaround times, I could easily have been without my camera for 2-3 months in total which would be a nightmare and would result in having to hire a replacement for some jobs.

So the moral of this story is, when deciding how much to pay for your insurance, think long and hard about the impact of being without a key piece of equipment and make sure you have factored that in when deciding how much you want to pay.

I have a good relationship with Photoguard but once this is all over and done with I can see my more critical pieces of kit (at least) being moved over to another company that offers a more rapid turnaround for claims. Yes it will cost me more but as I said at the outset, you get what you pay for.

On the topic of other insurance companies I would be interested to hear from people who have made claims (for repairs, not replacements) with other insurers and what your experience has been like both in terms of communications and time.

One of the photos sent through to the insurance company showing the damage to the body

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Old 14-07-2010, 10:30   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Insurance - you get what you pay for

That is an interesting story. Maybe the answer is to get selected bits of your kit insured with a company that will offer the turn around times you need and put the rest onto your home contents which might offer similar cover to what you currantly have, but could work out cheaper thus keeping the overall costs not too different to what you are paying now.

I remember ages ago Viking Photography lost most of his kit and got it replaced very quickly, but I can't remember what company he was with.
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Old 14-07-2010, 11:28   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Insurance - you get what you pay for

you get what you pay for and as you have said price should not always be the deciding factor when purhcasing a product or a service. Reminds me of the quote from John Ruskin " There is hardly anything in the world that some man can't make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."

Hope you get it back soon
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Old 14-07-2010, 14:51   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Insurance - you get what you pay for

We use Photo Shield for our pro cover and they have been very goodit costs us just over 400 a year and we have a LOT of items covered.

we had to claim last year for recovery of a hard drive when it got damaged. They appoved the work (1500) the same day and i had a cheque by the end of the same week!

Thats not a bad turnaround!!
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Old 17-07-2010, 12:21   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Insurance - you get what you pay for

Yes Viking had a quick one as well. Within the 2 weeks he had his new kit if I remember rightly. Anyway, here's the thread http://www.pixalo.com/community/gene...est-24151.html
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Old 03-08-2010, 17:15   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Insurance - you get what you pay for

I can attest to the speed with which Towergate Camerasure replaced my kit; the only matter that prevented me from getting a hold of it faster than I did was that the incident happened on a weekend...

I should say that they no longer offer you the option to pay your premium in monthly installments - but they're still an excellent insurer.
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