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Making Sense of Photography Equipment Rental Insurance

In this post, we discuss the answer to a question photographers ask us regularly: "How do I properly insure photography equipment that I rent?"

Photography is an equipment-intensive profession with the tools a photographer depends on easily adding up to tens of thousands of dollars in value. From camera bodies to lenses to lighting, most photographers acquire the equipment they need over the course of their careers given the associated costs. But what happens when a photographer doesn’t have the tools necessary to complete a shoot or fulfill a contract? That’s where photography equipment rental comes in.

There can be several scenarios when it makes more sense to rent rather than purchase expensive photography equipment. However, renting anything expensive and valuable comes with risks. Just like when renting a car, a layer of insurance is going to be required to protect the piece of photography equipment being rented. For example, if you’re renting a $2,500 lens or $5,000 body, you’re going to have two primary options for insuring the property. Each of the insurance options below has it’s own pros and cons beyond just the cost and it’s important for photographers to consider how they operate their specific business before deciding which one to select. Also, keep in mind that as your company grows, you might want to change strategies. But before we get into the pros and cons of each option, let’s take a look at what they are.


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Insurance Options for Rented Photography Equipment

  1. You can purchase insurance through the rental company.
  2. You can show proof of what is called property of others coverage which is a rider, or endorsement, that sits within an existing business insurance policy.

So, how do you determine which insurance solution to pick? Well, it depends on a few items. If you’re a photographer who rents equipment like this infrequently, say fewer than 3 to 5 times per year, it probably makes the most sense to purchase whatever coverage is offered through the rental agency. While the insurance option they offer probably won’t be as broad as an endorsement of your current property policy and may have a higher out-of-pocket cost, it’s the easiest and fastest way to protect the rental.

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Alternatively, if you’re a photographer who rents equipment more frequently, say greater than 5 times per year, you should strongly consider including a property of others rider to your current commercial insurance policy. The annual costs of the endorsement are nominal, usually in the neighborhood of $8 per month for $10,000 of coverage on the rented property. It would also be subject to your property deductible which might be lower than the deductible on the insurance offered through the rental company. One potential downside to this option is that the process of filing a claim might take slightly longer because you’re responsible for working with your insurance company versus the rental company handling the claim with theirs.

Finally, if you’re a photographer who finds themselves renting very frequently, say more than 5 times per year, it goes without saying that you should consider running a cost-benefit analysis on purchasing the equipment you rent most often and insuring it directly as business property. The costs of purchasing the equipment insuring it directly could very well be less expensive than repeatedly renting it.

We ♥ Photographers

Here at Layr, we specialize in helping business owners properly protect their companies with cash flow friendly insurance that can be paid for monthly on a credit card. We work with many professional and freelance photographers and we’ve learned alot about the photography industry as a result. If you’re a photographer interested in learning more about photographer insurance, be sure to read our guide on business insurance for photographers or create a free account and get an instant quote.