Keeping your kit covered
Many freelance creatives have a lot of expensive kit they need insured. This could be laptops, recording equipment and cameras; it could be artists’ materials, props and costumes; or it could be musical instruments or a DJ’s record collection. You may even have a specialist piece or kit for your particular job or act – a unicycle or a puppet theatre, for example.
If losing or damaging these would cripple your finances you must make sure they are adequately insured and will be replaced immediately. You may even need to make sure you can hire an alternative in the short term while you source a replacement.
Find a broker
If you have these sorts of needs you almost certainly need to find an insurance broker to whom you can explain your specific circumstances. Comparison websites and even specialist online business broking services can only currently cope with packaged products with limited add-ons.
Certain brokers will have specialist schemes for different sorts of professionals. David Rogerson of broker Towergate runs a scheme called Camerasure for professional photographers and videographers. The policy is underwritten by Aviva, one of the largest insurers in the country.
This sort of policy not only covers replacing your kit whether it was lost or stolen or accidentally damaged but provides rented kit in the short term and will compensate for any work lost while you are unable to work. It has a range of business covers included that would be useful for a full-time professional.
Bells and whistles
You’d expect Rogerson to be pushing his “bells and whistles” policy hard but he understands that not every photographer has the same investment in kit or the same income from their work. “Camerasure is for the full pro,” he says. "If you are an amateur who earns a bit and you only have about £5,000 of kit, it might be possible to add that camera kit to your home contents policy. You might also be able to do that even if you are semi-professional.”
Rogerson points out that this sort of compromise might be available to other pieces of kit, including musical instruments. But if you are a full professional using your kit for work every day then a specific business-use policy is likely to be vital.
The cheap solutions are always inferior and you need to understand that when balancing price versus cover. Cheap solutions will have more exclusions and more restrictive warranties – there’s a word to watch for in insurance policies.
We think of a warranty as something that guarantees to repair our newly purchased products should anything go wrong – and it is. But in insurance jargon it has a second, more negative, meaning. A warranty is a restriction the insurer puts in place and you, the insured, must adhere to it for the policy to pay out. This might be that you must lock kit in the boot of a car and not have it on the back seat, for example.
Whichever policy you get always make sure you are clear on any restrictions in place and understand what is and is not covered. A broker might be able to get a particular warranty lifted for you if it is important to you, but this will almost certainly be at a cost.
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