It’s not the most exciting purchase you’ll make,
;; ;;; ;;;;;;
but buying the right insurance can save you a
fortune if disaster strikes.
It was five years ago when Gosling was
in the food court of the Heathrow airport
departures area, ready to fly home from
his sister’s wedding. He wasn’t the official
photographer for the event, but he’d still
brought his gear and taken some family
shots. Gosling recalls setting down his
black camera bag just long enough to
get a snack and pay the cashier. When he
reached back down, the bag was gone.
Gosling screamed at the hapless cashier
to call security immediately, then took
off and raced through the closest shops,
looking at every black bag—and there
were a lot of them in Heathrow that day.
Finally, defeated, Gosling returned to the
food counter to find his wife and a security
guard waiting. And they had his missing
case. A clueless fellow passenger had
walked off with the wrong one by mistake,
then returned it.
For Gosling, the incident “was like the
light of day dawning on me.” It had never
occurred to him to think about insurance
before. But within four days of stepping
back on U.S. soil, he had bought it and his
gear was covered.
YOUR BEST BET: PROPERTY AND
Gosling purchased what are the two
most common types of insurance for
photographers—property and liability
coverage. C. Peter Hoffberger, vice
president of The Hoffberger Insurance
Group, a Baltimore insurance agency that
caters to professional photographers,
says equipment insurance is probably
what most frequently gets photographers
thinking of insurance. Their gear is
precious—without it they’re unemployed—
and the replacement cost for equipment
carefully chosen and accumulated over the
years can be frightening if it’s stolen.
Or if it’s destroyed in another way.
Hoffberger remembers one wedding
shooter who “took the proverbial long
walk off a short pier” in the middle of a
wedding shoot. Backing up for a wider
field of view, he says the photographer
took one step too many and plunged into
the water, gear and all. The wedding was
salvaged with some extra equipment,
and spare dry clothes. But the insurance
company paid for the ruined camera gear
“no questions asked,” he remembers.
Hoffberger says unattended gear is
sometimes even stolen in the middle of
In photographers’ insurance policies
the gear coverage is usually paired with
liability insurance, which covers any
damage photographers may do. It’s a
good idea in any case, but as Gosling
reports, it’s often a requirement now,
because wedding halls and other venues
are more and more frequently requiring
certificates of liability insurance from
photographers and any other vendors
before they are allowed on the premises.
Rental houses may require it as well before
parting with gear.
Insurance companies are used to
Gosling still remembers the
10 most terrifying minutes
of his life as if it happened